❖ dave bodle
Keeping Up-to-Date in a Tech-Savvy World WiTh more Than 25 years in the
Relationships are born and nurtured.
a tremendous tool for regularly com-
travel industry I’m one of those grumpy
Likewise, group leaders regularly trust
municating with your customers and
old men who grumbles about “how the
their members to tour operators they
prospects. Suppliers, tour operators
industry has changed.” Although many
know and trust. For years successful
and group leaders all need to stay in
families still sit around the kitchen table
tour operators have hosted face-to-face
touch with their clients.
to make vacation decisions, now they’re
group leader functions and presenta-
doing so with a laptop and viewing
tions. It’s how we connected.
online brochures, discount travel web-
I admit to being a fan of marketing through e-newsletters. I believe a
However, today’s suppliers, tour
piece that’s attractively designed and
sites and purchasing e-tickets. Gone
operators and group leaders that are
filled with relevant information can be
are the days of paper airplane tickets
not in tune with the new marketing
a powerful tool. Remember, the key
and requesting vacation brochures from
enhancements will struggle in the
word here is “news.” Blatant self-pro-
destinations. How do these changes
future… and that future is now. The
motion is a no-no. Informative stories
impact the group segment and its
Boomer Generation is here. Case in
that share the character of your busi-
point is this writer. As an early baby
ness will be read. Of course, everyone
boomer, I am only partially tech-savvy.
likes a little tour & travel humor. Keep
tour & travel industry is still high touch,
Comfortable with the Internet and
the piece as personal as possible.
not yet high tech. Tour operators do
even Facebook, I’m still not into
business with suppliers they know.
YouTube, Twitter and mobile marketing.
National, regional and state market-
How are you going to deal with a
Years ago a dear friend told me the
places are critical to the industry.
• • • • • • • • • • •
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42 February 2012
Fall in love with video. It probably comes as no surprise to my
more technologically informed cus-
readers that I’m an “old guy, print guy.”
tomer? Here are three effective travel
Although it’s great to read about a
marketing steps that suppliers, tour
destination, I’ll admit video has the
operators and even group leaders
unique ability to demonstrate.
need to consider:
Looking Ahead to Our
Tour operators need to partner
Take an honeST look at your
with their suppliers and ask for help in
website. Get ahead of the curve.
promoting new tours. At the very least
Your website is the foundation of your
their destination video should be on
business’s future. Be ready to serve
your website, easily accessible from
those tech-savvy travelers.
the tour description.
Give your online visitor every
Travelers enjoy sharing their
opportunity to interact with you. Entice
experiences. Try sponsoring a video
them to sign up for your e-newsletter
contest with the winner’s work
(see point 2) or view a destination/tour
appearing on your website.
video (see point 3). Most important, have a staff member
Like it or not, the group tour industry is shifting, and how we market is
responsible for regularly updating
taking on a new face. I find many of
your site. Search engines like fresh
the new techniques can be rolled
content. A little effort can really pay off
easily into your sales and marketing
in search engine rankings.
plan, both conceptually and financially.
e-newsletters are the way to go. A quarterly newsletter can be
Contact Dave at 843-712-1140 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.