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MENTION THAT YOU SAW US IN IC AGENT MAGAZINE AND RECEIVE YOUR FIRST MONTH FREE! 10131503-Nexion_Ad.indd 1
10/29/13 2:18 PM
THE HOW-TO MAGAZINE FOR TRAVEL TRADE PROFESSIONALS 4
TRAVEL AGENT Ng 2.0
PROSPECTING IS ALWAYS YOUR JOB
FOLLOW UP – WHEN AND HOW
A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND BUCKS
THE GATHERING – GOING LIVE!
FINANCIAL PLANNING & BUSINESS PLANNING FROM TTI
BOOST YOUR FACEBOOK POSTS FOR A BETTER RETURN
THE QR CODE IS NOT DEAD
WHERE YOUR BRAND
THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT! by Steve Gillick
COLOUR ME THERE
INFOGRAPHIC: REACHING MILLENNIALS BY EMAIL
READ MORE ME HERE!
The DESIRE to travel starts early and continues throughout one’s life – are you marketing to Generation Z?
Share your money making ideas in SELLING TRAVEL. CONTACT Steve Crowhurst email@example.com 250-738-0064 www.sellingtravel.net Publisher: SMP Training Co. www.sellingtravel.net Contributors Steve Crowhurst
Attention Suppliers: Advertising in SELLING TRAVEL reaches the serious business-minded travel agent. Promote your products and services using Selling Travel’s unique promotional formula – you write the articles on how to sell your own products offering step-by-step selling tips, tools and techniques that you know have worked for your agency accounts. Full page rates range from $300 to $425 based on number of insertions. Remember, if you can’t sell it to them, they can’t sell it for you! Please note that Selling Travel, owned and published by SMP Training Co, is not connected in any way to Selling Travel magazine published by BMI Publishing Ltd., and based in the UK. The latter publication focuses entirely on destination and travel/tourism product training and is circulated solely to the UK and Ireland travel industries. To benefit from this resource visit www.sellingtravel.co.uk and be sure to subscribe.
SELLING TRAVEL is owned and published by Steve Crowhurst, SMP Training Co. All Rights Reserved. Protected by International Copyright Law. SELLING TRAVEL can be shared, forwarded, cut and pasted but not sold, resold or in any way monetized. Using any images or content from SELLING TRAVEL must be sourced as follows: “Copyright SMP Training Co. www.sellingtravel.net” SMP Training Co. 568 Country Club Drive, Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada, V9K-1G1 Note: Steve Crowhurst is not responsible for outcomes based on how you interpret or use the ideas in SELLING TRAVEL. T: 250-738-0064.
SALES & MARKETING TIPS, TOOLS & TECHNIQUES FOR ALL TRAVEL TRADE PROFESSIONALS
The WILL to
Steve Crowhurst, Publisher
NEED TO SELL MORE TRAVEL? Of course you do. But then it’s a tough world out there, isn’t it? Not as easy as some industry gurus say it is. The most sought after skill set is creativity and how to tap into it. How to get new ideas that will point a prospect in your direction for more than three seconds. So in this issue of ST I’ve come up with a few weird ideas for you to ponder along with some universal advice and as always tips on how to do it. Then we have The Travel Institute offering its Financial Planning and Business Planning guides at a special rate – and every business pro’ knows – ya gotta have a plan. Some of the ideas cost money, others will take up your time, another will require you learn how to do something different and yet another is a slam dunk. It all depends on how committed you are to your selling career as to how you interpret the ideas and whether or not those pockets will be jingling with some commissions. Don’t forget you have a series of e-Guides you can purchase from The Travel Institute that will help you move ahead in most things related to selling travel. Here’s to your continued success in SELLING TRAVEL. Best regards. Steve Crowhurst, CTC, CTM Hon. firstname.lastname@example.org www.sellingtravel.net Top up your idea bank with this book!
CLICK TO PREVIEW
It’s been some time since I wrote the profile of TA Next Generation or Ng. Thought it about time it was updated and especially for those just entering the travel industry now, to sell travel. The TA NG 2.0 will be making use of all the apps, gizmos and technology our TA to the left is sporting and then some. That virtual helmet allows our TA NG 2.0 to go anywhere in the world at the blink of an eye (literally) and with a flex of her wrist to engage the implanted chip she can fire up her Dragon voice recognition to text email and also scroll through her digital files. Using Siri or Cortana she can request what she is looking at on her AI 3D screen to be sent to her client’s mobile devices and at the same time update her OneNote files too. She is not where you think she is. She is actually not “home” or behind a desk somewhere in what used to be “Mary’s Cruises & Tours Travel Agency Specializing In Every Country In The World, Custom Groups & Corporate Travel.” No, this is Stella Galaxious and she resides where she wishes. Right now that would be a secluded beach somewhere – no street worn agency 9 to 5 restrictions for her. Her clients know where she is through her GPS signal that tags along with her gorgeous scenery images she sends along with a selfie or two to prove where she is. Through her speech recognition app, a tap and swipe she has just sent a note to her segmented beach loving clients to join her here. She is onsite and has arranged directly with the resort manager, based on the confirmations received, for 15 rooms, ocean view. As they arrive she likes to video their arrival using her head cam and instantly forwards the clips to her clients Dropbox account for them to view later. These arrival video clips usually go viral to friends who in turn become clients. Stella is universal in her approach to using the tools at her disposal. She rarely keyboards. Her voice is all she needs. She is more than aware that her planet is her product and shuns countries led by tyrants, countries with terrible human rights offenses and countries that lack pollution controls. She invests her own money into her education which equates to one life-long FAM trip. Her travel partners and tour operators are more than willing to assist her, as she consistently promotes and books their products. She is studying on becoming TA NG 3.0 soon.
No matter what title you hold, if you work in a travel agency then your job includes prospecting and looking for new business opportunities. If you are in travel sales then you follow up on the opportunity you’ve discovered – if not, then you turn over your lead to your sales manager / team lead. From the junior travel agent to the home-based travel agent to the CEO and to the agency manager and accountant – everyone has a duty to prospect for new business and referrals.
I know, prospecting is not the best activity in the world. Much better to file brochures, answer emails, post on Facebook and go for lunch. Besides the agency manager placed an ad that is supposed to attract all the business we need to pay the rent and salaries for seven people. Ya think? Remember naivety killed the cat. It will kill your career too. If you sell, you prospect. That’s the way it works. So let’s start looking for those new customers and referrals. Referrals Are There Waiting For You This is true. If you have even one client who has booked their travel with you that one person could in fact send you at a minimum, of one referral. Serve that referral well and that’s one more booking and a new client who can also refer one friend. Ramp up the numbers and see what the opportunities really are. You have 100 active clients. They can refer one couple. That’s two hundred prospects you didn’t have yesterday. Close ten percent and you have 20 new clients.
And the thing is, they too can refer their friends and family to you. Asking for referrals is prospecting and instead of making a cold call / approach this is warm calling, because you know the client who is making the referral. Cold Calling / Prospecting If you do not, cannot make phone calls then your prospecting is limited to emails, posting on social media and placing attractive ads in your local newspapers and poster-sized callto-action images in your agency window. Wear a t-shirt with a CALL ME slogan and QR Code is also a prospecting method. Anytime you are “asking” and “attracting” you are prospecting. Better if you have completed your due diligence and know where and how you will prospect. A simple question: “Do you know anyone who is planning on travelling this year?” asked at a party or get-together will uncover the information you need. You might even get walked across the room and introduced to the traveller-to-be right there and then. Nice eh?
This slogan is well known amongst high energy travel sales people. They know they are only as good as their last booking and make a point of staying sharp mentally, knowledge-wise and of course in how they dress, speak and interact with prospects. Many travel agents wonder why their current clients never refer any of their friends to them and the answer is usually right there in the mirror. It’s YOU! Something about you just doesn’t allow your clients to recommend you. What is it? If you are good enough for them, why not their friends? If this is happening to you, take stock and check that person out you see every morning in the mirror. Do you need to upgrade anywhere, somewhere? Are you socially acceptable to your clients friends? That’s alright. No problem. If you hail from by the tracks as I do, then you have a choice - forget trying to fit into your client’s social level or upgrade. This does not mean you fake it – it means to round off your words and remove the slang that you might say without even noticing it. Your jokes, your cologne, your dragon nails, your body hugging lime green pant suit might be just a tad away from your client’s social level. What would it take to smarten up and make more money than you can dream of? Pride? Can’t take that to the bank. Breath of a Salesman I’m playing on the cult movie title Death of a Salesman as you’ll know. But this stale breath situation is a major problem for sales people and chances are you’ve experienced it yourself when a salesperson has approached you. The challenge is that many
sales people are so focused on the job they drink too much coffee, and put off eating lunch. Result: sour breathe that can knock over a bull! If this is YOU it’s time to make some changes and especially in the oral hygiene area. Leave that with you to sort out. Being Referable… Assuming you have all pistons firing as they should, then you’re prospecting for referrals, which is the quickest and least costly way to build business, will pay off. Make sure you prospect softly and also loudly and even at the same time. The soft approach is when you add a one liner to your email signature such as “We grow through your referrals.” Or, “We appreciate your referrals with thanks.” Something along those lines that you are comfortable posting there. Another soft outlet would be your website and your agency window. You can use the same slogan. The louder more assertive approach is when you actually toughen up and ask your clients face-to-face: “… and if you really enjoyed having me as your travel agent I’d greatly appreciate any referrals you can send my way.” Or, “… right, that’s that and next week you’ll be on your way… if you have any friends planning their trip soon, please recommend me to them…” You can work out the words for yourself but something along these lines is enough to get the nod and a couple of emails from your clients with friends they’d like to refer. Maintain everything you do at 100%. Speak, act and dress like you are in business and you will certainly be referable.
Hi George how’s it going?
Hi Kevin… well I just don’t know. No sales again this week… not sure what’s going on – and I spent over $200 on local ads to promote my group cruise and even placed a mug shot of myself too.
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YOU’VE HEARD THIS BEFORE… AFTER YOU CLOSE THE SALE, FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP AND FOLLOW UP… AND THEN
FOLLOW UP! You’ve got it. But did you know there’s many more opportunities to follow up even when you haven’t closed a sale? Try these:
After they return
Before they leave
After final payment
After someone you know chats with you on the street. After a friend mentions a friend is getting married. After a party and meeting several like-minded couples / individuals. After someone comments on your Facebook page. During a client’s vacation. Three weeks after a client returns from their current vacation. After a customer trade show where attendees have completed a ballot.
If you study the process from the initial contact through to your client’s booking and deposit, the time between the booking and final payment dates, the date for final document pick-up, the time between then and their departure, during the clients vacation, when they return and each month after that… you will soon realize that for each moment “in between” there is an opportunity to follow up. The art of following up means you have something to say, offer, give away, present, suggest and overall make the call worth your clients while. Follow up is your job and even more so if your clients have not yet purchased travel insurance for their trip. Should they have an accident during their vacation and do not have coverage, you know who they will sue. Yes, YOU! Follow up to sell travel insurance every time you can.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve said that, written it, presented it and pointed at it. The travel agents who have heard the message have since gone where few TAs have gone and amassed a grand folder full of their own images shot on location – and that’s so easy to do being in and of the industry. Your main investment – a decent camera and of course your smartphone and its camera functions. But what about images you haven’t shot? The image to the left is made up of three images, one of them I shot. Can you guess which one? Well it was the background. That one is real and it is actually a photograph of the moon that I have Tangled FX’d – layering the alien tour buses and pax over the top to create the image you now see. Is Group Travel Alien To YOU? That’s one slogan I came up with that sort of grew off that image ad ties into the graphic. You might tap into the slogan “…for an out of this world travel experience… visit (country) this year!” Of course you hope the customer can make the mental leap by looking at the image, reading the slogan and the country you are promoting and tie it all together and translate it into “BOOK NOW!” Assuming your customers can make the leap and understand your hidden meanings then this image could do some serious business for you. Yes you could also use this image to sell UFO Group Tours to where our pals from around the universe tease us with their
visits. Not to mention the abductions or FAM trips as the wee green guys term them. The Graphic Must Grab Whatever you use to attract your customer’s attention it must grab their attention and cause them to go deeper and read the message that is beside your graphic. Perhaps this image could support a family outing to Universal Studios, or a Space related theme park… the next launch as and when it might be. Food Works Too Yes it’s true. The way to a customer’s wallet is sometimes through their stomach and that’s a given when selling cruises. Your foodie-cruisie clients just love the thought of a 7-day all-you-can-eat gorge-a-thon buffet! So why not pitch them in the gut? What’s the best and most enticing food image to showcase? Desserts. What percentage of restaurant goers shoot their meal and share it online? 30%
So you know your food shot will cause many of your customers to stop and look, drool and read your sales message too. If it is sugar coated that is. What a treat it would be to go on a chocoholic tour of Belgium! This, direct from the Visit Belgium website: “Belgian chocolate has been a lure for lovers, the indulgence of kings and today, everyone's favorite sweet. Over 172,000 tons of chocolate is produced per year with more than 2,000 chocolate shops throughout Belgium, a country the size of Maryland. After witnessing the passion that goes into the creation of these sweet treats, it's no wonder chocolate has become an international symbol of love. You can travel the four corners of the earth, but you have not truly lived until you have your first bite of Belgian chocolate.”
I’m seeing a tour slogan for Sweet Tooth Tours of the World. Yours if you want to use it. Now, your next action is to survey your clients for their most favourite food and you
could include favourite dessert too. Now all you need is the image to go with that info. The Photo Shoot Tour Everyone is a photographer today and most travellers have some device to shoot a picture. Knowing this… you are steps and clicks away from offering a tour to the same old destinations, but this time instead of selling sun, sand and sea… you promote the photo shoot tour of… Let’s play this one out and think about that photo shoot wording and the connotation. You would normally imaging fashion models draped over a rock on a beach at sunset… and there’s no crime in that. However, what if you created the Photo Shoot for Young Lovers and head to Hawaii. The tour includes the most scenic spots for said loving couples to shoot images of their loved ones in and around unforgettable scenery. Keeping it real, you can promote, all you need is your smartphone… and post that socially so the word spreads virally.
The Dreamy Come-On-In Image This image captures the very essence of something about the tour or destination you are promoting. That essence as it is intended here means to capture the ‘place’ in such a way as to have someone look at that image and dream of being there.
Make The Colour Work For You As you may know, we humans intake information mostly through our eyes. Once in – the brain sifts and sorts between nice and spam. The nice usually starts off based on the colour of what we look at. Colour then plays a huge part in what we decide to buy.
One of the most ‘wish I was there’ images is a sunset. After that, it depends on the audience you are focusing on and the niche you are promoting. The majority of working people with two weeks’ vacation a year might just be dreaming of lazing on that beach. The family might be focusing on a place for the kids and downtime for Mum and Dad… so a shot of the kids facilities might be an “Oh YESSS!” dream for the parents.
The world of travel simply offers every colour combination possible and out of all of those colours – blue is everyone’s favourite according to a study by Crayola some years ago. Blue sky, blue ocean - yours to play with. In fact some people get a better email response when they convert the colour of their email text from black to dark blue.
The activity hardliners are going to want to see the best image of what they do such as hiking, kayaking… cooking, reading etc.
Over to you and here’s hoping you can come up with the best image and the best slogan to match it that causes more customers to click in your direction. Be ready when they do.
THE GATHERING – GOING LIVE
You can do it! And it’s one way to upstage the competition (pun intended) and get in front of 10 to 50 new prospects every time you stand up on stage and strut your stuff. Stuff meaning your travels, your images and your promotion.
Here’s the thing, most of your competition are very much shy of standing on stage and presenting to an audience. Now you may also be a little nervous about this too, but if you hang in there and practice, your will come to enjoy the flood of energy and adrenaline that goes with being on stage, live and in person. Fact is, your competition will be very envious of your skill and confidence as you walk on stage or across the room to stand there, and simply chat about your travels and where you are planning to go next… with 20 people from “this audience”. To bring this off you will need to write your script, practice it 20 times, create the package or promotion you intend to present and prepare your PowerPoint or video or nothing at all if you are very well practiced and able to conjure up in people’s minds what it is you are talking about. Story telling is an art as you will know and this is what you will be doing if you go sans support materials and tools. Start At The End This is old, old advice and it always rings true. It means that when you write your script, you start with your close out comments and in these comments you factor in, what it is you want your audience to remember and then do. The “do” is very important. Do you
want them to call you, email you, fill out a form, subscribe, Like your Facebook page, visit your agency, sign up on your next tour or come up front to leave a deposit on the promotion you’ve just finished talking about. What is it, you want your audience to do? With the end planned out, you can now go back to the start and decide how you walk on stage and your first words which should never be, “Hi, can you hear me at the back?” The sound system should have been checked hours before your event and again 15 minutes before the audience seat themselves. So when you throw the switch and go live with your microphone, you already know the back row can hear you. Look Left AND Right AND to the Center Generally, if a person has not practiced their stage craft, they will favour one side of the room and the audience there, and one or two individuals will be quite nervous about that and wonder “Why is he/she looking at me all the time?” Learn to move your body, head and eyes. Let your eyes go everywhere… front, back, sides, center… include everyone and your audience will relax and enjoy your presentation. Too Expensive to do These Events This is a myth and most often believed by your competition. This belief also serves as a cop out for those who cannot deliver on
stage. It works to your favour. You’ll want to host your presentation in your agency if you have the room, in a hotel room, at the local library, book shop, movie theatre, in a restaurant which serves cuisine representing the country where your tour is going… and many other locations that would love to have you present there for a low rental cost. Timing is important and reflects the rental cost. Prime time anytime always costs a million bucks. A Tuesday morning from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. is low cost. The POP UP Event I’m sure you’ve heard the Pop Up phenomena and any vacant store front on mainstreet could be where you rent and perform for the day. It takes planning as always to bring off an event, and perhaps a little more than usual as there will be “hotel team” to assist. Assuming the store front is empty you’ll need to rent chairs for the audience, plug in the coffee maker and lay out the cookies. If the wall is white, then you can project on to it, if not, then you’ll need a screen. After that you use the enter window of the store to market your event. Read more on POP UP stores and see if the concept can work for you. If you are homebased without an agency to work from this POP UP location could be a winner for you. Words to the wise from the many companies that are now in the business of helping you set up a pop up is this: always select a prime location when looking for an empty store. You want heavy foot traffic and that will come based on your location. Even if you own and run a travel agency, the POP UP concept can still work for you. There was a time when a coach tour company would park one its cutting edge coaches outside your agency or on a downtown site such as outside the local library.
The idea was to attract passersby to sit in the coach as you pitched your next Tour of Europe for instance with the tour company what owns the coach. In Home Gatherings Thinking jewellery and cosmetics and clothing and of course Tupperware as what is being sold at house parties and now for you, you too can sell at home, from home or someone else’s home. Why not offer your active travelling clients an evening event where you showcase your travel products to your clients and their friends? It’s a retro marketing idea, but still valid. Other Venues Community halls, rooms at the library, cafes and restaurants, even large book retailers will work with you. Partner Up Your suppliers might be in the mood to try something different and if your BDM is outgoing as most are, then you should have a stage partner to present with you and the focus would be on your BDMs products. All you have to do is ask.
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As Facebook is FREE to open and use…you might want to consider investing five bucks or a little more, go for twenty bucks and use that moola to boost your next post. Chances are you’ll be able to reach an extra few hundred people who might click and LIKE your page or better still, they might click all the way through to you e-mail and request something. Could be information, a brochure or even a booking. That would be nice. You know you want this to happen – so break out a few dollars and invest in yourself.
Your post should be offering something that is worth boosting and something your customers would like to receive. When you invest your hard earned commission into boosting your post you’ll want your customers to understand that you are in business to make money and Facebook is your preferred social media tool for communicating your special offers and more. If your Facebook page is purely to build LIKES and not sell, then perhaps your social media plan needs a review. It’s true that 80% of your LIKES are by people who will never use your services and who just do not have the financial means to travel either. This happens when you do not manage your account and interact with those LIKEable people to determine whether or not they are active travellers. Get in touch after the LIKE your page and ask… “Where are you planning on going this year and when?” If no response or wrong response – delete them from your page. Eventually you will be posting to active travellers and their friends. Their friends are reached when you boost your post. It’s a myth that “one day they might book a world cruise…” – toughen up and Social Sell your Services like you mean it and boost for those financial returns.
Now THAT is a very clever QR Code. And someone out there will say the magic words, “I’ll drink to that!” Knew it was coming. Then take a look at the column of QR codes from all over the place… shown as portraits, others multi coloured. There’s no end to the creative use of this QR code image. If you are publishing anything in print – a brochure or a hand out, then it MUST have a QR code on it and for obvious reasons. Do not fall into the trap of saying, but not everyone has a mobile phone or a scanner app. The people that matter to your agency, do!
So let’s explore the QR code for your agency and how you can “employ” it, to help you sell more travel. First things first decide what it is you will CODE. Will it be your website address, your email, a special webpage featuring your latest tour or cruise or will be a standalone webpage that promotes you as the best travel agent to book with? Once you have an idea as to what it is you want your QR code to market then you can start looking for a QR Code Generator. Here’s two links to 20 more links for you to explore. http://freenuts.com/top-10-free-onlineqr-code-generators/ http://freenuts.com/top-10-free-webapps-for-you-to-create-colorful-qr-code/
I tried the QR Code Generator as shown here to test out the colour option and the fact you can also embed your logo. Here’s what the generator produced for me There was a warning to check if your coloured code can be scanned – so do make sure you test your QR code before having it printed on thousands of brochures.
You might want to QR Code a photo gallery or just one excellent mind numbing shot of a place you love. Get creative as to how and where you use your code. For sure printed or stamped on your brochures. Also screen printed on a t-shirt… on the back so people behind you can scan you. I’ll say it again – some well-intended gurus will tell you the QR Code is dead and it might not work for other products, but for travel brochures, if you are stamping them with your rubber stamp, or sticking peel off labels to them – might as well had the QR Code so at least someone can view your website.
Where or wear… it’s a play on words. You have to wear your brand but where do you wear it? In a world of hi-tech, this low-tech marketing idea still pays off. In essence you are going to become the brand and wear your marketing. I know some TAs baulk at this type of “thing” as they say, however you should be, must be, proud of your business, its name and be confident in wearing it. If not, then we have a serious problem and disconnect as to what you are doing with your travel selling career. The simple fact of the marketing matter is that you want and need people around you to know who you are and what you do and what you have to offer. It’s that kind of business you are in. Just like your brothers and sisters who sell real estate… they are pictured everywhere, or so it seems. You can wear your brand or have it “worn” as in positioned and posted on other media such as bus stops, on your car and as I say, on your person. Where to Wear With 80+% of the retail travel trade represented by women we should review how and where women can market themselves wearing their brand. So here we click to fashion for a moment. Sometimes tough to add brands and logos to your business attire. On the other hand some companies favour a certain colour scheme which can be marketed just like a brand. My days as a VP Training & Development with Uniglobe taught me all about colour recognition. If your agency is business casual or casual and that could range from a blouse to a sweat shirt or fleece, well the latter are prime for having logos printed or sewn into them. Ball caps too. You wear these branded items at the office, going home, when out for a walk and doing what you do after hours. The logo does get read.
The Auto Wear Branding your car has been with us for years now. The VW dressed up as a Travel Bug and that kind of visual marketing has made a hit when it has been professionally painted. Today you can attach magnetic panels that can be applied and removed. Do you ride a bike to work? Well add some signage to it. A simple flag pole attached to the saddle not only warns other road users that you are there and coming towards them, it can also market your business. Have Others Market For You What is the cost of a ball cap when purchased in bulk? About $3? Well you could invest $100 and hand out your branded ball cap to your clients and have them market you as they do what they do around town. Every glimpse counts in your favour. Pens and Sunglasses Specialty items also work well. The pen is mightier than a fluffy keyring! People keep pens and pass them on too. Sunglasses are one of the top giveaways at conventions – so we learn from that. Choose your low cost specialty item that you can have your logo printed on and hand out to the people you want to market you locally. Photo to Posters Are you a great photographer? Have one of your best printed as a poster… sell them or hand them out with your brand on them. They will be seen.
Upping Your Enthusiasm and Increasing
By Steve Gillick, Active Ingredient, Talking Travel
Your Sales Through Specialization Way back in 1970, comedian Flip Wilson appeared on shows such as Ed Sullivan, to perform his famous skit where, as housewife Geraldine Jones, she explained to her husband that she didn't want to buy that new dress but "the Devil made me do it".
The Devil seems to be a great scapegoat-even in the travel industry where the phrase "the Devil is in the details" crops up on a regular basis. It emphasizes the fact that even a simple itinerary can cause a traveller grief if the travel consultant didn't dot those proverbial 'i's and cross the 't's. Doublechecking, cross-checking, spell-checking and watching for notices and advisories from governments, airlines, cruise ships and resorts, is a regular routine for conscientious travel consultants. So now you are getting bored with the routine, sales are falling off, competition is growing, travellers are doing their own research and seemingly know more than you. Your client database is aging and their kids don't seem to be interested in anything they can't access on their smart phone. Do you need a good career pep talk? Actually, what you need is more complexity in your life! Let me explain... Travellers are complicated creatures who immerse themselves in technology and realize that the vacation of the past belongs in the past. Now they can set their own travel schedules, styles and itineraries. They ask "What else" when you suggest a destination or activity. They want to experience a destination, explore their
personal interests (niches) no matter how esoteric they may be (anyone in to visiting the Globe Museum in Vienna, or discovering Fugu recipes in Japan, or participating in running marathons in as many different countries as possible, or collecting UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage experiences)? Travel Multi-Tasking refers to this rush of adrenalin that causes a traveller to do whatever they please, not only for their personal peace of mind, satisfaction, comfort and pleasure, but because it can be done! These are the exciting clients you may want to attract. Their attitude is that each travel experience is the prologue to the next one. And they are not quiet about this. They tell their family and friends about all the things they did and therefore they become walking (and talking) promoters of the great services you provided. Specialization starts with your own interests. It's hard to get excited about scuba diving if you hate water and fear clown loaches (those cute orange and black fish you often see in home aquariums). Interview your clients and find out their interests. Find something that resonates with your own sense of fun and adventure (stamp collecting? South Pacific cruising? horseback
riding? mask collecting?) and explore further how you might put together a tour, or even an optional component of an already published tour, to include the specialization you wish to pursue. You can pick a major area of travel, such as adventure or cruising or family /cross-generational escapes or weddings and honeymoons. Or you can choose a niche (e.g. Honeymoons in the Caribbean) or even a niche within a niche, sometimes referred to as a 'super specialty' (e.g. Accessible Honeymoons in the Caribbean). Many travellers seek travel complexity as it reflects their interests and lifestyle; it's their way of relaxing (even though it may sound somewhat frenetic). And guess what? Their need for complexity and creativity becomes your challenge. But for many travel consultants who have been 'doing the same thing over and over' (some refer to this as "the Circle Game"), their career now gets injected with a boost of fresh air. Complexity, where 'the devil is in the details', ironically becomes the saving grace! And it can be addictive. You learn about bird watching (for example) as you have a lot of interest amongst your clients. You start researching on Google, talking to bird watching clubs, holding client focus groups to determine destinations and activities, cross marketing with the local camera store that also sells binoculars and scopes (the tools of the trade for bird watchers) or the clothing store or the book store. All of a sudden you're involved in the community and you start to get a reputation as someone who does their homework and has the knowledge and enthusiasm to offer specialized tours. Your revitalized career now includes evening presentations with experts, an informative newsletter and, after you send out a few press releases, even a
renewed interest from the press in using the services of travel consultants. And this specialization scenario holds true for just about any special interest you can conceive. Do you do it for the flagging sales? Yes, but you also do it to regenerate yourself and to stimulate those travel endorphins (neurotransmitters that cause feelings of happiness and joy) in your brain. The interest from your clients and yourself comes first...the sales and revenue are the result of your hard work and your knowledge. New and increased revenue specialization can result from:
charging fees as an expert consultant commissions and mark ups from working with experts abroad commissions and mark ups from attraction/entrance fees commissions from upselling (airlines, accommodation) fees for other special services your clients may request or you may suggest
And the guiding principle to keep in mind through all this is that "Price is only an issue in the absence of value"; meaning that when you provide your multi-tasking, specialinterest-seeking clients with exactly what they want, they will gladly pay. If you're asked why the sudden change in your attitude and the dramatic rise of your career happiness quotient, you can always hearken back to those devilish details that resulted in your revitalized sales. Tell them `The Devil made me do it` and smile to yourself (devilishly, of course) for all you have accomplished with your career.
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Just downloaded a new app to my iPad and it allows you to take two photos, one serves as the background and the other the top image of which you can erase the background with your finger to reveal the image underneath. This leads to creative compositions of your selfies and your landscape shots, castle shots, oceanscapes and whatever can serve as a background. Of course we want to turn your creativity into new travel bookings. Here’s how this might work for you.
The idea here is to turn your photos into something bordering on movie styled posters that you can place on your website, post to your social media and also if you have a travel agency window you can use, tape it up there too. All you are looking to do here is cause a response from people who see your poster such as the one with me starring in DINO! The Movie.
The next thing you want happening is for your “movie poster” to go viral. For that to happen the imagery might just do it, or the slogan you add to the large white band under the image might cause a response. “Visit the land of the Dinosaurs!” “They still LIVE!” “Why are you pointing at me?” “Come with us back in time…” Your poster could / should be promoting something in real time too. Could be a package to a theme park, or is there a tour of where the latest dinosaur has been discovered?
Have some fun with your images the end result does not always have to be straight laced. Bend the rules and spark up the dialogue with your clients. Cause them to respond, with OMG! And WTDTFG! Which stands for “What time does the flight go?” Even here you can come up with some great acronyms to tease your clients. Go on give it a try!
The Art of Colour Destination Marketing Here’s a fantastic new idea for how you can market a tour to a well-known destination. Put together a Colouring Tour of Paris for instance and you and your clients travel to Paris and colour in the pages of the latest colouring books for adults, plein air as they say. Live and onsite. Real time and real colours. Here’s the background: The world has suddenly found colouring books only not for kids, but for adults and they are being touted as adult stress relievers. Which is true. Like most activities that cause you to focus, your general daily thoughts, stresses and concerns are shelved for the time you are engaged in the activity and it is the same thing when colouring. My own attempt can be seen on the page opposite. The idea then is to select a book that matches your next tour or niche specialty such as Paris France or Tokyo, Japan as shown here. The other way to use them is to offer them as a post booking bonus to woo your clients and keep them engaged between their final payment and when they leave, in this case for Paris or Tokyo.
Using Your Art To Sell The Destination So the next idea is this – you buy the colouring book for yourself, you de-stress after a tough day selling travel and once you have finished colouring your page, you take a picture of it and use it in your marketing of that destination. You could print postcards, insert it into an email, a newsletter, post it to your social media accounts and have it reside on your home page. OR… you could use your masterpiece to promote your Colouring Tour of Paris, Tokyo, New York… there are many of these colouring books to choose from. Image what a keep sake each person’s colouring book would be. When you get home, you arrange a post tour art show where your colourful clients exhibit their completed colouring books. Check out all the titles online, at your local Michaels store or local book shop.
I use the Faber Castell Artist Pen as shown above which is a pre-loaded brush pen and they come in a variety of colours. So easy to guide them in and between the lines.
Hereâ€™s where you find even more ideas on how to sell travel and boost your revenues. Ct is the destination information and how-to-sell trade magazine for travel agents and every article I write is always geared to new business generation for YOU and your suppliers. The content ranges from a step-by-step how-to article to a comment about a current topic. Many of the articles are worth reviewing with your suppliers should you be able to work together to generate that new dollar for all. Click here to read.
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Ensu that re you are to-date passports carrying your upand have obta any required/ ined nece for entering the ssary tourist visas country(s) you visiting. are
trip You involves canc ellation penalties in the unforeseen even that you canc t el/postpone your travel arrangements. Ensure that you aware of these are penalties. • Carr your y Out-of-Count ry Hospital/Medic al/Travel Insur Policy with you. ance • awar Be e of luggage restrictions as weight, size and type of suitc such allowed on the ases inter national and domestic fligh ts on your itine rary. Excess bagg age charges are steep and can caus e great incon venience • Ensu you re have obtained recommended or required inoculations. Cert are mandatory ain inoculations for areas. Your trave travel to endemic l agent will have provided full details. • Chec outkthe availabili ty of local ATMs in your destination and/ or purchase some local currency travellers cheq or ues. • Give family/friend s the contact information at hotels/lodges you will be staying during your trave Information on l. your accommo datio is provided withi n your documen ns ts. • reco We mmend that you put your newspaper subs cription on hold the duration for of your trip and have your mail colle cted held at your local by a neighbour or post office. • is alwa It ys recomme nded that you secure your hom e with a secu rity alarm before you leave.
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