Today I was wondering where are the new clients? Why does it seem a website is no longer a great tool to secure new clients? I think it's a combination of things, we like to think websites are still very relevant and they are! They've maybe morphed into a resource after the fact you find a travel agency or agent you'd like to engage? This is an interesting change in attitude, all being equal there really isn't a way to guide a client to your agency with certainty; even referrals are challenging at times especially if you do the work for free on a difficult vacation only to have them pass. Why would you do the work for free, as a courtesy to your current client who referred them. I'll be honest that's really not in the best interest of the possible new client as well as the travel agent. It devalues the agent and his or her credibility to the possible new client, being you're willing to go all out without regard to your earned professional status. That might be a bit of overthinking on my part, I do know it might be a different reason all together. It's time for a couple of calming photos of nature and the beauty she offers.
Before I mention social media, I'd like to briefly mention a benefit of using a Travel Professional vs the on-line agencies or the websites of the suppliers like, cruise lines and hotels. When we work hard for you we know we must also offer value, service along with special perks when available. We will be on call to help if you're in trouble or find yourself without a room or other issues while traveling. Really when there are the occasions a service charged is requested to plan your journey it's not the basis of our income. We find it necessary to charge fees as any professional allowing us to continue with our education, memberships in consortia that helps only our clients not us.
A supplier mentioned something to me the other day over coffee; she mentioned a consumer asked her "Why would we use a travel agent". She had many replies, beyond our associations, pricing and security your trip will go well. Her response was "Working with a Travel Professional is investing in your community, producing jobs in the small business sector, taxes paid to local municipalities is only a small reason but the best." She went on to explain when you book with a cruise line or hotel you'll get the best pricing offered to the general public always, they guarantee it! What they don't offer you when you book direct is volume discounts, perks, ship board credits or tour credits from tour companies. What booking direct does is increase the profits of the suppliers only. They don't give you a discount for booking direct, they take the part of the costs that would be paid as a commission to the Travel Professional to there bottom line.
Most travel agencies or Travel Professionals work for commissions from the suppliers, our agency will not recommend a product based on commission we offer a product we feel meets your needs, desires and budget. It makes for a better long term relationship with you the client, no the supplier! The supplier will be around no matter what method you choose to book, however; the Travel Professional will not.
So why not go all out on Instagram with #hashtags? I think it's very much needed, not sure it'll drive a customer base, it will drive interest with people who follow #hashtags. Yes, that is a real thing, people loving certain tags will follow to see new posts. Here are some #hashtags we're considering as we go all in:
#travelagent #cruiseagent #travelprofessional #portlandtravelagency #familytravel #cruisegroups #seniorgroups #corporatetravel #businesstravel #leisuretravel #leissurepro #gaytravel #vacationrentals #fijispecialists #disneytravel #universaltravel #disneyagent #universalagent #hawaiiagent #hawaiispecialist #europetravel #rivercruise #rivercruiseagent #singlestravel #agent #travelspecialists #allinclusivespecialist #Pacificnorthwesttravel #railtravelagent #raileurope #gobyrailagency #resortspecialist #resortsandhotelagent #familyfunvacactions #foodandwinetravel #foodietravel #bucketlisttravel #beallyoucanbetravel #goforittravel.
So there are many ways to create interest, once we figure out how to get your attention we'll know we've found the right #hashtag.
Facebook is an more open forum, allowing for more interaction with potential clients. It requires much more work for the most part. I've decided to link my blog posts to auto feed into my facebook account. I did this many years ago only to let that program slide. For me I feel Instagram has more of a solid footing and future with the changing demographics of our population.
Let's get together and plan a special trip together. Remember our philosophy "It's about you"!