Selling Travel July 2014


Published on

The How-To Magazine for Travel Trade Professionals

Published in: Technology, Business
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Selling Travel July 2014

  1. 1. THE HOW-TO MAGAZINE FOR TRAVEL TRADE PROFESSIONALS JULY 2014 Main Features: Selling travel in a spam legislated world Know your photo Apps like RAYS Do your suppliers know HOW to sell their own products?
  2. 2. 4 EDITORIAL 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 250-738-0064 Publisher: SMP Training Co. Contributors Steve Crowhurst SELLING TRAVEL is owned and published by Steve Crowhurst, SMP Training Co. All Rights Reserved. Protected by International Copyright Law. IC TRAVEL AGENT can be shared, forwarded, cut and pasted but not sold, resold or in any way monetized. Using any images or content from IC TRAVEL AGENT must be sourced as follows: “Copyright SMP Training Co.” 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. 7 SELLING TRAVEL IN A SPAM LEGISLATED WORLD 13 THE CASL HASSLE REPORT & SURVEY LINKS 27 3 THINGS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN SENDING MESSAGES 28 REMEMBER THIS? 30 CLIENT UPGRADE 32 GOTTA SHOOT 16:9 OR PANORAMIC 36 ASK YOUR CLIENTS 37 SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW by Jill Wykes 38 TAPPING INTO YOUR INNER EXPLORER by Steve Gillick 40 DO YOUR SUPPLIERS KNOW HOW TO SELL THEIR OWN PRODUCTS? 42 IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING… 43 RFID 44 DREAM MERCHANTS 46 RAYS - A NEW APP 48 THIS IS HOW IT’S DONE! 50 QR QUIRKS 51 SOCIAL MEDIA IS YOUR FRIEND by Jill Wykes 52 THERE IS NO 110%! 54 R-U- NBG? 57 GOOD READS 58 THINKING 59 YOUR SALES PROCESS If it’s not yet 5pm where you live, you still have time to make one more call, close one more sale or e-mail one more promotion! 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! THE HOW-TO MAGAZINE FOR TRAVEL TRADE PROFESSIONALS
  3. 3. TRUE SUPPORT FOR TRUE PROFESSIONALS At Nexion Canada, we know that you are passionate about your travel business. So we provide you with the professional support and industry relationships you need to be more profitable and efficient, giving you the freedom to run your travel business the best way: your way. A full-service host agency combining decades of experience, Nexion Canada provides independent, Canadian-based travel professionals of all experience levels with: • Your choice of up to 80% of commissions • Top commissions with leading air, cruise and land suppliers • Technology tools to better manage your business • Access to our exclusive point-and-click booking engine or through the Amadeus, Sabre or Galileo GDS systems • Training, coaching and networking opportunities • Innovative marketing programs to grow your business • Exclusive cruise block space and supplier offers • Lead generation for qualified agents • membership included at no additional charge! It’s time to join a family of professionals that truly supports your independent business dreams. It’s time to join Nexion Canada. • Your choice of up to 80% of commissions • Top commissions with leading air, cruise and land suppliers • Technology tools to better manage your business • Access to our exclusive point-and-click booking engine or through the Amadeus, Sabre or Galileo • Training, coaching and networking opportunities • Innovative marketing programs to grow your business • Exclusive cruise block space and supplier offers • Lead generation for qualified agents • membership included at no additional charge! Contact us today to learn more about our growing family of travel professionals. Visit Email Call 866-399-9989 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
  4. 4. SELLING TRAVEL IS BACK! Well I have to say it’s nice to be back on the digital shelf. Had to take a breather to reassess how many e-Magazines one man can produce and not to mention keeping the content fresh and timely. Managed to launch IC Travel Agent with a focus on the Home Based seller of travel, and during that time it was evident from your emails that you wanted the all-purpose How-To magazine that offered something for everyone, suppliers included, and that was Selling Travel. The big issue just now, on both sides of the 49th is the anti-spam laws introduced into Canada as of July 1st. Not all consumers know about it, want to know about it or care about it. That said it’s now in your business life and as everyone keeps saying the legislation is the strictest in the world. Not to belabour the issue, but we have to, I’ve given a couple of pages to some ideas on how to work with this new hassle. Also included the results of a recent survey. Feel free to add your thoughts to the survey to grow the data. Be sure to check out my new e-Store where I am turning every workshop, webinar, article and keynote speech into easy to read and implement eGuides that you purchase and download in an instant. Look for the Store Member opt-in links and receive a 20% discount once you join. Here’s to your continued success in SELLING TRAVEL. Best regards. Steve Crowhurst, CTC The How-To Magazine for Travel Trade Professionals Steve Crowhurst, CTC, Publisher This month’s issue of Selling Travel includes a Special Report: The CASL Hassle Survey. After reading it you can continue to review additional responses by clicking here to view.  Click on the icons below to opt-in.
  5. 5. Wantmoretime withyourfamily? Stayathomeand earnbigmoney! JoinToday! Call: 416-367-8263 Tollfree: 1-844-845-8263 BB023 10-5-14 JoiNAWEbiNARTodAY! • You keep 85 -100% of preferred supplier base commission. • Get commission paid twice monthly! Why wait? • Upload your promotions to over 300 social networks in seconds. • Gain access to 100s of suppliers thru our affiliation with TRAVELSAVERS. • Get your own personal dashboard report to manage your bookings. • Have your personalized, fully-bookable website. • Enjoy your own phone extension that rings at your home. • Know where you stand with real time commission tracking. • Marketing that includes direct mail to your customers. • High end customers? No problem with the Affluent Traveler Collection. Work in the comfort of your own home!
  6. 6. Are You On The List? As a member of The Travel Agent’s Store you’ll receive advanced notice of new titles when they hit the shelves AND you’ll receive a discount too. The BIG ALL Store Bundle valued at OVER $275 now on sale for ONLY$199! Click here to join The Travel Agent’s Store member list. ICTA610 Try us out this month… Enter this Promo Code upon checkout and SAVE 10%
  7. 7. Selling Travel in a Legislated World
  8. 8. Will your clients turn you in and send you to email jail? The How-To Magazine for Travel Trade Professionals “But I was only trying to email their refund information. Honest!”
  9. 9. Well, it’s on every travel agent’s mind. Whether or not they will be heading to email jail in the hilltop CASL or will they be able to continue marketing to their long term latest and prospective clients without doing time. Let’s review. Okay. Take a breath. Keep calm. That’s the spirit. The only way you are going to end up in eMail Jail is if anyone, more than one actually, talking hundreds of consumers complain about your CEMs. The question is then, will this happen? Would any of your clients actually report you for sending them the same information you’ve been sending to them for years? No. Not very likely. The rules and regulations that CASL presents does however wake you up to the fact that you should always be sending out quality information to those that actually want it. To do it right means you do one of two things: 1. You create all-purpose content that your clients can read through and select their preferences. No harm done there. 2. You create several content formats to suit the personal travel needs and wants of your segmented client list. This means sending cruise information to your known cruisers, golf info’ to your golfers and historical tour info’ to the clients who like to roam around very old cities. If you just roll along pumping out the same old “stuff” and then send it to everyone regardless of their travel profile then for sure someone might get upset. If they do, the general outcome would be a reply to your email asking you to stop sending, or a phone call requesting the same thing – stop sending stuff that doesn’t interest “me”! Once again the question: Do you feel that anyone on your client list is unhappy with what you send to them and would they actually report you to CASL? It’s for you to answer and then decide what to do. The decision to send a spam complaint by a customer is not a task to be undertaken lightly. Do yourself a favour and go check out the complaint page here: -eng/MMCN-9EZV6S Make sure you read through every word and then follow the clicks as if you were going to file a complaint. For the average person to do so, it looks quite daunting. Not only the process, but it also states that your personal information may be / could be shared with various security bodies. Not what most people want happening in their lives. The less known about “me” the better. Now, on the other hand you might be faced with a professional plaintive as one article titled the person who just loves to get in there and stir it up with a financial reward at the end of the day. To me it seems that CASL will scare a lot of marketers into doing it right, and also scare a lot of consumers from lodging a complaint. The average person who is being inundated with “real spam” might finally go for it and lodge a complaint. That professional plaintive using spam to scam and probably opts-in for this very reason, will for sure seek out a victim via CASL.
  10. 10. On the right of this page I’m showing you the information section that awaits anyone who clicks to make a spam complaint. It’s extensive. When you arrive at the end of that page you will see red text and that’s where you click to proceed. Then you will come to a questionnaire, name address etc., and eventually the reason for your submission – and here are the reasons are taken right off that page: Would any of your clients turn you in based on any one or more of those 13 reasons – note that the person lodging the complaint can select as many reasons as they wish. My suggestion here is that you strive to comply with all things CASL, review the CASL page as the information is far better than what the trade has offered which garnered fear more than confidence. In essence you can carry on emailing your clients if you have their okay, or implied okay, and if you believe your clients will not turn you in for staying in touch then that’s a business decision you make – however if I were you, I would be sure to add in a call-to-action and push hard for that opt-in. As always, check with your own lawyer as and when needed especially to explain various CASL rules. 
  11. 11. The above graphic is taken right off the CASL fight spam webpage and as you can see it is clean and well laid out and I like the Get The Facts area as the information is very clear to the reader. So make sure you read this entire page and click on all the buttons to discover what works and what does not. Study the time lines you have in order to get yourself sorted and as mentioned before, use your own lawyer when in doubt or go straight to CASL via this webpage and pose your questions directly. That way they will know you have good intentions and trying to work within the rules. Not all situations are known or covered – they never are, and so your specific heads-up to the CASL team might help make changes to certain rulings that are simply hurting small business. 
  12. 12. 0 | P a g e
  13. 13. 1 | P a g e THE CASL HASSLE REPORT Heartfelt thanks to the 46 out of the few thousand on my lists who have now opted in to the CASL HASSLE survey. Not too bad a response really. Sort of like… well very similar to the returns asking clients to opt-in! I’m sharing the results as they continue to come in with nothing doctored. You can review the actual results here at this link. Would have been nice to have around 50 responses and 46 is close enough. I’ll take what I can get. I’ll leave the survey open just in case others wish to contribute. Click here to do so: The responses are very much self-explanatory and probably represent the mood within the travel trade. Good luck and keep selling! Steve Crowhurst, CTC SMP Training Co. A bit of hokey pokey CASL Hassle fun: You put your opt-in in You take your opt-out out You put your opt-in in And you shake it all about You do the CASL Hassle And you turn yourself around That’s what it’s all about! HEY! I know who you email!
  14. 14. 2 | P a g e I’m sure the answer to this question is literally a mixture of what you read above. Some have managed to send an email to everyone on their list and some are struggling to do so. If you haven’t managed your list then of course you may be facing that 40% churn rate as people cancel or change their email addresses. Whether or not the client will opt-in and give their consent is a decision you cannot control. After July 1st however you can follow up by phone but not by email unless you have the client’s consent.
  15. 15. 3 | P a g e Looks like the responses are very close to being evenly split as to the outcome of CASL. The fact of the matter is this: some travel agents will indeed lose business and some of those lost clients will surface on the lists of the competition. Some clients were looking for a way to say “Hey… stop sending me stuff!” Or, “You didn’t take care of me, I’m moving to another agency!” Then there are the clients you never really wanted but felt you had to service them – these are the complainers, the cheap bookings, the clients who argue about your fees etc. Now you have an excuse NOT to contact them. As the months roll on you should end up with a very clean and mean list. This could be a good thing unless you put value in a list of hundreds even if they don’t book any travel. Sort of like the LIKES on your Facebook page. No one actually books with you, they just enjoy what you post. So, final outcome: yes you will lose some clients and some you’ll be glad of the fact they didn’t opt-in.
  16. 16. 4 | P a g e Don’t forget you are dealing with human nature here. CASL has put your clients, plus you & I in charge of our own email inbox destiny. Not from those professional spammers of course, but from the websites and services you did opt into and now just delete their emails when they arrive. Pretty soon, if you did not opt in, then those emails will no longer arrive and or you can unsubscribe. The same thing is happening with your clients when they see your please opt-in email. They’ll either not bother, had enough, were not travelling anyway, or they will opt-in and are looking for a well-priced vacation. You should tally up who responded and who didn’t and do not chase the cheap booking clients or the nasty ones. Stick with the “perfect clients” that enhance your business and then set about growing more of those types of clients.
  17. 17. 5 | P a g e The answer is a resounding yes. Some of you will naturally have to wait and see, however with life in the fast lane as it is for most people and the fact they are blasé about such things as opting in they are already in charge of the sales process by default. A percentage of your clients will decide to call you when they need you and bypass all the email flyers and specials. Their life just got a little easier all round as they will reduce email into their inbox across the board.
  18. 18. 6 | P a g e
  19. 19. 7 | P a g e As we all know – pro’ spammers can do what they want. They are always one step ahead. So all we can do is ramp up our spam filters and turn a few things off in our Internet Settings and password where you can. I use SPAMFIGHTER and so far so good. Once it reads your inbox and your deletes it understands what YOU don’t want, plus of course it can identify spam and remove it to the delete / spam folder.
  20. 20. 8 | P a g e If you attended the Baxter webinars about CASL you should have a pretty good understanding of what you can and cannot do. Also there are some activities that are exempt, meaning you can do them – such as telephone a person / client, or send direct mail. The only way to be sure you are on the right side of CASL is to gain that consent and record the event as and when a client gave you that consent. It looks like 20% of respondents know how complaints are registered and less how the complaint process works. I wrote to CASL to find out and their response is shown below. I also wrote to a CASL “expert” lawyer and have yet to hear back. Hmm?
  21. 21. 9 | P a g e Here is CASL’s response to my complaint process email: Incoming message 6/26/2014 Re CASL and CEMs How and where does a person or company complain about email spam and what is the procedure once CASL considers the complaint as worth pursuing? Many thanks. Steve Crowhurst SMP Training Co. Email: June 27, 2014 Dear Steve Crowhurst: Thank you for contacting the CRTC on June 26, 2014 asking how to complain about receiving spam. After Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) comes into effect on July 1, 2014, you will be able to file your complaints with the Spam Reporting Centre at Details of the complaint process will be made available on our website at that time under “Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation”: I hope you find this information helpful. Regards, Michelle Edge CRTC Client Services | Services à la clientèle ---------------------------------
  22. 22. 10 | P a g e
  23. 23. 11 | P a g e Clearly all respondents are concerned about CASL and its overall effect on their business. They are also upset at the time and effort required to initiate the program. That said… the travel agent’s resilience as already mentioned will shine through. From a positive point of view, having to contact your clients does offer you a chance to reconnect with the clients you wish to retain and grow. In this way YOU are back in control of the sales process. The next thing to ponder is this: would any of your clients ever really “turn you in” and complain about your CEMs? Chances of that happening are very small unless you really do bother your clients with unending communication that is nothing but fluff and of no value to them in the slightest such as sending golf vacation offers to people who don’t golf. As mentioned some of your clients are not yet aware of CASL – so here’s a chance to arrange a consumer event to explain it and by that I mean keep it lean and mean – stick to the fact you need consent and then
  24. 24. 12 | P a g e get it. Have everyone sign an opt-in page and once that’s done, carry on with the show and offer your audience some incredible vacations. Also get busy via your social media outlets and same thing, tell them then sell them. Do NOT go into detail or you’ll die a death of a thousand cuts. CASL will suffer the outrage of both the business community as profits take a dive and the general public as it starts to hit home that they missed out on some fantastic deals because they were not kept informed. You are on the right side of the law because you did not pursue any client who did not opt-in. Where can the client go to lodge their issue – to CASL. Give it time and either more exemptions will be introduced or the CASL Hassle two-step will dance another tune. For the brave souls who just continue on, business as usual, good luck, brave the storm and fight the fight. Also make sure you have a good lawyer on your side and one that actually is an expert on CASL and how to work with it. Hope this report is of use to you. There’s more information and eGuides available at The Travel Agent’s Store so don’t forget to visit there when you can. If you choose to Opt-In (now I’m doing it!) and become a Store Member you will receive a 20% discount on all store products and bundles. COMING SOON TO THE TRAVEL AGENT’S STORE
  25. 25. 13 | P a g e Resources Spam complaints can be sent here: – I suggest you send every single spam you receive to your home and business email inbox to the fightspam team. Many of your client’s are not acquainted with CASL or CAN SPAM – so you may or may not wish to give them a heads up in your next email as you request their consent. Why not be the company that says, “We’d love to keep you on our mailing list and here’s why…” and then offer a Click Here link to the page. You can also use your window space and website home page to place a banner that reads: We are CASL compliant! Your email is safe with us.
  26. 26. WHENSENDINGMESSAGES Think About 3 toThings DIDTHEYGIVECONSENT?DOYOUHAVE ARECORDOFTHISCONSENT? • Did they say ‘yes, please contact me’? • Did they publish contact info online or did they give you a business card? (Look closely for any ‘don’t contact’ instructions). • This means no automated address generation or collecting! 1 THINKABOUTWHOYOUARESENDINGMESSAGESTO DOYOUHAVEANEXISTINGBUSINESS ORNON-BUSINESSRELATIONSHIP? • Customers, clients, associates, donors, supporters, volunteers or members from the past two years. 2 THINKABOUTTHETYPEOF MESSAGESYOU’RESENDING 3 THINKABOUTWHAT YOUMUSTINCLUDE • Is it sent to an electronic address? - E.g., email, SMS, instant messaging or similar platforms. • Is it commercial or promotional? - Commercial or promotional information including marketing, sales, offers, solicitations or similar activities. • Ensure that no part of the message is false or misleading. • Identify your name and business, the name of anyone else on whose behalf you are sending the message, and a current mailing address. Also include a phone number, email address, or web address. Ensure they are accurate and valid for a minimum of 60 days after sending the message. • Include details on how to unsubscribe - In each message - Action every unsubscribe request within 10 days or less and at no cost to the recipient. This resource, which is intended to provide a plain language explanation of some of the requirements under the Act, is not to be considered as legal advice, an interpretation of any legislation or regulations, or as a settlement or commitment on behalf of the Enforcement Agencies for Canada’s Anti-Spam Law. For more information, go to Logo
  27. 27. By the time you’ve sent out a survey, analyzed the behavioural profile of travellers in your area, trod softly, softly via social media, managed to build relationships with people even in China and India and Ubetchastan sent out 2,000 tweets and posted 20 videos… well, they’ve already gone! Yep. Fed up waiting for the call. Remember this?
  28. 28. You know sometimes you have to say “ENOUGH! I’ve had it with all those smooth talking, never sold travel in their lifetime, marketers.” And then once you’ve voiced your inner thoughts on the topic – ya get busy sellin’! Count me in. I love all the techno babble and clever software that does this and that and everyone can tell you which buttons to push and slide, and grab and squeeze but none of them know how it works! So I’m back to my personal statement when something new comes along – “Tell me what it does, not how it works!” When I know what it does – my own creative streak clicks in and I’m down the road already with how I can use this tool, gadget, software or device. Now, the telephone has never left us has it? It’s always been there for us and evolved, and morphed into what it is today – the telephone! It’s what you use to reach out and chat with someone if you still know how to dial a number and then present yourself in a professional manner. Might be and probably will be the case that your first few words will be to leave a message for the person you are calling to retrieve. Do you still have those classic skill sets where you moved into your velvet voice tone and left a very alluring message about the best cruise deal going this century? What? Say no way. Surely you still remember how to do this thing? You’re are joshing me. I know it. I’m sure the Telephone Doctor would be tearing up her phone book if she read this, heard this, saw this. Sheesh. If you want to knuckle down and generate more sales than that oh so social media etiquette correct, never ask for the sale type of travel agent, get that old phone down from the travel agency attic and practice. Once the neuro muscular reaction is recalled, the lips synched up nicely with the words forming in your head and you have the handset right way up… NOW you can put on the headset, speak to your smartphone, talk to your PC’s VOIP connector and away you go: “Hi Mrs. Brown, how’s the boys? They are? Fantastic! This is Steve from your favourite travel agency on 3rd Street. Boy we haven’t spoken like this since we sold you your first cruise. How are you anyway? Oh good to hear it. Well, listen – the reason for my call is to break away from all that email and website fluff and chat with you directly about this wonderful deal that’s coming up next month… do you have time now for me to tell you about it or would you like me to come over, bring some coffee and tell you in person? Tomorrow at 2pm you say… perfect. I’ll be there. What’s your preference for coffee… let’s do it right, eh?” Remember how you used to do it now? Of course you do. And guess what. No spam delivered at all. You win! 
  29. 29. Are you seeking to upgrade? Maybe you are tired of handling the "what-have-ya- got-for-two- hundred-bucks" market segment. You want to move up. Handle the elite. Deal with the moneyed crowd. Clients who are easy to do business with. Guess what? They are out there. Your perfect client is out there waiting for you. And that's what you really want and need. Perfect clients. Let's see how you can go about attracting them. Remember one thing. Whatever you do to upgrade your clientele, it must be in alignment with your business plan. This means you should not go off on a tangent. You should not be trying to sell wild and wacky trips when the bread and butter business is left to go stale. Ask your host to review the "continuous customer acquisition" section of their business plan with you. Make sure you are on the right track. Get support. Move ahead from there. When you start out you are required to build a client base. Over time, years in fact, you will develop a following. The key to upgrading is to decide who the perfect client is for you and then target people who fit that profile. Stay Where You Are Sound advice from "the greatest car salesman" Joe Girard. I paid a fee to attend his workshop some years back. I counted heads and he took in $40,000 for those few hours he spoke to us. I left with one solid piece of knowledge. If you want to build a bigger and better client base, stay still. Stay where you are. It is sound advice. Take it. It means do not move from host to host, agency to agency. Stay where you are. Be best. Get known. Become the perfect travel provider. Attract the perfect client. When you stay where you are, referrals can be made. Clients can send their friends to you. You can be found. This is the best way to increase your client base. Don't move. Stay put. Attracting Better Clientele It is a two-way street. You have to be a better travel agent to attract a better clientele. Make sure you are "attractive" to the buying public. Are you well groomed? Dressed in business attire? Look sharp? Are sharp. Have the knowledge. You cannot build a better clientele looking and being anything less. Assuming you have everything else in place, let's find out what a perfect client looks like. What Is A Perfect Client? Do you know? You should. You probably handle them every day. What you want are more clients like them. Take a few minutes. Think of a client you truly enjoy selling and servicing. This would be a client who makes you feel good. Can you name someone? Good. Now bring to mind what you like about them. What is their manner like? How do they speak to you? Do they haggle? Do they pay on time? What are their positive qualities? The Perfect Client Profile Check if you have any of the following on your list. This client trusts you. They believe
  30. 30. you have their interest at heart. They pay your fees. They pay on time. Before time. Up front. They plan ahead. Give you time. They arrive on time. They wait patiently. They appreciate your advice. They send their friends and relatives to you. They are sincere. True. Honest. They challenge you to excel. They value your time. They value their time even more. They are, well... just easy to do business with. They're perfect! Perfect Pitch This could be music to your ears. Commissions to your pocket. When you are selling perfectly, the perfect client will find you. It's a rule of life. Same attracts same. Humans tend to navigate towards people they identify with. People they enjoy. Find it easy to be with. Easy to buy from. So your perfect pitch will attract the perfect client. Finding More Perfect Clients Think hard. How did your best clients find you in the first place? Was it instant eye contact? Did they respond to a direct mail and you engaged them on the phone. Or, did you respond to an e-mail they sent and your words or style made a connection? Did they comment on your social media posts? Try to recall how it was that your best, perfect, clients came to do business with you. Repeat the activity that brought them to you. Clan Gathering List your perfect customers. Invite them to a presentation. Yes, just them. Use the host agency boardroom. Use a supplier’s boardroom. Rent a small room at the hotel close by. Chat with a supplier. Cruises. Tours. Whatever product, destination or vacation type you want to promote. Make this a coffee session. Keep it to two hours max. Take a look at your audience. Take in all the perfect vibes. Chances are everyone gets along. They will make friends. Might even team up. They could be a group. Watch as the personalities entwine as if they had known each other for years. Now you are building a better clientele. The Even More Perfect Client How could your perfect client become even more perfect? It's almost a done deal. You have generated some additional friendships. This base will grow and new friends will come. They will be referrals to you. Slowly you will develop perfect pitch and a perfect client following. Which sounds like... "kaching!" 
  31. 31. Or not! Depends which way you shoot your shot. People love sky. Sky is all things dreams are made of. It’s also where you fly when you decide to go travelling. Yes indeed, sky is all powerful and should be on your list to capture and use in your next round of travel promotions. Consider this one of of my Attraction Marketing ideas that I’m developing to help you work your way legally around the Anti- Spam legislation every business is facing. Photography is the lure. What you shoot is the lure. How you use both the photo and the image will help attract new clients to make contact and inquire. You know the rest. That’s when you strike and ask for their opt-in. Look Up! Sounds crazy I know, someone telling you to look up… cos’ that’s where the sky is. The thing is, we, as in humans rushing about all over town, driving here, train there, biking there and there… walking with head down checking email etc. Never looking up. Looking up is good for you. Could be that lone piano about to play a number on your head from ten stories up, also, you will indeed see the sky. There and then you have all the imagery you need to help you lure your new clients – the ones who have not yet found you. The best time to look up is early morning and whenever the sunsets in your neck of the woods. You’ll find wonderful colours, cloud shapes, vapor trails of jets heading somewhere, doesn’t matter where. If the clouds are reflected in glass buildings this can work, also if they are reflected over water, ocean, pond and river – they are all good. Just point and shoot, capture and file away. Build that Folder The sky is just one component and one image segment you need to start capturing. Usually the colouring allows you to create a text message over the image and that text will stand out. So the caption combined with amazing shapes and colours formed by the clouds is your lure – your Attraction. This shot was taken at sunset, but it was within seconds that the clouds lit up like this. Had I left the scene I would have missed it. And that points to you actually setting up a time to go out with your camera, plonk yourself down and wait it out.
  32. 32. A couple of things going on here. I’m using an iPhone to capture the sky and I’m using the Tangled X App to manipulate the image after I’ve clicked the shutter. The result and you can click along for many more, is quite amazing. Opens up a whole new world in terms of imagery. Unless you are smokin’ green beans or Uncle Bill’s socks, chances of visualizing the type of images that Tangled X creates is not going to happen. I’m thinking a Harry Potter tour here or something noir ‘ish even. If you are using Word 2013, when you click on your image, the Picture Tools ribbon will be highlighted and then you have these borders available to you. I used one from this same selection to frame the above image. So get outside. Look up. Shoot. Save. Lure. 
  33. 33. ASK Your Clients There’s a trend in chatter about big data and little data, data bits’n’bytes and deciphering this and that about your customer’s travel and travel habits. You can save an awful lot of time and effort by simply checking in with your clients on a regular basis be it annual or quarterly. Here’s why and how you want to tap into your clients directly. Naturally you need information on which to base your marketing plans for the year. With good intentions various parties within the travel trade are echoing big and bigger business and advising you to get involved with big data. If you are running a fifty million dollar travel agency then that would be a good thing to do and a member of your financial team would take it on. Most travel agencies are writing $2m to $5m and all that’s required here is to ask your clients about their travel plans this year. You want to sell more, sell up, sell niche, sell luxury and additional services & peripherals then the best thing to do is ask the very people who make up your client list. The Annual Ask Plan your Annual Ask around November and ask your clients about their travels for the coming year. Some will know exactly and others will still be thinking about it to having “no idea”. Each response offers you a chance to sell more travel. Plotting Response As the responses return to you it’s an easy thing to plot each one onto a low tech Excel spreadsheet if you do not have a CRM program that you can use. Set up your spreadsheet with monthly columns as a starting point. Code the responses so that you can plot quickly. Keep it simple and let’s go with a two letter code per country and then a date number. UK9 means this client wants to visit the United Kingdom in September. You can add more coding if you want to such as T for touring and C for cruising, A for adventure. Again, keeping it easy to use and interpret when you graph the data. Asking Part Deux With your spreadsheet completed you will be looking at your sales and marketing plan for the coming year. You can now target your clients based on the month of travel, their destination and vacation type. You can upsell, offer supplier discounts and even suggest another date close to the one they selected that offers something more. You have a chance to offer a customized trip and sell the benefits of an FIT arrangement. Take the time to ask if their friends are joining them, if they can refer their friends to you and how about other family members? Yes you are trying to build a group departure within each client’s circle of friends and family. Timing is Everything Give yourself the month of November to complete your project and be ready to market come January 2nd. 
  34. 34. So You Think You Know something about marketing? Marketing is key to increasing your sales, reaching your customers, and customer retention….and yet it is an area where travel agents so often fall down. Have you ever wondered why your marketing efforts are not successful? It is probably because you are not a marketing expert! If you are a travel agent your specialty should be, and likely is, sales! Selling is where you should be concentrating your efforts. One of the most frustrating aspects of a marketing person’s job is that everyone thinks they know marketing. Everyone has an opinion. Senior executives love to dabble in it. They will scrutinize ad copy, redesign brochure covers and change tag lines. This drives the marketing heads crazy, trust me! But they have to play along if they want to keep their jobs. Good marketing instincts are not human nature….it is a specialty….partly learned at college or university, partly gut instinct in those who have it. The rest of us really should leave it up to them! And so when you become a home based agent, the very last thing you should have to worry about is marketing your services and special products and promotions to your database. One of the most important services you should look for in a host agency is marketing. What do they provide? What does it cost? How much is included in your base fee? And we are not just talking ads in your local newspaper here… fact, we are likely not talking about that at all these days. Target marketing is vitally important if you want to keep your customers….and remember the old adage, it costs ten times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to retain the ones you’ve already got. Customer retention is where you should focus a lot of your marketing efforts. In my next three columns we will explore marketing in the following ways: Social Media, Email and Print. IT is vital in the 21st century to use different channels to reach all your customers….one size does NOT fit all. Once you understand all that you should be doing, it will be important to find a host agency that provides the most comprehensive marketing services. By Jill Wykes Brought to you by: The Travel Agent Next Door
  35. 35. Tapping into Your The comedian Jackie Mason has a routine in which he goes to a psychiatrist. The doctor says his mission is “to find the real you”. Mason turns this phrase around in every conceivable way to suggest that “If I’m not the real me, then maybe the psychiatrist is the real me and that perhaps the doctor should invoice himself and not me for the session, at least until he finds the real me”. Of course the humorous lesson in all this is that we all have our external personalities that we use to confront our daily situations but sometimes, due to the restraints of society, family, friends or through our own machinations, we don’t always express what we’re really thinking, hoping, dreaming and wishing. In the study of travel psychographics (which answers the question “why do you want to travel in the first place”), travellers often refer to the freedom of getting away from their regular routine, and they mean this from both an activity and a personality point of view. Certainly on a holiday, the activities can dramatically change and every possible (and some not so possible) passive and active options are on the table. From the personality point of view, travellers often bring their travel persona out of storage, out of the hidden depths of their personality and relish the resulting freedom of expression. For introverts (those whose level of comfort generally lies in more sedate activities) they can become a life-of-the-party extrovert. And for extroverts (those whose level of comfort is generally more gregarious) they may cherish the opportunity to embrace introversion, peace, meditation, waterfalls and silence. Your travel clients are like jack-in-the-boxes (or Jacqueline-in-the-boxes) waiting to pop up and surprise you when you least expect it. Sometimes you have to pry the information out of them (“if you could wave a magic wand, what would you really like to do when you’re in Vienna”) and sometimes the information just flows (“you know, I’ve always wanted to go tiger spotting on an elephant, like they do in Nepal”). And when the client reveals their inner-most thoughts, their expectations from you include ‘understanding’, ‘empathy’, ‘positive shock’, ‘’proactive amusement’, ‘wow’ and acknowledgement that their idea is ‘fantastic’ and most likely, absolutely do-able. It is a truism that in order to sell a hiking trip, you don’t necessarily have to be a hiker, any more than you have to be a birder to sell a bird watching package to Panama or Costa Rica. But, quite frankly, it helps! Travel Consultants who try, experiment, test the waters, throw caution to the wind, think out of the box, embrace the extraordinary and make an effort to tap into their inner explorer, are better positioned to engage with consumers, and in today’s travel market place, it’s the engagement that is key to establishing relationships, sales, referrals, testimonials and revenue. For years we heard about Customer Relationship Management (CRM)—that is to say, how to ‘manage’ customers. In a sense, although the management includes personal questions, listing birthdays and anniversaries and travel preferences, the concept of ‘managing’ customers is akin to commoditizing them. It creates a 'me and you' division. I am the one who’s managing. You are the one being managed.
  36. 36. A new way of looking at consumers is through Customer Relationship Engagement (CRE) where the commoditizing barriers are brought down and the relationship with the client constitutes the difference between a one-time business transaction and a client-for-life mentality. And again, part of this ‘engagement’ is the determination of the travel consultant to do, experience, interact, go further, respond to the ‘what else’ that travel is all about. Every travel consultant has taken a fam trip to a beach resort. Most ask about the free time they might enjoy to lie on the beach and sip cocktails, so they can tell their clients all about it. And there is nothing wrong with this. Except that in a world where clients engage in travel multi- tasking (TMT)—what appears to be a simple beach holiday may include water activities, wandering down the beach, grabbing a bite at a local beach hut restaurant, buying wood carvings, getting their hair braided, taking a nature trail, visiting a local town or attraction, finding a waterfall, climbing a mountain, learning about local culture and traditions, visiting the local school to donate pens or a soccer ball etc. And this is all in addition to activities that build future business, such as meeting the wedding planner at the resort, talking with the birding staff, wandering through the rice paddies, finding a colourful boat with an equally colourful captain for that lake or river excursion, and more. The key is to do it! Tapping into the travel intangibles Whether you are on a personal trip or a fam trip or a business trip, you have to continually challenge yourself to respond to your current and future customer profiles. And by future we are looking ahead to Generation Z—those who are currently 18 years of age and younger, and constitute the new travel cohort. Does the hotel or resort have Wifi? Don’t know anything about Wifi? Then you need to get up to speed! What apps and devices do travellers use? Find out and also discover any limitations to their use at the destination. Your inner explorer goes beyond exploring the physical. Gee, even UNESCO has an intangible world heritage category (songs, dances, tastes, costumes). As a travel consultant you have to have some knowledge of the travel intangibles (how do they want to communicate, how can their feelings of comfort, safety, escapism, adventure, individuality be satisfied, etc.) The ultimate goal of all your ‘tapping into’ and ‘discovering intangibles’ is the provision of value. I’ve used this example many times where my colleague David Lowy of Renshaw Travel in Vancouver says “Price is only an issue in the absence of value”. If you’re providing value by matching your experiences and interests with those of your clients—by engaging your clients— then dickering over price differentials between what you are offering and what the competition is offering, rarely comes into play. To use a FIFA analogy. I was in Seoul during the end of the 2002 FIFA matches where the Reds were set to play Germany for 3rd place. The entire city (or so it seemed) came to the city centre wearing T-shirts that said “Be the Reds”. In other words, it wasn’t just good enough to support, or cheer or wish that the South Korean team would win. You had to become a member of the team in heart, spirit and soul. You had to feel the team; become part of them. So it is with travel in the 21st century. You need to Be the experience, Be the niche, Be the traveller, Be the global community and Be the travel consultant. Tapping into your inner explorer comes with some pretty hefty career commitments. The result is a positive stream of consumers and revenue. Are you up for it? 
  37. 37. Do your suppliers know How to Sell their own products? There’s always that assumption that someone representing a brand knows everything there is about selling it too. This is called the halo effect. The halo effect is a cognitive bias in which an observer's overall impression of a person influences the observer's feelings and thoughts about that person's character. Because a BDM looks sharp and walks with confidence does not mean they know how to sell their brand. The only way to find out then, is to ask them and I don’t mean ask “Do you know how to sell your own products?” I mean ask your BDM to show you, keyword: show, demonstrate how. The reason for pinning them down is that they work with anywhere from 50 to 200 agency accounts and they know what’s working in your community and what’s not. They cannot tell you who is doing what, but they can give you a basic idea of what’s working. Naturally anything that’s been told to them in confidence they cannot relate to you. But a simple comment such as “You should try selling out of… it seems to be very attractive right now.” is something they can pass on.
  38. 38. “YOU SHOULD GO FOR MORE GROUPS!” You’ve heard that one before I know. Whenever a BDM says this to you in the monthly meeting I want you to eyeball your BDM and ask them to demonstrate how. Once again keywords – demonstrate how. You want your BMD to literally take you through their sales and marketing process that they know about and have personally done AND made money. Now don’t settle for the WHAT. Anyone can present the WHAT. You are chasing the HOW.  Send a flyer is a WHAT.  Call up your clients is a WHAT.  Post something to Facebook, is a WHAT.  Hold a consumer night is a WHAT. You see there are plenty of WHATs and very few HOWs. Selling travel for a living is all about the How- To and that’s why the push to find out. For that flyer you want to know what the heading should be, the text in terms of the kind of writing that lures the consumer in to read more. What about the call-to-action, how should that read? Which ones actually work? Call up your clients and say what? How should you start the conversation? What are the words you should use? Then role play with your BDM – you be the client and test your BDMs mettle on the hot seat. You want to see them in action and learn from them. If they shy away from this you know your BDM does not know how to sell their brand. With the current focus on all things spam you’ll need your BDM to start delivering the best of their knowledge on how to attract new clients and or existing clients to inquire about their next trip. What you want to know then, is HOW your BDM would go about luring new customers to at least view your offers and their products. What’s the hook and HOW is it used? Ask your BDMs to keep you apprised of any new ideas that’s circulating the local travel trade and even what some travel agents overseas are doing to sell their products. You can learn a great deal by having this information shared with you. NEXT: Invite yourself to your BDMs head office and request a customized training program with their marketing department. Find out HOW the HQ team go about promoting their own brand and products and then you’ll return reborn and ready to go sell like the pros. 
  39. 39. The title of a classic book. A small book actually. Printed in 1974 I bought it in 1987. I keep it close and often refer to it as it keeps me on track and has such wonderful insight to share with others. Here’s a few lines from the introduction by the author David Campbell: Unless you know what you want from life you are not likely to stumble across it. How do you know what you want? I have learned that what most people want out of life, more than anything else is the opportunity to make choices. The worst possible life is a life without choices, a life barren of hope of new things, a life of blind alleys. In contrast, the most pleasant life is the life with the most opportunities. There is a German saying as quoted here: You have to take life as it happens, but you should try to make it happen the way you want to take it. Now we can apply this title and the introduction and the proverb to your travel career. The travel industry, if you haven’t yet found out, has more than its share of blind alleys. Unless you know, you don’t know and that means a loss of time, energy and money as you fumble around in the darkness looking for direction. If you want to truly tap into the business of selling travel then, you must sit down and sketch out a plan, a selling travel career plan that is factual and doable, by you. This “you” will have certain skills we wouldn’t know about, this “you” would also lack certain skills we don’t know about. Same with your personality. You'll need to truly discover what it is you want from selling travel and make sure you have the personality and skills to make is all happen. Or, as the title says, you will be ending up somewhere or some place else. Within the travel industry you have many options and huge potential. Every form of travel and every destination is a niche market waiting to happen. The world itself is in a stage of upheaval. Wars, weather and 50 million people migrating as refugees does not make for a planet worth selling at times – however, I can tell you that leisure travel has never stopped other than during both world wars. The key to your journey and knowing where you are going to end up is to plan your direction based on personality, skill sets, your knowledge of specific places and travel styles and how much money you have in your marketing fund. If sales are not happening, then you need to revamp your formula and current direction. If sales are off then you are “somewhere else” and not where you should be. Take on the German saying above and instill it into your plan. Create the choices you desire by design, not accident. Read the book – you’ll enjoy it, too. 
  40. 40. (Radio Frequency IDentification) It’s this little fella that’s causing the problems. That’s the RFID symbol and that’s the end of your credit card you wave over the hand held terminal and bingo bango there goes your cash. If you are not careful, at the same time there goes all your personal information stored on the chip in your card. The reason for that is some nasty person is patrolling about near you with a scanner in hand to, and from a distance, retrieve your data. Warm yourself to your clients by advising them on this issue and potential for ID theft. Not what they want when travelling. What your clients need is an RFID wallet, handbag and or luggage. If your clients only have one credit card with that symbol on it then they should purchase a set of single holders and slide the “offending” card in and place back in their wallet / purse. The protective sleeve has an aluminium lining (same in the RFID wallets) and this is what prevents the scanning. The cost of those sleeves is very low. About $2 each and so here’s a great way to attract your clients or new prospects, by offering them as an opt-in reward. Not a bad return for opting in.  Someone can grab your data right off your card!
  41. 41. IT’S IN PRODUCTION! The hard-hitting, no nonsense, no fluff content will cause you to re-think how you sell travel today and in the coming years. The world of selling travel has changed in so many ways, offering a whole new set of marketing tools, new travelling generations, communication tools, trends, places to visit and things to do. The required skills and competencies for success have changed too. The backdrop to your success has also changed – it is not the peaceful planet everyone expected. Dream Merchants will help you keep the selling travel dream alive despite civil wars, extreme weather and terrorism. Veteran of the trade or newcomer, supplier or NGO, you owe it to yourself to read this insightful book. Published in eBook format to support Green Knowledge. Watch for the publication announcement. Be first to hear – opt-in to The Travel Agent’s Store today.
  42. 42. DREAM MERCHANTS™ As the other page shouts, it’s in production! Finally. Books take time to write and especially the type of book that delivers the how-to behind the what-to-do that everyone else tells you to do. The focus of Dream Merchants™ is to help both newcomers to selling travel start their career the right way and at the same time offer travel trade veterans and travel schools a new approach to selling travel in the coming years. Additionally the content will also support the efforts of travel trade suppliers who work closely with travel agents. Unlike other books on the topic of selling travel this one is hard core and pulls no punches in what it takes to be considered a travel trade professional, a Dream Merchant.™ The opening chapters explore the current world wide situation and state of affairs which, in a nutshell are reducing places to visit. Existing upheaval in many countries and the potential for civil war is huge. Weather patterns have changed dramatically. The seasons we know and sell have moved. The planet is in turmoil in more ways than one, yet, travel is still high on the list of those that can afford it. Additionally, the travel trade faces even more challenges and this time from within as each country creates its own anti-spam legislation with Canada’s CASL being touted as the toughest in the world. Guaranteed to kill off many small travel businesses as genuine spammers, who don’t play fair, simply carry on spamming as usual. How does a newcomer to selling travel even build a clientele if they can no longer (in Canada) reach out and e-touch? How do you keep the dream alive for yourself and your clients? How do you keep the passion for travel moving onwards and upwards and how do you remain the DREAM MERCHANT™ in your community? Read Dream Merchants™ and you’ll be taken through a rigorous course of study and self- analysis. You may or may not like what you find out – however follow the advice and you’ll survive. Young people entering the industry will be, during their career, selling to four generations ranging from BBs, Gen X, Y and Z. Social media use will change from generation to generation. A knowledge of travel apps and how they work is now crucial. Being able to communicate using Emoji is a new marketing must know skill when targeting Gen Z. Using a tablet app instead of a white flag when guiding a tour, is now a must do. Video will be the best format for marketing travel across all 5 screens. Knowing how to create and produce a 3 minute powerful travel feature is also a must know. Being camera presentable is one more skill to learn. I also explore the true meaning of over used words such as professional, passion and engagement to present the reality of selling travel going forward during the next five years. There you have it. A brief overview of Dream Merchants™ - a must read for the travel agent wishing to grow their business in a way that will work with and around the global challenges happening now and the challenges to happen in the coming years.  Send an email request and be first to secure a copy when Dream Merchants™ is published.
  43. 43. Why do “they” make these apps that are so wonderful to play with… that we play with them? And then play some more. It can become addictive that’s for sure and so at some point it’s down to quit snapping those sky shots, open RAYS, apply the app, edit your image and save. Then as before use your creation to win some eyeballs. As you can see above I’ve shot a sunset scene and then using the RAYS app, caused some rays to shoot out of the sunset area across the scene. So easy to do. Now you can tie your creation into the promotion of let’s go for Faith Based Travel. You might even superimpose a crucifix in the middle of the shot, or to the left. You can add the title of your faith based tour across the top. This image would also support someone’s Personal Journey and we all have them. Some travel agents have created a niche for the Personal Journeys of others. The message is: Know your Apps. Learn to use your own photography whether you are using a DSLR or smartphone. Apply the apps and then focus on how you can use your very own creations to attract the hearts and minds and of course wallets of new customers for you. 
  44. 44. The Photo Page PHOTO APP: RAYS Taken with an iPhone 5 Steve Crowhurst Steve Crowhurst ©Steve Crowhurst Photo taken from my deck using an iPhone 5. Then opening RAYS, browsing the Camera Roll to find and select an image – then you play with the editing features. A little fuzzy but offers interesting image opportunities and more if you also add a slogan tied into the ray of sunshine. Let us put a ray of sunshine in your travels this year…
  45. 45. Photographer James Morgan decided to create something a bit special to mark the Queen Mary 2’s 10th anniversary. Captain Kevin Oprey stands on the bulbous bow of the Queen Mary 2 off the coast of Bali in photographs taken to mark the ocean liner's tenth anniversary in May. Read more. Be sure to use the sharing tools when you locate the video.
  46. 46. Creating Something a Bit Special… Travel, travelling, every country, city and place in the world offers all things special if you know how to spot them, write about them, photograph and video them. These are the elements of producing such wonderful content as photographer James Morgan produced for Cunard. In the present day world of marketing travel the photograph and the video are taking precedence. It is the use of these two elements that you must strive to develop in terms of “seeing” the final production supported by your call-to-action statements and excellent writing. I subscribe to the websites The Travel Writer’s Life and The Photographers Life and they offer excellent information, tips and tools and many more techniques. Not only that they also offer training sessions, workshops and many of those on location. What I learn is how things have changed related to what image attracted “then” and the type of imagery that’s appealing today. Of course what you produce will be decided by your target audience and how they live their lives and how they like to travel. Your travel images today might include someone holding an iPad as they stand atop that mountain peak. I know it sounds crazy to a mountaineering professional who climbs because it’s there – but the younger generation of weekend climbers want to share their peak experience and zip zap a Selfie out to their pals. Hence the iPad. Also of interest is the new flat image. Literally images that look flat. Nothing in shadow, no bevels. The flat image / icon is the new way to go. See below left. Another website I subscribe to is Graphics Fuel and once you subscribe there you will receive a series of emails with free graphics to download. Not all will appeal to you, however most are worth saving as they will in time become useful. You will need a program such as Photoshop Elements 12 to make changes to the images that can be customized. Creating something special will require you to consider your audience, your best-selling trips and destinations. It’s worth an afternoon visit to your local magazine vendor and a few hours sifting through those hard copy mag’s to check out the type of graphics being used and what’s “playing” in terms of imagery. Next, go online to magazine websites like Issuu and explore the digital magazine and check whether or not the layout, wording, images are different to the print copy. Right. Over to you. Start looking for those classic shots. Research for the top 10 travel images. Read ALL travel magazines. Make notes. Create a story that tells and sells. 
  47. 47. The QR Code is not dead as announced in more than a few digital marketing posts. In fact the QR Code fits nicely into a travel agency’s marketing plan and the best thing is, it can be FREE. That’s right. There are websites that will create a QR code for you at no cost. Once you have your QR created then the question is what do you do with it to generate new bookings? To work that out, you’ll need to think about what your QR Code is meant to do for your agency. For your purposes, a QR Code should cause someone walking towards you, behind you, looking at your agency window or at a brochure you’ve left on a park bench to be curious. Using their smartphone to scan the code the scannee will be transported to view glorious imagery of a destination you are promoting. Here’s how the back of your t-shirt printed with your large QR code might look to someone walking behind you. Make it easy for them to scan it and you do that by giving them permission to scan. Just add these words above the QR image: SCAN ME! Then below the QR image you could print a marketing term, a slogan, another call to action or lure to push the viewer to scan… Sizing and placement are important, also colouring. Make your design as interesting as possible to encourage that scan and “trip” to your website at the very least. At the very most, after the scan, there could be an Enter to Win offer, or a BOOK NOW and SAVE offer. Use those supplier discounts to sell. Don’t forget your QR code will be scanned by someone using a mobile phone. This means they will be viewing your website or offer on their smartphone and that in turn means your website should have a mobile version. If not, your website will not look so good on that smartphone screen. Right, over to you. Check online for some very interesting and quirky QR code designs. They range from artistic to using your own face, or photo, logo. Tap into the QR code – it still works. Try it.  SCAN ME! AND WIN!
  48. 48. Social Media Is Your Friend! In this column we will explore social media as a channel for home based travel agents to reach and keep in touch with their customers. The first thing it is important to stress, is that social media will NOT reach all your customers…we all know the diehard “I will never be on Facebook” people and many more who wouldn’t have a clue how to tweet. Never mind Pinterest, Reddit, Instagram and many, many more that many people have never heard of. And yet the younger generation relies heavily on social media…and so do some of their parents. You can’t afford to ignore this channel…and what’s more, it’s essentially free. Now if this is sending you into a mild panic, relax! Many host agencies have addressed social media as part of their marketing programs. You will hear the word tossed about a lot. But some offer far more comprehensive social media marketing tools and technology than others, so when you are looking for a host agency, be sure to really explore how they will help you reach your clients and potential clients using social media. And, most important, ask what the cost is for the templates and technology to do so. First you will need your own website, and then ask your host agency if they can provide you the ability to post messages to a lot of social media sites simultaneously. Do they provide templates for the social media sites? How easy is it to create your message or flyer? Are there social media-appropriate messages for you to adapt as your own? Social media messages need to be short, to the point, funny, clever or poignant, and need to attract attention. Does your host agency help you with this? Social media is not the place for hard sell, so you will need to tailor your messages to fit the medium. Instead of “Punta Cana hotel & flight $599” you will want something more along the lines of “Office getting you down? We can have you on the beach next week for $599 #bestagentever”” You get the idea…..the key is to ask all the right questions of your host agency so you can tap into this amazing marketing tool.  Brought to you by The Travel Agent Next Door By Jill Wykes
  49. 49. When I am in buying mode or have interaction with sales and service people I tend to step outside the transaction and look back on it from all angles. It is a learning curve for me and I bring what I observe into the training workshops I deliver. I will even suffer terrible service so that I can learn from the situation and train around it. So, how does a travel seller deliver customer service excellence? The answer to this is to study the Perfect Norm. From Great to Normal One topic that keeps coming up is the level of service that is considered excellent when actually, excellence is simply the operating level of the Perfect Norm. First of all you have to understand that there is no 110 per cent. There is no “extra mile” to go to. There is only service. Delivered, handled, presented and offered in a manner that is refined, elegant and thoughtful, engaging, articulate, proffered by a well- groomed, pleasant individual who is high on common sense, interested in what they are doing, happy in the career they have chosen and who maintains product knowledge excellence. There is no extra mile! If you’re not delivering 100% then you are not delivering service excellence. The Scale of Service The role of the travel seller is to solve the problem(s) – not add to them. Many of these problems are actually wonderful, interactive experiences – the client wants a world cruise and the travel agent of record has to find one that matches. Nice problem to have and to solve. If Normal equates to what others call “Excellence” then where on the scale would you place the words, “Yeah?” or the handing over of five brochures followed by “... take these away and read them...”? Do these actions even make the scale? No, they don’t. The Enjoyable Experience The service level we are addressing, the Perfect Norm, delivers an enjoyable shopping experience for both the client and the travel seller. It would consist of upbeat banter, fun, humour, knowledge, discussion, what-ifs, can dos and can’t dos, best and worst, too much and not enough. Finally both parties have reached the level of the personalized sale. The customer feels they were the only client being serviced, they feel great having done business with “you” and they leave feeling like a million bucks. Look, Tone, Words The shopping experience starts when the client first eyeballs you from across the room, office, hotel lobby or wherever you sell from. As you know, visual acceptance represents 55 per cent of a customer’s intention to buy. If you are having a bad hair day, look like the night before or just couldn’t be bothered... you have helped the customer check out and go to another travel agent. Your tone of voice is the next factor as to whether or not a customer will proceed or come back to buy. Finally the words you use or don’t use will keep the customer at your side or scare them off. A customer asks, “What kind of cruises do you have?” A typical response might be: “The brochures are over there on the rack... help yourself.” Your Perfect Norm reply would be, “Well right now there are three very popular cruises... let me tell you about them and then we can discuss which one appeals to you..., let’s sit over here... coffee?”
  50. 50. The thing is, every travel agent preaches “We’ve got service!” Service happens not as a by- product of turning up, but as a focused effort to serve. As many veteran travel agents eventually learn, they actually serve two customers – the external customer representing clients, and the internal customer representing agency staff, suppliers, colleagues & fellow members. How you work with these individuals has a dynamic effect on the level of service the end customer receives from you. Creating a Service Path is not reserved for the ‘big guys’ – you too can benefit from this plan. It will help you establish how best to service both your internal and external customer. Let’s start you on the path to service excellence and the Perfect Norm. The Relay Race Metaphor In a relay race, the athletes are positioned in the race based on their individual talents and skills so that overall the team stands a better than average chance of winning. It is the same with your service plan. The agency team must come together to support the frontrunner – that would be you - so that the entire team wins. The exchange of the baton in a relay race is crucial to the team’s success. It is the same in the business world. If you do not set up that exchange as practiced hundreds of times (keyword: practice), the win, the sale, will not happen. Designing The Service Path Assuming you’ve got the right team supporting you, you sit down with pad and pen and start to discuss the interaction of each person/each job function and then you look at where each person interacts with you and decide on the level of response and helpfulness you need. Each interaction between agency staff and you is called an MOT – Moment of Truth. At this point of interaction you would demand 100-per cent respect for each other’s time, level of work, the person themselves; you would each commit 100 per cent in response to helping solve the other’s problem; and you would each be 100-per cent helpful in making sure the job is done. Now review each and every facet of your agency - from marketing, to reporting, website updating, ordering and stocking brochures and sharing of knowledge through scheduled internal training and weekly staff, sales and service meetings. The Perfect Norm Here are a few things to work on that will bring your service levels up to normal:  Accommodate customers with disabilities.  Always be well groomed.  Always follow up in a timely manner.  Always ask the client to opt-in.  Be accountable and efficient.  Be gracious and grateful.  Develop and use common sense.  Encourage conversation via W5  Hold eye contact, shake hands firmly.  Know what is and what isn’t.  Learn social & business etiquette.  Learn to articulate well.  Learn to ask the right questions  Learn to communicate all generations.  Learn to write well.  Mail out seasonal brochures immediately.  Make the shopping experience enjoyable.  Notice things.  Read.  Study products and services.  Study your industry The Perfect Norm in customer service is 100% - nothing less, nothing more. To go 110% means you were operating at 90% to begin with. To go the extra mile means you fluffed up somewhere along the line and fogged the mirror. ✈
  51. 51. NBG is a term I came up with some years ago as the very thing that I do for a living. Once I had a handle on what it is I actually do, then I could teach others how to tap into it and using their own creativity, sell more travel. The art of NBG – New Business Generation, is to be 100% focused on opportunity and that in turn means each one of your senses are highly tuned to see and sense when there is something ‘there’ that you can use to promote travel. Let me explain: We all have the same sensory tools. Some people tune into one or two, others less and some are firing on all cylinders. Those that know tell us we only use 10% of our brain. Imagine if we could tap into that other 90%! Sight and Seeing We receive most of our information through our eyes. The skill then is to determine what it is you are looking at and deciding there and then if there is an opportunity “here” to sell travel. What your eyes receive will be translated by that part of your brain that deals with visual and audio for instance. Then, based on the information already stored in your brain, together with the experiences already filed away – by tapping into these vaults of knowledge you can and will assess the current situation / information and then create the opportunity. Seeing Things Others Do Not The art of seeing things or sensing opportunities that your competition misses is usually based on your past experiences and or having an acute sense of survival. You might be the one that, when disaster strikes, instinctively heads to the safe area when others around you might stand still a moment too long. It’s the same in business and in selling travel. You must tap into those survival skills and most certainly use your eyes to capture and feed the information to your brain and then let it compute your next move once it has checked into the experience already stored. Reading about successful sales and marketing methods will help. Looking at layouts will help. Reviewing various posts about marketing outcomes will help. All of this information will be stored away and combined with your own experience to produce an answer. It’s at that moment you decide whether or not to follow through. The Eyes Have It Marketing to the sense most used by us humans, your clients and prospects makes, well, it makes sense! This means your marketing should be sight-worthy. By colour
  52. 52. and layout etc., it should capture the viewer’s attention and cause them to go to the next step and make the call. Keeping It Visual Focused on the printed word and the imagery behind it you will need to develop a good sense of colour and layout that is trending for all three generations currently in the client mix: Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. Out of the three generations as mentioned in previous articles, the Baby Boomer is still the generation with the time and money to travel. Both Generation X & Y are embarking on their early life adventures which includes all the things Baby Boomers have finished with such as marriage, kids, house, job, career etc. This does not mean you remove Gen X&Y from your marketing list – just don’t overlook the BBs as some industries are doing. Step One: Website Do you have a wall of text awaiting the next visitor to your website? If your home page full of text or like so many template host agency websites littered with many small buttons promoting so many things that none stand out? Look for a total revamp if the above reminds you of your website. What you want and need is EYE CANDY. You’ve heard this term before and it is what your website needs. Use your fabulous photos or request them from your suppliers and tourist boards. Place those images where they can sell for you. Add captions and call to actions such: “You could have taken this photograph! Call today to learn how.” Step Two: Blog Posts Blogging has moved on from text only. Now is the time to once again make good use of those photographs and even better, if you have the footage, go video. If you don’t have the footage, your suppliers do. Make the call and offer your readers something new. Inbound Marketing is Spam Compliant No matter where you live and sell travel the laws for preventing spam are causing havoc in some industries and more so with SMEs like most travel agencies. So what to do? With Steps one and two completed, thus giving your website visitors and blog readers something new to attract their call you can embark on an inbound marketing plan. Inbound marketing can be defined as attracting and earning attention organically versus in your spam style in your face marketing. Any one of the following actions fits the concept of inbound marketing and each is directed to where your prospect will go for their travel information. This is very important especially completing the best Search Engine Optimization for your website which means your website will show in the early results when someone searches for their special interest that you happen to specialize in. The result should cause someone to track you down, view your website, read what you wrote. Inbound marketing activities would include: 1. Blogging 2. E-books (you’ve authored) 3. Opt-In Email Lists 4. Pay Per Click 5. Press / Media Releases 6. Print Media 7. Public Relations 8. Public Speaking 9. Publicly Announced Consumer Events 10. SEO - Search Engine Optimization 11. Video 12. Viral Messages 13. Word of Mouth How many are you doing?
  53. 53. Outbound Marketing – Corporate Clients In opposition to Inbound Marketing is Outbound Marketing and in my searching around for how the travel industry or other industries are using outbound marketing I came across this infographic from the company – focused on real estate marketing. I’ve included their infographic and it is linked to their site. It speaks to travel agencies who target business clients. B2B versus B2C. In their research has found the trends in B2B marketing for 2014 is all about outbound - so make the click and visit their site to view the information. The definition of outbound marketing as they see it is: the traditional form of marketing where a company initiates the conversation and sends a message out to an audience and we can add whether want it or not. Cold calls and non-permission emails are in the mix, also flyers, brochures, print ads and more. Once again this is targeting B2B, not B2C. Think about the client base you currently serve and the one you would like to attract. Everything you do should now comply with your country’s anti-spam legislation and especially if they all start to emulate the new Canadian spam laws under CASL. At the moment US Can Spam laws are based on the client opting out versus opting in. Over to you. Tap into your NBG by deciding which marketing style best suites the ROI you have planned for. 
  54. 54. Are you stuck for something to say sometimes? How about something to write or use as a headline, or something to kick start your creative juices? Well here are three books for you to find online or on a bookshelf. Between the three of them you have a huge resource. The phrase & fable book is about 3 inches thick, the flip dictionary and the best things book about 2 inches each. So as you read you can work out at the same time! Reading this book, Daughters of Britannia, at the moment and its fascinating. I have an interest in adventure travel and those intrepid explorers who set off in small, very small ships without any idea of where they might end up after their maps showed a void. Back in the day most explorers where men but there were some women too who lived the explorers life. Any woman working in the travel trade should know her roots and study the women who travelled in Victorian times to those who fought alongside men centuries ago. In every era adventurous women made it happen as they do today. Back to my current read: the book is full of characters, it is funny, whimsical and tells a good story. You might think high society women couldn’t take it as they followed their ambassador husbands to their next post. They did and they did it in style. Books like this one that can give your confidence a boost and also light up your creativity. As an adventurous female travel agent, build yourself a decent library that you can draw on. The knowledge will in fact help boost your sales too. 
  55. 55. Here’s the best news. You already have EVERYTHING you need to sell more travel! How about that eh? It’s true. All you need to make more money is right there, and all around you. It’s in the travel box. The host box. The agency box. The Supplier box. THE BOX! No need to spend time and energy and money thinking OUTSIDE the box. That formula is old, done, and expensive and besides that you’ll miss and look past the tools you do have at your disposal. It’s human nature to want more. Want what someone else has got or do what they are doing and invariably missing what’s close to them. In this case it would be missing all the sales tools readily available to you – IF you knew they were there and IF you knew how to use them. Take a few minutes and work by yourself or a colleague and actually type out a list of all the sales tools you do have available to you. If in doubt check in with HQ and your BDMs and ask. There may well be some things you’ve missed or never heard of. Perhaps HQ thought you knew and didn’t follow up. All sorts of reasons as to why you may not have the full list. Now study that list and on a scale of 1 low -5 high, make a note as to your level of knowledge in using each sales tool. Once you’ve completed your checklist and review you are looking at your training plan for the week. Bring yourself up to speed on each and every sales tool and then factor them into your short, mid and long term sales and marketing plan. 
  56. 56. Every travel agent has one. If you don’t you can borrow the one that’s coming up. A good, and well planned sales process that keeps you on track. It’s something you can check against to make sure your activities are in sequence. Start Here There it is. Very easy to remember and if you follow this formula you will be well on track for both sales and referrals. Let’s review: 1. Information: make sure your content is current and accurate 2. Education: deliver webinars, host client events to educate your clients 3. Inspiration: send compelling imagery / videos, post to your blog 4. Reservation: ask for the booking 5. Anticipation: build departure momentum with follow up emails / images etc. 6. The Vacation: let your client enjoy their trip 7. Shareination: ask your clients to share their experience with you and their friends – build referrals.  SHAREINATION THE VACATION ANTICIPATION RESERVATION INSPIRATION EDUCATION INFORMATION
  57. 57. Enroll in The Travel Institute's Well-Being Travel Specialist course and receive a complimentary, one-year membership in Well-Being Travel. The online course is designed to show you how to boost sales by selling health, wellness and medical travel. By enrolling in the course, you'll:  Gain an understanding of the health and wellness travel market.  Discover the different types of spas and wellness products.  Learn key health and wellness terminology.  Understand related insurance issues.  Discover what procedures are most common with patient travelers.  Learn how to find and market to health and wellness and medical travel clients. The course includes interactive exercises, images, audio and graphics. A final test is available allowing you to earn the Well-Being Travel Specialist designation. CTAs, CTCs and CTIEs who complete this course will also earn 10 CEUs from The Travel Institute. Thanks to the course sponsors: Well-Being Travel, Companion Global Healthcare, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Healing Hotels of the World, Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and Greater Fort Lauderdale. Register today for $99 and receive your complimentary, one-year membership in Well-Being Travel. Price includes online course and test.
  58. 58. C L A S S I F I E D S Wanted: readers to click on this link and make money selling more travel. Animoto is the BEST and easiest DIY video creator. Try it today. When you need to write something and can’t – hire in a ghost writer like Steve Gillick. Steve produces scripts for your keynotes, webinars and brochures. Contact Steve here. Are you CASL compliant? Do you want to explore using an email service? If so then scan this QR code. Publishing soon. Get what you need to start using more video in your travel marketing & promotions. WANTED! DREAM MERCHANTS to complete a survey. Tell us about your passion for being a travel agent. Click here for information. Had enough of working for someone else? Would you like to explore how you can sell travel from home? If so then click on this link and explore. Your education station is right here. DIY Websites. This IS the Best of the Best. Where travel trade professionals shop for knowledge. THE HOW-TO MAGAZINE FOR TRAVEL TRADE PROFESSIONALS Home Based? Need sales and marketing ideas that relate to working from home? If so then click here and read IC Travel Agent.
  59. 59. A HOME FOR THE HOME BASED AGENTS Big Bark has all your print-marketing needs covered! 201 – 3011 Underhill Ave. Burnaby, BC V5A 3C2 BonVoyage BonVoyage THE HUNTINGTON GROUPHUNTINGTONThe agents choice since 1973 Thank you for choosing to travel with take pride in providing one-of-a-kind travel experiencesin Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. The majority of ourclients require a trip customized to their likes, interests andbudget.Whether you wish to travel in the lap of luxury or chooseto indulge in an authentic adventure (we call it ‘roughing-it’) wewill create a trip to suit your preferred tastes. In other words,we will give you a travel experience that goes beyond yourexpectations. Rest assured, is your perfecttraveling companion. Before You Travel:• Ensure that you are carrying your up-to-date passports and have obtainedany required/necessary tourist visasfor entering the country(s) you arevisiting. • You trip involves cancellation penalties in the unforeseen eventthat you cancel/postpone your travelarrangements. Ensure that you areaware of these penalties. • Carry your Out-of-Country Hospital/Medical/Travel InsurancePolicy with you. • Be aware of luggage restrictions such as weight, size and type of suitcasesallowed on the international anddomestic flights on your itinerary.Excess baggage charges are steepand can cause great inconvenience• Ensure you have obtained recommended or requiredinoculations. Certain inoculations are mandatory for travel to endemicareas. Your travel agent will have provided full details. • Check out the availability of local ATMs in your destination and/orpurchase some local currency ortravellers cheques. • Give family/friends the contact information at hotels/lodges youwill be staying during your travel.Information on your accommodationsis provided within your documents.• We recommend that you put your newspaper subscription on hold forthe duration of your trip and haveyour mail collected by a neighbour orheld at your local post office.• It is always recommended that you secure your home with a securityalarm before you leave. 0 Ridgeway Dr., Suite 17, Mississauga, ON Canada L5L 5M5 8.887.9710 | | www. BonvoYage THE HUNTINGTON GROUPHUNTINGTONThe agents choice since 1973 T: 905.857.6333 | TF: 1.866.607.1556 | THE TRAVEL AND TOURISM PRINTER FOR OVER 30 YEARS TOP 6 WAYS WE ARE DEDICATED TO THE HBA: 1. Easy to use, do-it-yourself, 24/7 online print-ordering store. 2. No design/setup fees – choose from our selection of pre-designed templates or Design Your Own. 3. Full use of our image gallery at no extra charge. 4. Travel related marketing products such as calendars and magnets plus all your standard business products – business cards, envelopes, letterhead, flyers, and more. 5. Wide selection of ticket packaging options for groups, weddings, and niches. 6. All products available in small quantities (some as low as 25).
  60. 60. Please share Selling Travel with your colleagues. Many thanks. The How-To Magazine for Travel Trade Professionals BE SURE TO VISIT THE STORE!