Selling Travel September 2013


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The Magazine of Marketing Tips, Tools & Techniques for Travel Agents

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Selling Travel September 2013

  1. 1. THE E-MAGAZINE THAT FOCUSES ON THE REALITY OF SELLING TRAVEL Keep those sales just a ZIPPIN’ along by going DEEP into your DATA. WHAT’S IN WORLD? Find out how to unzip something new & exciting to sell!
  2. 2. 3 EDITORIAL Publisher: SMP Training Co. Contributors Steve Crowhurst Steve Gillick Cory Andrichuk 4 IC TRAVEL AGENT MAGAZINE 6 WHAT’S IN YOUR WORLD? 8 EXPLORING NEW PLACES TO SELL 10 ENCOURAGING CLIENTS TO TAKE THEIR NEXT ADVENTURE 12 RADIUS SELLING 14 TRAVEL2JAPAN – A New Publication From Steve Gillick, TalkingTravel 15 CULINARY BLISS – By Steve Gillick 18 THE POWER OF TRAVEL AGENTS 20 TRAVEL AGENT IS THE NAME… 22 NEW TOOLS 23 THE ‘SKETCH YOUR WORLD’ PROMOTION 24 OLD MEDIA MARKETING 26 GOING DEEP INTO YOUR DATA 28 ROUGH LUXE, DELUXE, GLAMPING AND MORE 29 TRAVEL AGENT REVOLUTION 30 CTIE CERTIFIED TRAVEL INDUSTRY EXECUTIVE 31 CTRG 2013/14 CANADA TOURISM RESOURCE GUIDE 32 CLASSIFIEDS Selling Travel is owned and published by Steve Crowhurst, SMP Training Co. All Rights Reserved. Protected by International Copyright Law. Selling Travel can be shared, forwarded, cut and pasted but not sold, resold or in anyway monetized. Using any images or content from Selling Travel 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 or on the Selling Travel Website. T:250-738-0064. TABLE OF CONTENTS – ST SEPTEMBER 2013
  3. 3. EDITORIAL – September 2013 WHAT’S IN YOUR WORLD? As you may know, it is your job and role and responsibility to keep your clients tingling with excitement about where they can go next. It’s also your job, role and responsibility to search for new and exciting destinations that answer the call for your clients – each by one or the entire client collection on mass. In other words you need to know your clients one-by-one (targeted) and tease them with new and exciting places to visit and then repeat this performance targeting your entire client list (mass market). I hear you. Not an easy task. However, it has to be done. You must work out what’s in your world that fulfills the travel dreams of your clients. You’ve read this next bit before in my previous articles – and it focuses on asking each and every client what their dream trip is. Once you have, let’s say, 300 to 500 dream trips recorded against each of your active clients, this data is huge. It’s BIG. It’s decision making worthy and allows you to plan your dream trip initiative. So what is in your world? How big is YOUR world? Are you focused on a small part of the planet or are you all over the orb? Have you developed a destination niche or a travel type niche? Adventure has always been my world and Japan has always been my niche country and photography has aways been my travel activity. With those three elements I know what’s in my world. Did I mention cemeteries? No idea why, but I am drawn to them. Reading 16th century headstones or standing by the resting place of someone historically famous… fascinating. See, there’s more to the world than continual cruising or heading back to the same ole beach. Word to the wise, you may be handling the same ole beach trip, but someone else for sure is booking that grand adventure for your clients and the reason for that is simple… perhaps your world has not expanded as it should. You have the opportunity now to explore and discover and perhaps even surprise yourself as to all the new places you can send your clients. Be worthy of YOUR world and travel it as far as you can. Become Marco Polo and return to tell the stories you have witnessed – then sell like there’s no tomorrow! Here’s to a very successful month. All the BEST! Steve Crowhurst, CTC Publisher and New Business Generator 250-738-0064 September Issue You can find it HERE.
  5. 5. It’s NEW! Watch for it in October 2013 IC TRAVEL AGENT focuses on the business needs of travel agents working from home delivering monthly ideas, tips, tools and techniques to increase sales with updates on host agencies and articles from successful ICs, too. SMP Publications are always innovative so look for the Quick Clip video training pages.
  6. 6. Alright. You have 50 people sitting in front of you, some hanging out at the back in the last row of seats as humans tend to do in such a meeting. You’ll be using all your skills to entice them forward as you want them in the front row and you want their undivided attention. When you have herded your attendees to the front, you can now introduce yourself, and tell your audience what you are going to tell them, then tell them and then wrap it up with a quick review of what you told them. Then what? Then you shout, “Who is brave enough to come with me?” Do you have something new and exciting to talk about? If not, this will be a sad presentation. If you have been living the life you are mean’t to be living then you would have explored new places and with that knowledge return home to sell them to your clients. This is one major role of a travel agent and if you are new to the industry, learn it now. You must invest in your own travels and explorations and this in turn gives you something NEW to market. So again the question: What’s In Your World? I’m looking for something beyond the beach – unless that beach is along a coast that is not overrun with hamburger noshing tourists. “What have you got for us?” your clients are asking.
  7. 7. The world of travel as we know it is getting smaller each and every day. Not so much caused by global warming but more by global warring. It seems, and sadly so, that as a human race, we have not yet understood what world peace is all about and that reduces the places you can book your clients to for a marvellous vacation. Outside of the warring areas is where you can concentrate your attention and do your due diligence in terms of looking for new and exciting places to visit, adventures to experience and opportunities to explore. The map shown above can be viewed at the link below it. You can clearly see that YOUR world is having a bit of a challenge in the war department. Take another look and make a note of the space, the territory that is not involved in a war or skirmish of some kind. Review your list and think about the areas that are peaceful that you would like in your world and start developing your plans for self-study, followed by a visit and then generate your marketing plan to bring your chosen area to life for your clients. You might want to tie this study into what it is your clients want to do this year and where they want to go to do it. This also applies to their dream trip as and when they have the time and money to fulfil this life event – chances are they have more than one dream trip pending. Lucky you! Much of the time, your next and best, new and exciting destination is most often tucked away in a remote corner of the country you already sell. Or, it might be a type of travel that you might never have thought of that could be enjoyed in this or that location. As you decipher your client’s dream trips and their desire for new adventures, you may consider creating a list of expert tour guides who will guide your clients around a city, country or area, based on the guide’s expertise and personal interest. In Prague, my wife and I were lucky enough to be guided by someone who loved books and art and so we visited the book stores and print shops he enjoyed. I use the word ‘lucky’ however we did request a guide with the same interests as ourselves – but then you can always be fooled. Not so in this case. We lucked out. When you read the facts, stats and studies on who wants to go where – you will often find that the Baby Boomers that are still travelling are looking for an adventure in the truest sense of the word. They want to be thrilled. Younger generations, as they should, are looking for that beach vacation and to meet their own age group. Then somewhere in the mix are those clients who will do anything and go anywhere as long as it is most definitely new. The question returns: What’s in YOUR World? You are the leader of the band. You should be out in the world bringing home those new discoveries to promote to your clients. So what have you got for me? Where are we going next? What’s driving the need for something new and exciting in yourself? As a client, I’m looking to you, my leader. 
  8. 8. To carry on from What’s In Your World? – let’s now explore how you might explore the world and visit new places to sell to your clients. Typically travel agency owners and managers and in some cases frontline counsellors will go on a discovery tour to check out new destinations. They take time to review them in their own time and then return to the office to discuss their findings. How the new destination could be marketed is explored. Then training dates set for each of the agency team and over a few months each counsellor is to visit the new and very important destination. Present day, there does not seem to be too much interest in exploring new places as mentioned above. If your competition have become tired, and disinterested in delivering new and exciting places to visit to their clients, then this suggests a huge opportunity for you. This same opportunity is there for you too if you are an IC and manage your own working hours. When you undertake these exploratory journeys promote the fact. You are indeed out there, looking, searching and bringing home the latest information, images etc., of a certain destination. Your delivery, your content is first hand. Hot off the press and so on. Just what the consumer is looking for – you were there. You tested it. You liked it and now you will take me there. It’s Always Close Believe it or not, many new and exciting places are only a few miles up the road, across the pond, on the next island, or just across the border to the well-known places you sell day-in and day-out. Take any group of islands. There is always a main island, then, out of the other 300 or 3,000 islands in the chain, there’s one or two that are gems and yet to be truly overrun with tourists. This is a find. Let’s zip to Europe. Choose a spot. Okay we go for Poland. You could offer the major cities once again, but then, as always, with a little more exploration you find an area, a village, a place, scenery that has not yet made the tourist map. Another find. Let’s keep looking…
  9. 9. Cruise Blues How many more stuffed buffet bellies can a client look at? OMG… offer them something new and exciting here too and what you are looking for might just be on the next dock. Take a look at the smaller vessels. Check out the adventure based ships. Study up on small boats and canal boats – and in all of this, look for cruising action in untapped areas of the world. New Place or New Activity? As you may know, there are no new places on the planet. They have been here for more than a few thousand years, it’s just that you- me-we have not yet had the pleasure of visiting them. Life gets in the way of these explorations, so you’ll need to plan the trip. Some countries have split up, changed their names (and even disappeared); you could count each change as a new place, however in real time, new name – old country. So what about a new activity then? Same place, but a new way of looking at it. A new side of that same place. Could you go up as in climb a mountain? Could you go down as in caving? Are there luxury accommodations in wilderness areas for your Glamping clients? Can you go with more a culinary based view of the area, or religious tours, could volcano tourism be just the thing you are looking for? Go With Your Niche Best to figure out what you like first. Find out which countries crank your lightbulb to full glare and go from there. Decide which places really do turn on your inner traveller and then review how well you know this place and finally work on your marketing plan to plot how you will take your new found place or activity to market. It’s time to pack that wheelie luggage of yours, pack the camera and laptop and head out. Be sure to arrange your visits through the tourism offices of the countries you intend to explore. If they understand this is a scouting trip versus vacation you may well receive additional help and introductions to people who can help you along the way. Now, what’s your plan for new places?  Hey, ya never know!
  10. 10. Image courtesy of Idea go at
  11. 11. Here’s the thing. If you want to encourage your clients to take off once more you’d better be doing it yourself and be back with the news. That’s what this issue is all about. Unzipping your world to find out what’s out there, then go there and come back from there to tell your clients about your new find. The key word, ‘encouraging’ does not mean or translate as bothering or pestering. It means keeping updated and informed and using excellent slogans to entice, suggest, nudge and overall help each client fulfill on their desire to travel. The world is currently topsy-turvy as you know. Not as safe as we’d all want and wondering why we just cannot seem to get along as well as we should. This has an impact on your client’s state of travel-mind. So it’s up to you to pitch the good news. Choose colourful and cheerful font’s, and images and show not only gorgeous landscapes for instance, but with someone in them, “like YOU” who is obviously enjoying their travel moment. Very important to show, and suggest and then as I say be clever with the wording and slogans to attract, tease, tell and sell. It’s the old bucket list thing. Although that phrase has been done to death by now, many people as in your clients, still use the concept of generating a travel list to complete before they head off into the sunset. Knowing this you can include the words bucket list in your next adventure promotion. It has meaning and it will resonate with the baby boomer generation, especially those in their later years. So here’s what you do: 1. Create an adventure poster for your agency window. 2. Add a “Where to Next?” slogan at the top of your email message – not the bottom, the top. It will be read by 99% of the people who receive an email from you. 3. Add a digital version of that poster to your website page. 4. Wear your “Where to NEXT?” slogan on your t-shirt, ball cap and sweatshirt or add a button to your clothing that asks, “Where to NEXT?” Your slogan question will prompt a conversation. Once you’re in that conversation you can start to ask questions such as: “So tell me, where have you always wanted to go…?” – and then, as you well know, you shut up. You allow your client to talk, to ramble on, to dream and when they are in that space, you know they are encouraging themselves to go on their own next adventure. Keep it low key, keep it subtle and you will encourage your clients to take off once more.  “I love to sail forbidden seas and land on barbarous coasts” Herman Melville (1819-1991)
  12. 12. Here’s something you need to factor into your selling travel activities and marketing plan. It’s got to do with your selling radius. In other words where you can effectively sell travel in real time not hope time. Hope time is based on passive marketing and advertising – which as you know, is NOT selling. Your selling radius then is very important and once decided and acknowledged will save you wasted time and effort. Now… the typical selling radius is 5 miles around where your agency is located. You can map that out and then you’ll know the territory your radius includes. Next… here’s where you use your in-house data to create your TRUE selling radius. Using your CRM program, or, if you don’t have one / use one, then it’s all down to pen and paper. The activity here is to identify the postal code of every client on your mailing list, and then highlight the clients who have booked with you this year. Your selling radius is more likely to be a rather distorted and wandering line – it will however map out the territory you can refer to as your selling radius. Once… you have completed this activity you’ll need to study your map and be guided by it. What you are looking at and especially if your map is ‘over time’ which means you have mapped out, let’s say 5 years-worth of postal codes, then this territory is your generic marketing reach. This is your area you sell to. The Social Selling Radius Here comes the challenge. Like all travel agents you want in on the social media marketing action and as well you should. Or should you? Can you actually service a client in Miami who wants to go to the Caribbean? Could you advise a Japanese couple who wish to visit New York or see the Aurora Borealis? The answer is you could, but not well. Plus, you should be more focused on your generic clients that are within your local selling radius. Did I mention your theoretical agency was located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada? It’s important to know where your clients live and how far your sales reach actually is.
  13. 13. Your social selling radius is of course world-wide and it’s here that so much time and effort can go to waste. When you market your agency and yourself socially as in across all social media platforms, a large amount of your marketing seeds will fall on stony ground. The recipient of your social media marketing is outside your real time selling radius. They cannot and they won’t be buying from you. SOCIAL SELLING RADIUS OUTCOMES GENERIC SELLING RADIUS OUTCOMES Your mass marketing social selling radius activity will win you one or two perhaps ten bookings for your efforts. Your targeted generic selling radius activity will deliver more bookings and for the simple reason that you are on-location. The Social Selling Radius Opportunity however is large if you have a dedicated niche market; you operate a dedicated website that is updated each day every day; your social media activity is constant; the content absolutely well timed, top quality and you make excellent use of cutting edge technology - AND you have a support team to counsel, sell, convert and close your socially connected clients. The Inbound Social Selling Radius is another matter. What if your outbound promotions where selling inbound tours into your country, county, territory, state, town, city or village? Then you would require a different business model, but hey, this is where more money can be made. Check with your local tourism office and explore how you can be a crucial sales outlet for inbound programs. Expand your global selling radius though social media. Expand your local selling radius through local store marketing.
  14. 14. Travel2Japan! Enhancing the Value and Joy of Discovery Summer, 2013 In this issue: A few of my favourite things Culinary Bliss Hellbent for Adventure: Jigokudani Making the Right Accommodation Yamaguchi: The Entrance to the Mountain Forest Travel2Japan is a Publication
  15. 15. Popular dictionary definitions of ‘bliss’ include words such as happiness, joy and contentment. We know that travellers with specific interests (niches) enjoy a kind of personal bliss when they have an opportunity to engage in their passion, whether it’s bird watching, shopping, climbing a mountain or lazing on a white sand beach. Culinary Bliss has its own special connotation ‘Culinary’ refers to food and drink. The presence in our daily lives of Food TV, cooking shows, celebrity chefs and restaurant reviews has enhanced the awareness of local and international cuisine, so much so that culinary tourism is now one of the largest niche markets. People are travelling specifically for the food experience and/or the drink experience. And in this context the world is an open book for the curious traveller, who is only limited by their own sense of throwing caution to the wind, experimentation, trying something new, and acquiring food ‘bragging rights’ (e.g. I ate ants in Colombia). Of course the other side of this relates to the traveller who wishes to try the local food in order to acquire a better understanding of the people and the culture and the ‘taste’ of the destination. ‘Bliss’ in culinary travel translates as the full utilization of the 5 senses: sight, touch, smell, taste, hearing, as well as 2 other senses. The 6th sense is exactly that: the 6th sense-consisting of that tingling sensation; that little voice in the back of your head that advises you NOT to do something; that nagging doubt that what you are about to do may not be in your best interest (e.g. drinking your 5th cup of Tuak (a home- brewed alcoholic beverage) in the Iban Village in Borneo). And the 7th sense in attaining culinary ‘bliss’ is the sense of humour. Having fun with your freedom to do what you want, or doing the opposite of what your parents would advise you to do, or just doing something for the sake of doing it. For me, I think of the time that I was alone in a Beijing restaurant, where no one spoke English and I don’t speak Mandarin. In order to order the chicken and rice dish that I wanted, I resorted to imitating a chicken and then imitating the act of eating rice out of a bowl with chopsticks. The server got the message right away and broke into a laugh and a smile—and then so too did the entire restaurant. Culinary tourism can involve any destination in the entire world, and even if they don’t serve their own unique local speciality, they will certainly have their own version of someone else’s specialty. I think of our night in Kandy, Sri Lanka, where it seems that every restaurant in the city was closed, except for an international pizza chain Guest article by Steve Gillick, Talking Travel
  16. 16. restaurant near our hotel. We ordered the pizza but figured that we should at least add some local flavour—so we had Tandoori Pizza. It tasted like spicy cardboard but at least it was unique to the location. Here are a few of my more memorable culinary experiences: Tibet: Sitting in Barkhor Square in Lhasa, Tibet we ordered Yak Burgers for lunch. The rich taste was similar to a regular hamburger but, as Yaks are the main work animal in Tibet, we felt that this was more meaningful and memorable than a regular western dish. Mongolia: I arranged to spend the bulk of one of my days with a Mongolian family in their Yurt (Ger). The day before, in Ulan Bator I had been offered, and tasted mare’s milk (horse) which is a popular refreshment. Emboldened by the experience the next day one the sons from the family went into the woods with a rifle. I heard a shot and he walked back a few minutes later with a marmot (a large rodent). This was going to be our lunch. I had read that marmots are tasty, but they are also susceptible to bubonic plague so the thought of eating one can get your 6th sense ringing and buzzing. Nevertheless, the ‘chef’ took the marmot, cooked it using a blow torch, then broke it into small pieces for everyone to taste. And, needless to say, it tasted like chicken—a bit greasy but not too bad. It was a matter of respecting the family that had ‘honoured’ me with a fresh marmot lunch. Xian: One of the tour participants and I tried some famous Xian dumplings and then decided to go the distance by trying the other city specialty: mutton soup. We climbed the stairs to a restaurant, filled with locals, who paid very little attention to two tourists. We didn’t really have to say anything to the server, as the only dish offered in the restaurant was the soup. The waiter placed a basket of bread on the table along with two bowls and left…and we waited, and waited. After about fifteen minutes we started to eat the bread—which turned out to be a major faux pas. We received some tsks from the nearby patrons and one of them signaled for us to watch as he took a large piece of bread, broke it into tiny pieces, and put them in his bowl. Then the waiter picked up the bowl, poured the mutton broth in and returned the completed dish to the table. So we did the same, and the waiter came by almost immediately and returned with two large (actually huge) bowls of greasy mutton soup. My companion dove into the dish with gusto. I sampled from around the edges and while the soup was really good, I decided that a greasy lunch on an unbelievably hot day, with lots of activities still planned, would probably not be a good idea. I may have been right as my companion spent the rest of the day and night in his room; while I scampered up the pagodas, bought some souvenirs in the flea market and attended an evening cultural performance. Fugu: Shimonoseki City, Chugoku, Japan. Fugu is the dreaded poisonous puffer fish— at least to North Americans. In Japan, especially in the west, it is a fairly common dish most popularly served deep-fried (you can munch it for lunch), steamed, boiled (as part of a dish called ‘nabe’) or as sashimi, eaten with a sprig of green onion. My friend went to a market to buy a Fugu fish to send home to his family in Tokyo. Then he bought a small paper bag filled with deep-fried fugu and offered me some. It was quite nice. That evening we had fugu sashimi with our
  17. 17. dinner, as well as the opportunity to chat with a fugu-certified chef—who actually showed us how to remove the poisonous organs. All in all it was a day of discovery, as well as an opportunity to dispel the myth that eating Fugu is a life-threatening experience. I’ve eaten it many times over the last 9 years. Mendoza: Argentina. If truth be told, the main reason for choosing to explore Argentina a few years ago was the opportunity to visit Mendoza and Salta— two of the prime regions for the production of Malbec wine—which is my absolute favourite. In Mendoza we toured three different wineries to see three different methods of grape selection, production and storage. And we sampled about 15 different varieties of Malbec, learning new techniques in wine tasting, meeting the owners of the wineries on occasion and getting a better understanding of the vintage, year and significance of the ‘reserve’ label. In every place we travelled in the country afterward, we checked out the local wine markets, found some exceptional bottles of Malbec and returned with 20 for home consumption (and yes we declared them and paid duty on them at customs). Wineries, distilleries and beer and sake breweries are always included on our travels, not so much for the free samples at the end of the tour (really) but for the learning experience. Whereas ten years ago I knew nothing about Whiskey, now I can talk fairly intelligently about blended whiskey, single-malt Scotches, Irish Whiskey and the answer to that pesky question: ‘Why does Guinness taste so fresh in Dublin but not-so- fresh in Toronto?’ Markets: No article on Culinary Tourism would be complete without some mention of the market-culture. This refers to the venues where local chefs purchase fresh food for the day. I have adjusted a travel schedule on more than one occasion to ensure that I am in town for the local market e.g. In Kochi, Kyushi it was the Sunday outdoor market; in Villa de Leyva it was the Saturday market. Food markets allow for great opportunities to sample the local produce as well as for photographs and videos. Attaining a state of culinary bliss has become, for many travellers an integral part of the travel experience. Travellers today are looking for that ‘what else can we do” when they travel and are catering to their senses (literally) to make the travel experiences more holistic; more involved, more meaningful, and more memorable.
  18. 18. The following is a reprint from the Selling Travel blog. There seems to be a rise in anti-agent rhetoric from sources that are unqualified and who lack insider knowledge and at the same time a lack of instant retort by the trade to protect their businesses. Retorts were made albeit days after the events and then made by trade associations versus TAs. As you read the following don’t get too power hungry, but know when to bite the hand that doesn’t feed you. Come on now. Stand tall and feel the power. Travel agents for some reason have never really understood or grasped the power they have in the local market place or the global world economy. The recent Woman’s Day article and the hiring firm’s profiling of a travel agency job and the return to promoting travel agents in their ads by Carnival. What’s new with all this? Nothing. It’s been tried and done before – and still travel agents are back in their seats come Monday morning whereas many suppliers are out of business and as for Woman’s Day magazine their YOY 2012 – 2013 readership is down 4%. Hello! This information is easy to find online and before reacting to these jabs and this type of misinformation, due diligence should be done. Own Your Own News As I have always suggested, each and every travel agent must own their own news. For too long now, the trade has sat back feebly and waited for their trade associations to hammer the offending media and news feed. Although they speak on your behalf associations do not feel the pain as you do. It’s on the shoulders of every travel agent to defend their business and to do it by first understanding their power and then offering a well thought out, well written and business-like rebuff and not some of the playground commentary we’ve seen and read. Work with and support your trade association then focus on owning your own news. It should start at home in each local community. You should be prepared as and when something hits the fan in an attempt to hurt the industry and damage your business.
  19. 19. It’s Not Personal First things first. Many of the comments posted by travel agents to the various affronts are obviously delivered from the heart. Fact is, this is not emotional, not personal – it’s all business. Travel agents, even in their heyday of 25 – 30,000 bricks and mortar agencies in North America could never sell all the seats, berths, cabins, rooms, cruises, tours, hikes or adventures. The inventory is and always has been beyond the selling capability of the retail trade. This in turn forces the suppliers to sell direct or make certain adjustments as to how they do business, to stay in business. There is no room for one business such as a travel agent, calling down another business such as a supplier who decides to change their business format. If you have a problem with that, then start your own airline or cruise line. The supplier – retailer relationship runs the same way no matter the industry. The Power of Travel Agents When the airlines reduced and removed travel agency commissions back in the 90’s I was one working on plans to counter their move by directing business away from the offending airline. At that time it was simply a matter of choking off the supply of bookings. Had thousands of travel agents and especially the chain agencies understood this rebuttal and in their own way moved on it, even for a three month period to prove a point, the collective trade could have reduced any airline to one begging for mercy. There were a few suppliers who jumped on the no-commission bandwagon – one specific cruise line even placed ads encouraging consumers not to book with travel agents. The outcome was simple. Travel agents dumped and shipped back all the cruise line brochures, choked off the bookings and the end result was that the CEO and his team were fired, the cruise line begged to be returned to the brochure rack, invested over a million dollars to get back into favour through a variety of travel agent engagement programs. A similar event took place when a travel insurance company in Australia decided to thrash travel agents in print. The insurance company recalled the ads but not without a last word. Onwards and Upwards The retail travel agent as we know them today has been in business since the mid to late 1800s. Naturally as in any business and industry things change and as we are all well aware, technology has changed and will continue to change how travel agents and suppliers sell and travelling consumers buy. The job and role of the travel agent will never disappear just as airlines will never disappear. Will they change format and design? Of course. Will business methodology change? Of course. Will the travelling consumer be able to purchase more travel online and direct? Of course. Are there any opportunities left for travel agents? You bet. Plugging Into Your Power Although it may seem trite, it pays to know your roots and in doing so, it grounds you to what selling travel is all about and the knowledge also wakes you up as to the commitment made by the men and women who built the trade some 130+ years ago til now and continue to do so. Further study will inform you that you are part of the world economy as the consumers you attract, sell and close spend their money globally and help build local economies. You are involved in world tourism 100%. The end result of your day-to-day work is employment for hundreds of thousands of people around the world as they service your clients. If you are receiving the message, your role in the world is huge. You have enormous power if you choose to accept it.  Reprinted from the Selling Travel Blog. If it’s to be, it’s up to me! - William H. Johnsen,
  20. 20. is the NAME, Selling Travel IS the Game… There’s more to be said about the title on your business card and how you label yourself. This ties into the trade chatter about travel agents heading over the cliff, bricks & mortar agencies crumbling under the weight of the host agency and IC growth and as someone suggested, mentioned or set the thing in motion, the term travel agent is obsolete. My response is: what a crock! The title of travel agent has burned into the trade of travel for over a century and a half. The consumer knows what a travel agent is and what a travel agency does. So what should you do with this information that’s handed down from parents to kids? Change it? Why change a good thing when it’s been working all these years? You know what happens when you confuse the consumer base – they go online and look for an online travel agency! Not quite the outcome you want or need.
  21. 21. …or, are you a Transportation Engineer? Here’s the plan. Stick with the universal title of TRAVEL AGENT - it is who you are and be proud of your roots. Next… within the framework of your agency, your niche and your customer promotions, you can most certainly add a marketing title that focuses the client on your specific expertise. You can be a Cruise Specialist, Adventure Specialist, Culinary Tour Specialist… and you can be these titles under the main banner of travel agent. You can be a Travel Agency specializing in Caribbean Cruises. When you try to be too fancy-dancy you will confuse your clients and lose your clients. A travel counsellor, travel advisor, travel consultant…are all decent titles and I have personally worn each hat. BUT, you are first and foremost a TRAVEL AGENT. Make no mistake. Stake your claim as the BEST travel agent and travel agency in your community and promote why you are the BEST. Be proud of being a TRAVEL AGENT especially when asked “What do you do?” 
  22. 22. NEW TOOLS The Sharpie website! In the world of all things digital, sometimes it pays to pick up a Sharpie, and create something hand drawn. The why is this: hand drawn, has the same effect as the hand written sandwich board sign. It just seems to pull people to read what’s written – versus printed. Oh yes, they have more colours than black!
  23. 23. THE “SKETCH YOUR WORLD” PROMOTION I know it seems K-A-R-A-Z-A-Y-Y-Y-Y to mention picking up a pen of any kind to create something, or anything related to the marketing of travel for that matter. You may have a hidden talent, you may be artful, you may have a good eye for colour and layout and if you do, then consider using those talents and put some soul into unzipping your world. No I wasn’t smokin’ anything when I sketched out the travel image above. It was a few minutes of zip-zap, then uploading the image to Elements 11 and using Distort. Just pulled and pushed and tweaked here and there to change the lines. Job done. Thing is, this is so easy to do and you might even have the entire agency team have a go. Or, if you want to unzip even more talent, how about a Sketch Your World contest for your clients? Let’s step back in time when the desired marketing outcome was to have your clients visit the agency to enter a competition, drop something off like a coupon, pick up a brochure and so on. You know the phrase, call, click or come in… well this is the come in component. Set up the Sketch Your World promotion, or even better, a Sketch Your Dream Trip promotion. Gather all the entries. Scan them and post them on your website. Create a story around the promo’ and send it out to the media. Have other clients vote on the best sketch. You know how this works, you see it every day wherever you look and shop and also on TV. The prize does not have to be expensive. It can be dinner for two. To go deeper than that is up to you and whether or not you can attract a supplier to your promo. For sure, you’ll want to contact the marketing arm of the Sharpie company. Tell them what you are doing and invite them to participate.  ©Steve Crowhurst
  24. 24. Over time I have managed to horde a ton of marketing bits ‘n’ pieces that suppliers have handed out at trade shows to help travel agents sell more of their products, or simply to serve as a reminder to book this or that supplier and at the very least to keep the supplier top of mind. Some crazy stuff has been handed out I must say – some of it still works, actually most of it still works if you know how and when to use it. Let’s explore: It’s a fact that many would be clients are using computers in their day to day lives and that computer is moving from a desktop to a laptop, notebook, netbook and tablet in size. The bells and whistles on these smaller units are still there, less a DVD drive. Enter the small and very useful 4GB flash drive. DVDs: the flash drive with all your About Us information will serve the laptop clients. Those that still use a desktop will usually have a built in DVD drive. That means you can still send out promotional DVDs featuring your preferred suppliers. Ask your suppliers for 100 DVDs or CDs and complete a direct mail. Include a one page overview introducing the DVD and the product featured on the DVD. If it is possible, add your name and logo to the DVD and if you have the capability, add your own video to the beginning of the DVD. Stuff: Also in my collection I had stress balls and dice, kazoos, mouse pads, pens, rulers, golf balls, sunglasses, ball caps, door hangers, brochures, mini country guides, breathe mints, mini staplers, water bottles, coffee mugs… and on it goes. I’ve seen so many TAs take these goodies when offered and I always wonder that the agent does with them. I have spoken to the suppliers at the trade show booth to ask, if a TA requested 100 DVDs or 100 of this gadget or gizmo would you fulfill their request? And the answer was a resounding YES if the agent was going to use them in a promotion of some kind. So the old media still works.
  25. 25. When you combine the old and the new methods of marketing, the offline and the online and you set one up via the other, you will be creating what we call a blended marketing plan. The blended concept is something to study. It means you can use your social media marketing skills to introduce a good old fashioned come and get it, promotion. You can use a Facebook, tell-your-friends- about-this referral program to fill the room of your next consumer night. The offer includes a take away. That take away is a gorgeous DVD featuring a glorious video of a dream cruise, tour or destination. Included in the DVD cover slip is an offer of Book Now and get… the “get” can be an upgrade or a discount or a… whatever your supplier is offering at the time you promote. The Pen is Mightier than the Email… and that is true in many cases. A pen is still one of the most used and most appreciated specialty marketing give aways. There are some snazzy pens out there too and your suppliers have offered them in the past. Your baby boomer clients love them. Your younger generation clients might prefer a Sharpie or something similar. The YouTube Way to the Heart… video is all things travel. Your supplier’s videos are one of the top marketing tools you should look for. Get the ‘okay’ to proceed and copy the best videos to a DVD of your own making. Use a DVD that allows you to print on the surface using Lightscribe or your inkjet printer if it has the DVD printing option. Now you can create a YouTube video offering the DVD. Yes I know it sounds convoluted but it’s not. It’s all about that special offer… GET YOUR DVD OF GLORIOUS PLACES TO VISIT AND WATCH IT ON YOUR BIG SCREEN TV! The Paper Business Card is old media… the mini CD business card is new media. Start collecting old media and work on your blended marketing plan that includes your social media skills. Until your baby boomer clients have left the mortal coil there is always a place for old media marketing techniques. Direct mail, press releases, flyers, newsletters, printed matter… they still work and anything that is tactile is attractive and increases the pass-along effect, currently known as going viral. Not much is new. Just a change in format and delivery! 
  26. 26. To unzip something more, something special, you are going to need to dig deep and where you dig is very close to home. It’s all there in your client files. In your CRM. In your face-to-face interactions with your clients. Times have changed as well you know and the information that you drive through the business dealings you have when selling travel is called DATA. DATA is information that leads to OPPORTUNITY if you know how to read it and interpret it correctly. That said, you’ll want to make sure you have the right information / data first time around. This requires asking your clients for more than their name, home address and email. Today, your data must include your client’s social media habits and websites where they explore travel.
  27. 27. The Postal Code Map If you have not yet completed this map, add it to your to-do list. You may have reporting software that will print a report at a click – if not then it’s time to download a blank map of your area or the entire world and or you could approach your country’s post office website and use their tools. It’s amazing where your business comes from. If you are local and stay local then you’ll know where your clients live. If you are online and deal worldwide then you’ll be very surprised with the locations that pop up. Here’s a terrific website to review – and if you are stuck re a postal code – just type it in and bingo! The Social Media Map Most people in the world that are online are connected to Facebook or similar. Bit of a no brainer to think all your clients are on Facebook. Then again, they might not be. Your Facebook promotions then are missing one or two major clients. Asking the “which social network do you use?” question will give you the answers you need. The Product Map Your CRM, accounting software, backroom anything should be able to spit out a report detailing the products your clients buy from you. You will know in your head, however when you see it onscreen or on paper as a map or chart then the data makes more sense. You’ll want to count the type of product such as cruise. You’ll want to list the cruise supplier and the number of bookings made with that company. Then you have the sailings and itineraries. Also the month your clients sailed. Can you see the imagery building now? This map alone will deliver enough data that will keep you engrossed. It pays to complete a monthly review in this manner and to make sure you do actually understand your business. Many times, through being busy, we think the number was “this” when it was totally the opposite. Stick to the mapping of your data and win. The Location Map Same as the product map. You need to know where in the world your clients are travelling too. Not in your head – mapped out. The Vacation / Niche Type Map This data set maps out the type of vacation booked – cruise, tour, FIT… ITC… adventure… you can set the rules to what you map. Large travel firms have this type of data flow happening all the time. Smaller agencies and most agencies are small in terms of dollar size. About 75% of all travel agencies are writing $3-$5 million a year. Then of course you have a small percentage of agencies in the $10 - $20 - $50 million, others in the tens of millions, but not many. So we focus on the smaller agency as the big guys have got everything they need and want and have had it for a very long time. Smaller agencies can copy to some degree some of what their larger counterparts are doing. The main thing is to get that data harnessed, unzip it, think on it and then start to plan your next marketing campaign. Naturally your recording of the data you attract must be correct. If not, you’ll be wasting a lot of time going in the wrong direction. Let the BIG guys chase the BIG DATA. You stick with the basic, tried and true data that comes from your primary sources and you’ll unzip new biz!
  28. 28. Alright! Saddle up and hold on. The latest news on and about the adventure travel market is here and between the pages of this report it suggests that four out of ten of your clients want an adventure vacation. That statement jives with other reports and especially when it comes to your baby boomer clients. They are nearing or already reached their 60 something birthday and it seems at that stage of life, many people need to recharge their batteries and add some zip to their travels. Not so much wishing to stand in front of a herd of charging musk ox or wrestle a b’ar – however something soft to medium as in white water or walking trails or scaling one or two easy to reach peaks would do nicely. After you have read this report you can then start to look at your own client base and I would suggest you survey them, or call them to a consumer event to review and discuss the adventure that an adventure trip can offer them. Gain their insight. Ask “Where shall we go?” and then sit back and take down the information. Next step is to create your Adventure of a Lifetime or Adventures of YOUR Lifetime tour series. You should know that some of your clients desire hard to extreme adventures, others prefer soft adventure and then there’s the deluxe adventurer who would like to sip wine as lions attack their prey a few feet away. Glamping that’s called. Leave that with you. Adventure travel is big - $263 billion big. I’m sure there’s some moola in there for you too. 
  29. 29.   CClliicckk hheerree ttoo ttrryy aa mmeemmbbeerrsshhiipp ffoorr 3300 DDaayyss!! GIVE YOURSELF A GIFT THIS YEAR! A TRAVEL AGENT REVOLUTION MEMBERSHIP LEARNING LIBRARY BUSINESS COACHING TRAVEL TOWN HALL MEETINGS MEMBER- ONLY STORE IN THE TRAVEL TRENCHES CHAT FORUM            1.855.289.2679 The Travel Agent Revolution is here to support travel agents’ personal and professional development! Become a member and receive: Become a Member Today! 
  30. 30. The newly redesigned Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE) program is a bold collection of  courses and online training focused on the critical skills that today’s travel professionals need to  succeed.  Graduates  will  learn  how  to  grow  their  business  while  earning  recognized  industry  credentials.  The  CTIE  certification  is  parallel  to  the  Certified  Travel  Counselor  (CTC)  certification, thus, representing the pinnacle of travel industry professionalism for seasoned  travel professionals who are interested in advancing their career.       NEW: It is no longer a prerequisite to earn the  CTA  designation  or  test  out  of  CTA  prior  to  enrolling in CTIE.    NEW:  While  studying  for  your  CTIE,  you  will  enjoy  Premium  Membership  benefits  such  as  white  papers,  expert  webinars,  podcasts,  blog  posts and much more.    NEW:  All  courses  are  completed  online  in  The  Travel Institute’s Communiversity.    NEW:  Interest  free  12  month  payment  plan  is  now available.    The  CTIE  program  is  perfect  for  travel  professionals in non‐consumer sales roles such  as:   Suppliers   Host agency executives   Consortia leaders   Marketers   Internet travel executives   Back of office accountants   IT support staff    The new CTIE curriculum covers these five core  competencies:   Communication   Leadership   Management   Sales and Marketing   Customer Service    To earn the CTIE, travel professionals must:   Possess at least 5 years of full‐time  industry, management, or business  experience   Complete a 2000‐3000 word White  Paper   Commit to annual certification  maintenance to retain certification   After certification, commit to annual  Travel Institute membership  That’s  right.  I’m  giving  two‐thumbs  up  for  The  Travel  Institute’s  CTIE  program  and recommend you check it out. At the  same  time  look  for  my  management  webinars  &  workbooks  that  will  indirectly  support  what  you  learn  by  studying the CTIE content. Click on The  Travel  Institute’s  logo  below  for  more  information. Read TAM here. 
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