IC Travel Agent June 2014


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The SPAM Issue - No Permission / No Commission

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IC Travel Agent June 2014

  2. 2. 4 EDITORIAL Selling travel from home does not have to be a puzzle when you read IC! Find the host agency that best suits your needs. Share your money making ideas in IC and help your IC colleagues. CONTACT Steve Crowhurst steve@ic-travelagent.com 250-738-0064 www.ic-travelagent.com Publisher: SMP Training Co. www.smptraining.com Contributors Steve Crowhurst IC TRAVEL AGENT 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. www.smptraining.com” 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 IC TRAVEL AGENT. T: 250-738-0064. 6 MEET REBECCA, ALEX, LISA AND ROB… 7 GROWING YOUR LIST 8 NO PERMISSION (NO COMMISSION) 10 PROFESSIONAL PLAINTIFF 13 WORK LIFE BALANCE by Jill Wykes 15 WHO PAYS THE BILL? 17 B2B COMMUNICATION 18 NO SPAM E-MAIL TACTICS 19 E-MAIL SIGNATURES 20 AWAY NOTICE + OPT-IN… 21 LOCAL ADVERTISING 24 SPAM LITE by Steve Gillick 27 ANTI-SPAM COMPARISONS (GLOBAL) 29 APPROVAL IS THE GAME 31 THE CONSENT REQUEST 34 NOT ALL HOST AGENCIES ARE ALIKE… by Jill Wykes 35 PRESS RELEASES / BLOGS 37 RADIO SHOWS 38 SPAM ‘N’ CHIPS 41 SELLING TRAVEL WITH STEVE TABLE OF CONTENTS – IC JUNE 2014 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! Advertising in IC Travel Agent reaches the serious business-minded travel agent. Promote your products and services via video, audio or generic text and images. IC Travel Agent is marketed direct to over 4,000 travel agents plus thousands more via social media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, SlideShare, trade contacts, partners and educational institutions. Your ad includes a BONUS How-to-Sell article. Full page rates range from $300 to $425 based on number of insertions.
  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 • Vacation.com 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 • Vacation.com membership included at no additional charge! Contact us today to learn more about our growing family of travel professionals. Visit www.Join.NexionCanada.com Email sales@nexioncanada.com 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. No Permission – No Commission YOWZER! And I don’t say that word too often. Well, it seems like we’re heading back into the good ole days when winning new clients was all about how you advertised and used what we called attraction marketing. Then there were press releases and consumer events, cruise nights and bill boards, road signs, non-addressed fliers and a whole bunch more activities to spur a prospect on to make the call, to make contact and to ask for your help in arranging their vacation. This back to the future feeling comes about through the latest anti-spam legislation to be launched in Canada come July 1st, 2014. The legislation also affects US travel agents who market north of the 49th. Suppliers too. Tourism boards… The theme to carry in your head is No Permission No Commission. That’s about it pure and simple PLUS the return to what we have termed “traditional” or “off-line” marketing. The current rules and regulations offer some leeway as travel agents start asking each of their current clients to “opt-in” and give their expressed consent to receive electronic communication such as emails. The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) is wider than just email however, it encompasses all forms of communication and especially if you are selling something, and you are. See you inside. Don’t forget to check out the new titles at The Travel Agent’s Store. Here’s to your continued success! Best regards. Steve Crowhurst, CTC steve@ic-travelagent.com www.ic-travelagent.com Steve Crowhurst, CTC, Publisher Click me to Opt-In to the NEW mailing list for SMP.
  5. 5. Yournew commute… …just steps away! JoinToday! Visit:TheTravelAgentNextdoor.ca 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. Rebecca, Alex, Lisa and Rob are independent contractors and newcomers to selling travel from their respective home based offices. Surrounding them is a group of strangers and it would be perfectly legal for our four newcomers to strike up a face-to-face conversation with someone in this group and ask them directly for their vacation travel business. If our four newcomers sent a “book with me” prospecting email to any of these people without their permission to do so then our four newcomers would be in violation of the new anti-spam legislation. The challenge: if you cannot email someone to ask for their business without their permission how do you grow your business? How do you even start to build a client base? From here on, each page in this issue is dedicated to attracting would-be clients by means that fall outside of complying with the CASL and CANSPAM programs. Once you attract a new customer then you must comply with CASL and CANSPAM.  Meet Rebecca, Alex, Lisa and Rob
  7. 7. Growing Your List From July 1st on Canadian travel agents must endeavour to re-sign their clients so that each client has agreed to receive all forms of CEMs – commercial electronic messaging. Emails being a biggie. Although there seems to be a three-year period that allows Canadian travel agents and all other businesses to work their magic to comply with CASL – there is no time like the present to start building your client list and request a person’s permission from the start. Decide the growth factor you need and calculate how many new clients you’ll require to meet your financial plan. If you wish to grow by another $200,000 this year in sales (not revenue) and your average sale per person (not booking) is around $2,000 then you’ll need 100 new clients. Break that down to a monthly figure and that’s 8.3 new clients per month. You can start by asking for referrals from your existing clients that have agreed to opt-in and give you their consent / permission to receive your emails and other forms of communication. Even though it is an existing client who is making the referral, you must include your client’s name and address when contacting the person or couple they referred. That done, then you advise the referred couple to “register” with you and to opt-in, giving you permission to send emails to them etc. Before you kick your new client acquisition plan into high gear make sure you have every element covered off and very importantly the unsubscribe function and process. Make sure this is done before launching your ad campaign.  EXISTING CLIENT LIST Each person MUST be contacted for their Express permission and to prove they have opted-in to receive your email and more. TO PROFIT YOU MUST GROW YOUR CLIENT LIST You’ll need to return to the old ways, traditional, off line prospecting techniques, supported by social media activities… PROSPECTS To grow your client list as of July 1st 2014 you can no longer reach out by email to prospect for their business unless exemptions apply.
  8. 8. No Permission… It’s one of those days. It’s a day that you know you should be preparing for but then, well there are other things to do. The American CANSPAM laws have been in effect for some time as has the Canadian PIPEDA program and each has a bit of a bite for those who flaunt all things spam and no doubt some spammers have paid the price. The latest anti-spam legislation, this time from Canada, is said to be very tough with fines of up to $1 million for an individual and $10 million for a corporation… … yet still, those spammers, whoever they are and wherever they hang out, are still not heeding the law, the legislation or my opt- out and unsubscribe requests. So what’s it all about? It seems it’s down to “catching” the small business person who is trying to generate an income to support their family and that’s where this new legislation will cause a huge challenge on both sides of the 49th. As I always like to say, it’s not a department that’s decided this new law, it’s a person. There is always, someone who has to sign off on such a law and I can tell you right now, he or she is not running a small business and chances are they never have. It’s someone thinking they should leave their mark on the world and screw up every small business and in “our” case – travel agencies in general and new comers to selling travel. No need to mention that the anti-spam bods should focus on the huge, relentless, spammers and close them down somehow and allow the small business customer to delete or opt-out of bone fide emails seeking their business or accept a travel product promotion, in our case, to an existing, or long lost client. However that’s all pie in the sky at this point the deal is done. No permission - no commission. The Anti Anti-Spam Plan So it’s time to put on your hiking boots and take a stroll as you ponder how YOU will handle this new legislation. American companies pitching across the border to Canadian travellers – and I receive quite a few offers from various US based travel firms – will come under fire should any of those Canadians being contacted complain to the people running the CASL project. Canadian travel agents too, are on the hook for contacting their countrymen without prior permission. The anti, anti-spam plan then will include non-direct contact marketing activities. Actually it will fall into the category of advertising and events. These are marketing activities that you can conduct without causing yourself or your prospective client a
  9. 9. problem. Reason being, you are not contacting the recipient directly. You are putting information ‘out there’ where the general public is reading off-line and searching on-line. They then contact you. Back To Attraction Marketing Here’s where the Baby Boomer travel agent might be able to teach the younger Gen X & Y agents a thing or two, as a thanks for the social media education so many have passed on to their elders! Playing it forward. Step One Okay… let’s go with the flow and make sure “we” have our current clients signed up. That means each existing client has given you their consent / permission to be contacted by you / your agency. You’ll require a filing system that locks those digital or hard copy forms away should CASL ever come knocking on your door. The only reason that will happen is if one or more of your clients complain to CASL / CANSPAM that you are spamming them and/or contacting them in a manner that contravenes the rules. The other reason for CASL / CANSPAM to contact you would be a purge on the retail travel industry in general. This type of action is enacted when numerous complaints are received by the general public overall. So you’d be caught up in the sweep. Step Two With your existing clients signed and sealed and opted in to receive anything you would like to send them – let’s move on to how you can attract new prospects and build your client list on the right side of the law. 1. Think about what it is you are trying to sell and don’t be the one that says “we’re not selling anything…” because that will get you into trouble. You’ll be selling your services, your niche, your experience, a discount on the next cruise to the Caribbean, passing on a supplier special to Europe or perhaps seats on your own custom tour. 2. Now you think about which would be the best medium for your message. Remember, according to CASL you cannot make direct contact with any new prospective client without their consent – and you cannot ask for their consent, without their consent! What has to happen is that you ATTRACT your would be prospect to contact you and that’s when you ask them to opt-in to receive your emails and more. 3. Referrals are still the way to go and so one way to boost your client list is to rev up your referral plan and ask your clients – the ones who have given you permission to contact them, to refer their friends, family and colleagues. When a referral makes contact – don’t forget, you are now obligated to have them opt-in and give you their Express permission to be contacted. Traditional Marketing Techniques Remember, when prospecting, you cannot send any form of communication to anyone without having their Express and documented permission to do so. The Non-Contact Advertising & Promotion Plan states that you could make excellent use of traditional marketing techniques. Let’s explore some more. Keep reading! 
  10. 10. Be Warned of the "Professional Plaintiff" By Peter Hoppenfeld A client recently received the ultimate "shakedown" letter—claiming violation of the California CAN-SPAM law as a result of getting eight emails, demanding $80,000 in statute-mandated damages, yet willing to settle for $2400. Unfortunately, this has become a cottage industry. The California law has a private right of action that has been taken advantage of by a few noteworthy legal vigilantes. Their actions have created a template for the "shakedown." To add insult to injury, the "professional" victim opted-in herself for each of the lists that she claims issued a spam email. I'm fairly sure that she probably has a cyber-ambulance chasing attorney ready to pounce on a contingency basis. What do you do? The American Corporate Counsel Association has issued a white paper that is very helpful. Seems like the SPAM demand toolkit left out one key defense—if your ISP has reasonable processes in place to prevent spamming, the statutory damages in California are reduced from $1000 to $100 per occurrence. Quoting my letter: First, it is clear that you are following a textbook (albeit outdated) approach of a "professional plaintiff" under the California anti-spam law. Attached is a copy of a White Paper prepared by the Association of Corporate Counsel that clearly rebuts each and every point that you have raised in an attempt to coerce my client to pay you monies. We are in possession of proof that you opted into a number of email lists as proof that these emails are not unsolicited. Even if unsolicited, all of my client's emails contain compliant opt-out links and you have not elected to take advantage of that option. The element of the California law that you conveniently ignored is Section 17529.8 which reduces the potential statutory damages to $100 per occurrence. Please note: "... working with reputable email service providers (ESPs), advertisers can be more confident that recipients did opt-into receive commercial email. ESPs generally maintain or can produce evidence of each opt-in, in the form of IP address from which the consumer opted-in, date/time stamp of opt-in, and other information. {NOTE: ALL IN OUR POSSESSION.} While plaintiffs may contest the veracity of such evidence in a proceeding, once the evidence is produced, the burden to show it is inaccurate generally shifts to the plaintiff [NOTE: WE ARE UNAWARE OF ATTORNEYS WHO WILL TAKE A MATTER ON CONTINGENCY WHEN THERE ARE BURDENS OF PROOF SUCH AT THIS.} More importantly, statutory damages under the Code of $1,000 for each spam are reduced to $100 for each spam, when there is evidence that a defendant established and implemented practices and procedures reasonably designed to This post has been reprinted with kind permission from Melissa Ward, Managing Editor, Target Marketing magazine and Peter Hoppenfeld (filling in for regular Reinventing Direct blogger Gary Hennerberg),. Peter Hoppenfeld
  11. 11. effectively prevent spamming. {NOTE: SUCH PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES ARE IN PLACE.} Accordingly, we deem your demand a "shake down" and a nuisance, and to save time and expense offer you the sum of $800 in full and final settlement of this matter. No monies will be provided to you unless you agree in writing: that no Spam violation took place; to maintain the terms of this arrangement confidential; and to agree to a penalty of $10,000 if it is determined that in the future you are engaged in any attempt to assist others to assert this type of claim against my client. The matter settled, but the complainer remained indignant. Unbelievable. Key takeaways:  Have a complete understanding of the CAN-SPAM laws.  Use an identifiable "from" email, a non- deceptive subject line, include a physical address, provide for an opt-out link and remove people who opt-out within 10 days.  Even more importantly, if affiliates are mailing for you, make sure they "scrub" their lists against your Suppression list. Good Luck All. It's a jungle out there. Peter Hoppenfeld is an attorney and adviser in the representation of direct marketers, speakers, authors, information marketers, "thought leaders," entrepreneurs and domestic and international training companies and their founders. Reach him at: peterhoppenfeld.com.  Given Canada’s anti-spam legislation and the huge fines for not following the rules, a professional plaintiff as presented in Peter Hoppenfeld’s post could be a sign of the times for Canadian Travel Agents. Expect The Unexpected is your mantra from here on as you continue to prep’ your agency team to always make sure each client has opted in to receive your emails and more. Remember the phrase: NO PERMISSION – NO COMMISSION Make sure you fulfill each step outlined in the CASL documentation and as provided by your host agency’s HQ and trade association.
  12. 12. 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 in June… Enter this Promo Code upon checkout and SAVE 10%
  13. 13. Work Life Balance How often do we hear about busy people complaining about how difficult it is to find a balance between working and their personal lives? Is work/life balance actually achievable? Travel agents have historically been disadvantaged in this respect. Working long hours to deal with changes to files, or waiting for suppliers to get back to them, or working with clients who are only available after office hours. Dealing with call backs from tour operators and then trying to locate clients at night or on weekends and holidays. Assisting corporate clients who have a sudden change in plans. Or how about mall hours? Endless evenings and weekends. Retail call centres are open even longer …often 7 days a week, requiring shift work and odd hours from their agents. The shift in the travel industry towards home based agents goes a long way to solving this problem for the many agents who are signing on to this trend. Perhaps work/life balance is one of the reasons 50% of the agents in the U.S. and the U.K. are home based. Working from your own home office affords many personal benefits and puts you back in charge of your life, both personal and professional. It gives you control. The kind of control you will never have as long as you work for somebody else. I can personally attest to this, because as I write this, after 20 years working in a large travel corporation, I am sitting on my sofa, coffee at my side, watching the sunrise. A few short years ago I’d have been in the shower, rushing to dress professionally, put on make up, do my hair (all the while, checking my blackberry to see if my bosses need anything) and get in the car to race to the office, sitting in traffic along the way. I am not a travel agent, but the trend towards home offices is not exclusive to travel. A growing number of Canadians now work from home in many different professions. Home based agents will tell you many reasons why they are happier working from home. They can be home when their children come home from school, weekends are free if they want them to be, they have regained the hours they By Jill Wykes
  14. 14. spent commuting, and they have the freedom to fit whatever else they need or want to do into their day. They can choose the hours they work….and don’t get me wrong, these agents work hard….but it can be when it suits them. So what’s the catch? Surely it is not all a bed of roses? Actually, it pretty much is. But, one thing that is important is to carefully select your host agency to make sure that they can support your schedule. Check out what they offer in terms of training time, conference calls, sales support, reporting, BSP ticketing, etc. Be sure to find out how often you receive your hard earned commissions ….working from home and being your own boss also means having greater control over your finances, and the time to pay attention to them. Something else you will want to look for, and that you might miss from working in an office, is the sense of community with your co-workers. How can you connect with your fellow home- based agents both professionally and socially? Brought to you by The Travel Agent Next Door Coming soon to The Travel Agent’s Store Look For Our Managerial E-Books In The Fall We know that travel trade managers are starved for new information, current tips, tools and techniques to help them better manage a present day workforce, deal with all things digital and market to a new and changing client base. Topics to include human resources, sales and marketing plans, strategic planning, managing the plan, stepping into management and more. Content will be current, cutting edge, projected forward and not dated to the 1990’s or before!
  15. 15. Who Pays The Bill? Oh dear! Well you won’t know how this actually plays out until someone somewhere decides to challenge the sending of emails to their email address after they have opted-out and or unsubscribed from your list. It could be that their name was not removed from your list and so they received another dozen or more emails. Then follow up emails, too. Initially the client remained calm and deleted. Now they are angry, upset and they’ve found out about CASL and CANSPAM where they can take their complaint. Here’s one slide from a presentation that compares the American CAN-SPAM program with Canada’s CASL. The CAN-SPAM program puts the onus on your client or prospect to opt-out if they do not wish to receive your emails any longer. Failure to remove them from the list causes repercussions and small fines. The Canadian CASL program is very aggressive compared to the CAN-SPAM program and especially regarding who is liable for that $1m to $10m fine. And guess who that would be? If you are the agency owner manager, host agency owner manager, on the corporate team and or have travel counsellors working for you, you’d best make sure that everyone for whom you rely on to do an impeccable job, is well trained on how to satisfy CASL compliance. That would mean they understand the rules and regulations and agree to sign off that they will not endanger the company by being frivolous in sending emails to just anyone. If an existing client or prospect complains about a member of staff’s emails, it could well be YOU challenging the fine in court. The image above was captured from a presentation on SlideShare.net and it is worthwhile clicking through the 40-page comparison between CASL and CAN-SPAM. Rather than wait for the hammer to come down inadvertently or not (read the article The Professional Plaintiff) make a plan to work with your front line team, your host agency HQ and anyone else who might in some way shape or form cause you to be involved in a legal dispute. Make sure all your paperwork is updated, your existing clients receive an opt-in document or a link to your website where they can update their profile, opt-in or opt-out etc. If you do not have an email management program, time to get one ASAP and have your lawyer review all your fine print to make sure you are complying with CASL / CAN-SPAM. 
  16. 16. Published This Month If you are looking for a new industry segment to add to your existing services or to focus on a specialty niche then this eGuide will help you. It presents 27 services that a typical corporate account is looking for and each one could become a profitable niche service for you. Air, hotel and car is where most travel agents battle for the account however there are more opportunities than those basic elements. Try meetings, incentives, conferences or new traveller training for instance.  Click here to view the Attracting and Retaining Corporate Accounts Preview.
  17. 17. B2B Communication The CASL program also applies to B2B business practices and so it will have some implications for travel trade suppliers communicating with both travel agents and corporate accounts that deal direct with suppliers. Here’s the information from CASL that applies to B2B. Business-to-business communications. CASL applies broadly to all CEMs. However, the new regulations include exemptions for CEMs sent within a business, and CEMs sent between businesses that are in an ongoing business relationship. The messages must be sent by an employee, representative, contractor or franchisee, and be relevant to the business, role, function or duties of the recipients. Similarly exempt are communications sent to third-party business partners, such as marketing agencies, recruiting firms and insurance carriers. Messages sent to consumers in response to a request for information. The new regulations address this unintended consequence by exempting messages sent in response to requests, inquiries or complaints. (This is why the use of Attraction Marketing works for you.) Messages sent to enforce a legal right. Examples include messages sent for debt collection, licensing & enforcing contractual obligations. Messages sent from outside Canada. These include messages sent by foreign businesses (provided the sender could not reasonably know the message would be received in Canada) and internationally- based Canadian organizations. Third-party referrals. To qualify for the exemption:  The individual who sends the message must disclose in the message the ordinary or full name of the person who made the referral.  The individual who made the referral must have an existing personal or family or business relationship with both the sender and the person who receives the message. Non preferred suppliers might want to review how they will continue to pitch their products to travel agencies who are by contract not allowed to sell any supplier other than preferred. A continual series of emails might be considered spam by HQ unless the HQ gives their express permission to the non-preferred supplier. Corporate travel agencies, travel management firms dealing with a business versus a consumer should also review how the B2B component of CASL affects them, if it does. Best practices would suggest that when dealing with corporate accounts it would be better to establish a conference call or face-to-face meeting and discuss CASL and arrive at an immediate solution which might range from no one cares, keep emailing… or they will select their own preferences. 
  18. 18. No Spam E-Mail Tactics How many times can it be said and read? No communication without permission. Answer: you need a way, a strategy, a plan to win a prospect’s email address. The reason you are hunting for email addresses is this: more than 75% of people outside your agency prefer to receive product offers by email – NOT by social media. So to win that email address, your marketing plans should include a tactic that causes someone unknown to you just now, to enter their email address, thus opting in. Giving you permission to follow up. From this report comes sixteen tactics marketers are using to encourage would be customers to send in their email addresses. Review them and check to see if you can use the same ideas. 1. General email sign-up form on website 2. Require email to create an account on website 3. Sign-up requests specific to different sections on website 4. Registration with immediate incentive 5. Email capture via Facebook 6. Promote content via social media that requires email registration to access 7. Drive online loyalty program registration requiring email 8. Paid search advertisement that drives to landing page with email opt-in 9. Capture email during inbound sales calls 10. Capture email during inbound customer service calls 11. Sales associates request email as part of check-out process 12. Email acquisition tied to loyalty program registration promoted in-store 13. Require email to register mobile app 14. Email acquisition tied to emailed receipt or ticket delivery 15. Option to opt into email when viewing content on mobile app 16. Paid mobile ads If you like the ideas listed here, you’ll want to create something your prospects would like to sign up for – to trade their email address for. Typically that might be your travel agency newsletter, or a competition of some kind (hopefully not at too much expense to you such as a free trip when dinner for two at a local restaurant can generate the same result). Each tactic listed here is intended to cause an INBOUND surge of email registrations. You are not spamming anyone because you are promoting your sign-up offers via means such as: your press releases, blog posts, newspaper ads, bill boards, branded clothing you wear and anything else you do that generates a call-to- action, sign-up, opt-in email response. 
  19. 19. E-Mail Signatures Time to beef up your email signature and make sure it complies with all things anti-spam based on the legislation for your country and some of you may be affected by state or provincial laws too. Be sure to check out which tune you are dancing to. The infographic on the right is linked – so give it a click and check it out. It was sourced from evercontact.com. Here’s a layout idea for your emails: Another unsubscribe instruction could be: To stop receiving email from us click the Remove Me link here. You might want to add a selection of social media icons linked to your social network pages and inspire your email recipients to opt-in and connect via Facebook etc. It is also important to add this line to your email: Please add (your agency email address) to your address book whitelist and change junk filter settings to ensure delivery to your inbox. There are numerous e-signature websites where you can create fancy signatures. Be careful how the end product is “read” by the recipients email program / spam filter. Signatures that appear as JPEGS or images may be read as spam. US agents can make use of the CAN SPAM rules that rely on the client opting out, not in – so you could use a sign off like this: The email you’ve received today is an advertisement. To remove yourself from our email list please click here now. (Your full address follows…) 
  20. 20. Away Notice + Opt-In + Quite often after I complete an e-blast / mass email to the travel agents on my lists there are of course many that bounce back with an auto-response advising that the recipient is away, and will not return until a certain date. The auto-response is a marvellous tool that can be turned into an opt-in generator. Not only that you can use the same auto response to help you sell more travel. The Opt-In process should now be part of your everyday communication with your existing and prospective clients. It means that throughout every form of communication you always offer two things, to opt-in and to opt-out and or unsubscribe. You should also make a note as to the level of your compliance with both anti-spam programs depending upon where your agency resides and where you do business. You might create a script similar to this: ABC Travel complies with our Federal Anti-Spam legislation and would appreciate your help in maintaining our track record. To do that we would ask you to click on the OPT-IN link and register as a bone-fide client of ABC Travel and then we are free to communicate with you as you desire. Or… New anti-spam legislation for all businesses has come into effect and to comply with the new laws we must request your permission to communicate with you via email, social media etc. Please click here to access our OPT-IN page where you can select your preferences. Apologies for the inconvenience, however, you only have to opt-in once. Or… To continue sending you our travel promotions and to communicate by email and social media we must comply with new anti- spam laws. To comply with these new laws we must ask for your express permission to communicate with you. You can click here to access our OPT-IN page where you can select your preferences. You can unsubscribe anytime. The following was a post e-blast auto- response that came to me and I thought it was very ingenious and a great way to have your auto-response carry on the sales process in your absence setting up a potential meeting upon your return: I am currently out of the country until Wednesday May 14th. Check out the video and you will see where I am. (This was followed by a YouTube link.) I look forward to helping you upon my return. Over to you! Check with your host agency for auto-responder templates should they have a preferred common theme, wording, layout. Next, make sure you have an email capture system such as MailChimp or Constant Contact that will manage your opt-ins and outs. If you do not have an email list management program or service use this script and make sure you follow through on removals: To unsubscribe: if you no longer wish to receive emails from (your agency) please send a reply email with UNSUBSCRIBE typed into the Subject Line. Thank you. Once in a while it’s a good idea to purge your customer list and clean it up. 
  21. 21. Local Advertising The usual term for this is Local Store Marketing, however as advertising is a step in the marketing process we’ll go with Local Store Advertising instead, then again why don’t we go with LOCALYOU ADVERTISING? It is ALL about YOU isn’t it? Yes of course it is. So then our mission in this issue is to take YOU to market in ways that do not conflict with the anti-spam laws heralded by your country, state, province, region and or association. Let’s go! If you are not, by law, allowed to make a direct contact to find a suspect that becomes a prospect to convert into a lead – then you must return to using traditional methods and factor in social media to build inbound requests. Okay. If you understand the term INBOUND then you will know the premise here is to market yourself and your agency’s services in such a way as to attract people you do not yet know, to make contact with you. This is inbound marketing. It means the customer contacts you. The fact that the customer is contacting you is of course implied consent / permission – they want information from you. When you respond you provide the information and at the same time “sign them up” as a client and you do this by requesting their permission to continue sending them emails, social media posts and more. But first – you have to attract them to make that call or send an email request. Think of this as a fishing trip each day every day. You must be dangling a lure in the marketplace, attracting potential clients to nibble, then bite and finally to be landed on the deck of your fishing vessel named “Closed!” Let’s review some of the long lost local store marketing techniques that do not fall prey to the CASL or CAN-SPAM legislations. Every Thing You Do Points to Your Website You’ve read this so many times in IC Travel Agent that you should have rebuilt your website by now making is a real zinger! If you have not yet created the hottest website in town, then call in your host agency BDM and get their assistance. If it means forking out a few more dollars to have someone revamp your website than make it happen. Put the moola on the table and stand back. Assuming your website is now that very, very cool place to click to, you can be very proud to mention it in every advertising campaign you undertake. Why don’t we start locally and take a look at using your community newspapers and local magazines too.
  22. 22. Community Newspapers Believe or not community newspapers are well read and they also carry tucked inside them a bunch of flyers from local stores. Here’s where you can search for local newspapers in Canada and each US state. As you know, many towns and cities have more than one community paper. Click on the images. The Ad, The Advertorial, The Press Release, The Flier and the Event Listing… These are the five major advertising opportunities waiting for you at your local community newspaper office. First things first – find out the cost for each of the five opportunities listed above. A Display Ad is what you want to place versus a classified ad although some travel companies have built themselves from zip to a multi-million dollar company using just classified ads. The Advertorial is similar to a press release however you’ll be paying for it like an ad. Review local papers and magazines to see how it’s done. The Press Release is a newsworthy tip that you send out to all media and if it is newsworthy it might get printed – for no charge. The Flier would be a full colour, one pager that is inserted into the newspaper. If your local paper has a circulation of 20,000 then you’ll be providing them with 20,000 copies of your flier. At 5 cents a sheet, that’s roughly $1,000 at 10 cents, that’s $2,000 at $1… that’s $20,000! This type of promotion is worthwhile chatting about with your preferred suppliers and asking for co- op funds. The Event Listing is often free to list and here’s where you can promote your consumer night, or destination discussion such as how to pack for first time cruisers etc. EACH OF THE ABOVE AD ACTIONS MUST HAVE YOUR WEBSITE LINK FEATURED PROMINENTLY. The key to generating response that generates inbound calls and email requests, is to offer something compelling. If your display ad is nothing but text, you’ll be wasting your money. Make sure you work with a pro and create an ad that is image based and with a title that tells a story that attracts and pulls people in. Here’s a great website to visit. It’s US and the content will help anyone anywhere to better understand how to work with their local newspaper. Around The Community Sometimes you can be led astray thinking that by buying into the social media phenomena that you’ll win business from far and wide. Could be, however proven over time is the fact that a typical business in a typical community attracts customers from within a 3-5 mile radius.
  23. 23. Here’s a website where you can plot your 5-mile radius on line and survey what’s around you. http://www.mapbusinessonline.com/Solution.a spx/RadiusMapsForSalesPlanning Once you know the lay of the land which means you’ll have the residential areas plotted, business parks, churches, stores, schools etc., and everything else that has travel potential then you can start to plan your local store marketing activity program. Compatible Stores: Look for stores that relate to travel. Fashion, luggage, gadgets, cameras, outdoor clothing, books, niche related… and then approach the owner / manager to discuss a cross promotion. With the privacy act in place you can no longer share customer lists, however, the store owner could mention your travel agency to his/her customer base and you can promote your ‘partner’ to your list. The cross promotion would be based on you placing a poster in their store window and for your new marketing partner you would offer your website and social media sites as your window on the world – plus you can blog about their services and products too. In other words, you’ll mention your new cross promotion partner/s in all the local advertising and marketing you do. Take Ones: These are generally small plastic holders found on shop countertops, at check-out locations in restaurants and the like. It means printing a postcard sized promo piece that’s attractive and one that people will pick up and take home. A QR code on the card would shorten the selling cycle allowing the person to use their smartphone to scan the code and visit your website immediately. Local Notice Boards: The take one idea can also be applied as a typed one pager pinned to local notices boards. It has a heading that advises the reader what it is all about with a telephone number, email address or once again the QR code. Notice boards can be found here:  Cafes  Grocery stores  Laundromats  Local businesses Local Events & Consumer Nights: Some travel agencies still arrange and promote travel events to attract newcomers to their agency and you can and should do the same thing. A local travel event is a great way to meet 50 people in one go, versus trying to locate new clients one couple at a time. Work closely with your preferred supplier BDMs as they will have more knowledge on what’s working in your area when it comes to pulling local people to such an event. Then there is the local movie theatre which is not expensive to rent for an off-hour time period. Promote a travel feature video, add in a bag of popcorn and be well practiced when you take the stage to sell yourself, your agency and your latest tour AND reasons to opt-in to your list. That’s just the tip of the iceberg really, the rest of the iceberg you can find in this e-book. Build your business with proven tips and tools. 
  24. 24. SPAM Lite We can talk about internet SPAM horror stories and how the new Canadian legislation (July 1, 2014) may affect future business. While some regard this as a serious threat, some see it as a tempest in a spam can, and others, using their sense of humour and hamming it up a bit, appreciate the wider significance of the role of SPAM as a travel-related culinary niche market. OK, Lighten up! I’m talking about this… Of course I am referring to the product that was developed by Hormel Foods Corporation* in 1937. The name of the product is said to be an acronym for “spiced ham”. In 2007 it reportedly sold its 7 billionth can of meat and sales have been steadily increasing since that time. Possibly the most famous marketing boost the product received was in the 1970’s when the comedy troupe Monty Python introduced their “spam skit” which featured a restaurant that served every dish, from bacon and eggs to Lobster Thermidor, with SPAM. This was followed up by Eric Idle’s 2005 musical “Spamalot”, where Idle explained “I like the title Spamalot a lot. It comes from a line in the movie which goes: "we eat ham, and jam and SPAM a lot."** Laugh all you want, but SPAM is an international food sensation. My one and only encounter with the product was on an adventure tour in Morocco in 1996, where we camped in tents every night and cooked food for the group. As this was a budget tour, SPAM figured high on the menu as far as the provision of meat was concerned. And you know, if you mix it with vegetables and sauces and fry it up, it tastes pretty good. However we also had many opportunities to try the local cuisine and as much as we loved SPAM, we tended to lean more toward kebabs, couscous, harira, mechoui and tanjines. There’s no accounting for taste, right? SPAM is available in 41 countries and many have adapted the dish to their own cuisine. This may be comforting news to those travellers who prefer to stay away from local dishes for their own reasons. I’ve met many travellers along the way whose choice of destination depends on the availability of western food and associated western fast food establishments. This is their comfort food level. And there is nothing wrong with this, as long as the client sees value in travel and has melded their food preferences into their travel style. Who are we to judge? However based on this culinary truism, one could take the attitude that SPAM served Mexican style with huevos rancheros (the formal name is actually Heuvos SPAM Cheros), or Spam served New Orleans style in Jambalaya, or Hawaiian/Japanese Spam Musubi (similar in appearance to sushi—the spam rests on a small block of rice, wrapped in seaweed); offer SPAM comfort to those in need, while gently exposing them to local tastes. The tradition of eating SPAM may have begun during the Second World War as soldiers welcomed the product during times of meat rationing. Therefore countries in which US army bases were located and in some cases, are still located, tend to have a SPAM tradition in their cuisine. Okinawa, Japan is a prime example. Pork is the main meat served in Okinawa recipes and SPAM, which contains pork shoulder, fits right in. Goyu Chanpuru is a popular dish that contains Goyu (a bitter green gourd) with tofu, BySteveGillick A culinary travel phenomenon spamming 8 decades.
  25. 25. eggs and SPAM. Locals eat the dish with Orion beer, which is only available in Okinawa. Other destinations with a strong SPAM tradition include Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Philippines, Hawaii and Saipan. According to Wikipedia, Hawaii holds the record for the greatest SPAM consumption in the United States, where select Burger King and McDonald’s restaurants feature SPAM dishes on their menu. Of course full details of the American infatuation with SPAM may be found at the SPAM Museum (sometimes referred to as the Guggen-ham or the MOMA (Museum of Meat-Themed Awesomeness) in Austin, Minnesota. In the United Kingdom you can try deep-fried SPAM fritters or SPAM sandwiches. In some Asian countries you can indulge in SPAM- burgers. Cha chaan teng is a Hong Kong dish with SPAM, instant noodles and fried eggs. In South Korea you can try SPAM Kimbap (a variation of the famous dish “Bibimbap”) where SPAM is mixed with rice and vegetables and wrapped in seaweed). In Israel you can get Glatt Kosher SPAM. There is in fact no shortage of SPAM recipes available on the internet including:  Variations on SPAM Musubi using different varieties of the product such as Teriyaki SPAM or Bacon Honey Chile SPAM  Jalepeño SPAM quesadillas  SPAM and gravy on biscuits  SPAMaroni and Cheese  Veggie SPAM skewers (emphasis on veggies—they still use SPAM)  Nutty SPAM Surprise (using peanut butter)  And various SPAM desserts: everything from SPAM Smores to SPAM Cakes and SPAM-apple turnovers. For those with a nose for wine, various internet sites suggest that SPAM dishes pair well with everything from Champagne (with the snooty comment that “you can never go wrong with Champagne”) to a good German Riesling, to Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Loire Cabernet Franc and Valpolicella. One writer suggested “going for the full Monty (Python) by considering a White Zinfandel” with SPAM. *** And then there are SPAM events to sow your enthusiasm. The SPAM Jam in Waikiki just took place on May 3, 2014. The 14th Annual Spamtastic Festival will take place in Shady Cove, Oregon on June 28, 2014. Unfortunately we already missed the Isleton (California) Spam Fest that took place on February 16, 2014. Niche Travel markets come in all shapes and sizes. Special interest travellers don’t necessarily ‘just’ travel for one interest, but like to combine a few pleasurable options—perhaps one major one (such as culinary) and one or more refined interests, such as beer or markets or SPAM. And now you are in the know the next time a client either expresses hesitation about eating local foods, or expresses a specific interest in a ham-related experience. Now you can hog the spotlight, knuckle under, relate some pig-tales, and plan an ‘epig’ adventure that provides value. One person’s travel trivia is another agent’s commission cheque!  References: * www.spam.com ** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spamalot#cite_note-1 *** www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor1/tswa051019.html Steve Gillick is the president of www.talkingtravel.ca and you can contact him directly at steve@talkingtravel.ca
  26. 26. The Travel Institute's New E-Book The Travel Institute's Financial Planning book has been completely updated and is an excellent resource for travel professionals and travel entrepreneurs who want to put their business on a sound financial foundation. In this e-book, you will learn why accounting, bookkeeping, and financial planning are crucial to the success of your business. The information generated from a proper accounting system can help you improve your business plan, manage your cash flow, and save on taxes and professional fees. After completing the readings and activities in Financial Planning, you will be able to:  Explain the primary purposes of financial planning and accounting;  Determine whether you should hire a bookkeeper;  Define the link between customer relationship management (CRM) and accounting;  Identify the components of external financial statements;  Describe the importance and functions of internal financial reporting;  Analyze the relative financial strength of your business;  Improve your cash flow;  Use several different strategies to analyze the performance of your business You can get this e-book and other helpful tools to make your business prosper by visiting our “Resources for Professionalism” section in our bookstore. Travel Institute members save 10%.
  27. 27. Anti-Spam Comparisons Here is a great overview of the CAN-SPAM program in the US and Canada’s CASL program coming into effect as of July 1st 2014. Click here to view it on SlideShare.net. http://www.slideshare.net/DentonsGlobal/comparing-casl-to- canspam-22498536 As you review the various anti-spam programs by country on the grid below, you will notice some countries have stronger penalties than Canada’s ten million dollar fines. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The following table represents laws in respective countries which restrict the use of Email spam. Note: Countries marked with red are listed in the Spamhaus' Worst Spam Origin Countries. Country Legislation Argentina Personal Data Protection Act (2000) Australia Spam Act 2003 Austria Austrian Telecommunications Act 1997 Belgium Loi du 11 mars 2003 Brazil None (loosely; Movimento Brasileiro de Combate ao Spam) Canada Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act 2000 (PIPEDA) Canada Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam Act 2010 China Regulations on Internet email Services - Death penalty risked by spammers Cyprus Regulation of Electronic Communications and Postal Services Law of 2004 Czech Republic Act No. 480/2004 Coll., on Certain Information Society Services
  28. 28. Country Legislation Denmark Danish marketing practices act European Union Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications Finland Act on Data Protection in Electronic Communications (516/2004) France Law of June 21 2004 for the confidence in the numerical economy Germany Act against Unfair Competition Hong Kong Unsolicited Electronic Messaging Ordinance Hungary Act CVIII of 2001 on Electronic Commerce India None (loosely; Information Technology Act, 2000 §67) Indonesia Undang-undang Informasi dan Transaksi Elektronic (ITE) (Internet Law) Ireland European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations 2003 Israel Communications Law (Telecommunications and Broadcasting) Italy Data Protection Code (Legislative Decree no. 196/2003) Japan The Law on Regulation of Transmission of Specified Electronic Mail Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 Malta Data Protection Act (CAP 440) Mexico None Netherlands Dutch Telecommunications Act New Zealand Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 Pakistan Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance 2007 Russia None (loosely: Russian Civil Code: Art.309) Singapore Spam Control Act 2007 South Africa Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, 2002 South Africa Consumer Protection Act, 2008 South Korea Act on Promotion of Information and Communication and Communications Network Utilization and Information Protection of 2001 Spain Act 34/2002 of 11 July on Information Society Services and Electronic Commerce Sweden Swedish Marketing Act United Kingdom Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 United States Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN- SPAM Act of 2003) It’s a good idea to review the anti-spam legislation of countries where you might intend to do business, by promoting inbound or outbound tours, or custom travel services. Might as well stay on the right side of the law, all laws in fact versus facing a penalty ranging from $100 to death! Make sure your own email program cannot be compromised by overseas spammers who search for unprotected computers through which they will spam the universe from your ISP. Your anti-virus program may appear strong, however it may not protect you from hackers. Wi-Fi, if not set up correctly can be an open door with a welcome mat for that same hacker / spammer. Tighten everything up 100%. 
  29. 29. APProval is the Game Got time? Got money? Got Apps? Ya do… well good on ya! Here’s where you might be able to join the rich and famous if your app takes off and wins you thousands of people who join, play, subscribe and pay to use your app. Why would they do that? What’s in it for them? Well there’s something happening out there in the app world and it’s huge. People are downloading free apps and then paying for the upgrade or in terms of a game, paying to go to the next level – overall to win the prize. Let’s explore the app strategy with travel in mind and gaining those permission based sign-ups. First things first click to this post. Read it and decipher the content in terms of your own business as I review one or two of its comments. http://www.colloquy.com/article_view.asp?xd=11294 I like this one, as the amount is staggering and it is based on purchases made once someone has downloaded an app and then made additional purchases via that app…. … revenues from in-app purchases predicted to top $18 billion worldwide this year… Another staggering number is this one: …102 billion apps downloaded in 2013… This is a worthy note to remember: A Localytics study of nearly 30 million app- users found that of all users who made an in- app purchase, 44% didn’t do so until they had used an app at least 10 times. Okay, read the report, state the obligatory WOW and then start pondering how you could create an app, a travel related app that could do one or more things: generate sales of the app and generate sales of travel. You might want to be thinking a travel game. Gamification works. Games as you well know are big business and not restricted to the younger generations. If, however you are chasing those GEN Y clients, then you have a perfect match. Your challenge now is to create an app, a travel app, a world adventure app, a travel game that delivers points and badges and trips of a lifetime to the winner. Get your head onto this idea and work with your suppliers to determine who can best fit into your app plans. Nothing is free any more. You don’t have to give it all away to collect an email address or sell something. We’ve moved from Free to Fee and that means you keep that momentum going as you ponder creating a profitable app through which you can attract more clients and sell more travel. Your app will be marketed, downloaded, shared amongst like-minded people and the base will grow. You will not be spamming anyone or challenging the CASL and CAN-SPAM laws. Look for an app creation program like the one shown below and see what you can come up with as your App image. 
  30. 30. The Consent Request As always my good pal and sender of all things on the edge, Mike T. forwarded an email to me with a subject line reading “My first request…” – and sure enough there it was and here it is. As I read the request I thought it was good enough to weave a few travel related words and phrases into a similar layout. See below… Try this… We hope that you find the travel brochures, promotions, updates, newsletters and invitations that we send you insightful and valuable. Canada's anti-spam legislation (CASL), which comes into effect on July 1, 2014, requires us to obtain your consent to continue to receive emails and other forms of communication from us. Keeping you advised is very important to us and we would like to continue providing you with the travel information that is relevant to you. But, in order to stay in touch, we require your consent. Please provide your consent to continue to receive relevant and timely information from us. You may withdraw your consent or update your preferences at any time.  Yes, I give you my consent  No, I do not give you my consent. You will need to create an opt-in and opt-out / unsubscribe link and then you should be ready to accept the updates from your clients. Email this consent request to your entire customer list and follow up by phone with those who did not respond. 
  31. 31. When you need one-to-one training contact the Home Based Travel Agent Trainer… If you would like a one-to-many training session, invite your local home-based colleagues to your home office then gather round your computer screen for the training session. All sessions are conducted using Skype – so be sure to download the program here: www.skype.com Send your topic and request an hourly or project training quote. steve@ic-travelagent.com
  32. 32. Marketing Tip What have you got planned around the FIFA World Cup event? It’s a prime time to be promoting your tours to South America and to take advantage of the TV coverage as they showcase Brazil. FIFA World Cup 2014 begins on Thursday, June 12 and ends on Sunday, July 13
  33. 33. Not all Host Agencies are alike…. If you are thinking of becoming a home based agent, or you already are a home based agent but you feel you may not be getting all the support your need, there are a variety of things you will want to consider. It is important to shop around and compare programs that are offered by various companies with At Home networks. If you currently work in an agency or in a call center, take a moment to think about all the things that you likely take for granted. Things like marketing, accounting, GDS systems, IT support, telephone system, advice and support, camaraderie, product training, fams, conferences, and your pay cheque! You will want to replace as many of those as you can when you move to running your own business from your home. Your host agency should be able to support you in every way. But it is not just a question of ticking those boxes. You need to ask the right questions about these things. Let’s take Marketing….how much is available, is there a cost? Do they do it for you or is it all up to you? How about invoicing? Do you control when and how you invoice or is this done centrally? And what is the turnaround if you have to send your invoicing to a head office? What about BSP ticketing? How fast is the turnaround? And your commissions, how often do you get paid? What is the accounting system like? Is it user friendly? Will you receive adequate training? Will you be able to see your sales and know where you stand at any time during each month? Training is very important. Ask how much dedicated training do you receive as an experienced agent when you start with their company? This can vary widely. What about the telephone system or do you just work off your mobile? Is there vacation assistance while you are away with an experienced agent who you would trust your clients with? Does your host agency provide referrals? How does this work? And finally, does your host agency provide a sense of community? Will you be able to have contact with your fellow home based agents and how is that provided? Keep this checklist with you when you are shopping around for a host agency!  By Jill Wykes Brought to you by The Travel Agent Next Door
  34. 34. Press Releases / Blogs Ahhh… the long lost press release. Once it held a worthy role and position in the marketing activity of travel agents, but today, not so much. Mind you, it might have morphed into what we now call a Blog and if you are a blogger then you’ll be way ahead of the game. So Press Release or Blog… the concept works nicely with anti-spam laws. If you are not writing and submitting press releases, it’s probably time to do so. A press release is created and “released” to various media people and businesses who would read it and use it as filler – something that fills in the white space in a magazine or newspaper – when the day is short on news. As the press release is not sent directly to a consumer, you’ll not fall foul of the anti-spam laws. You will be in a B2B mode, a business-to- business transaction and the business that receives your press release will be the likes of local newspaper and magazine, radio stations and local TV stations too. You might also choose to blog to the world and to the general public e.g. to no one in particular. If you send your blog to someone you do not have on your permission based list then you are running against the anti-spam laws. The mass media blog is the best way to go and consumers will access it based on their online activities and once they read it and like it they might just click on the RSS button to subscribe to it. By doing that, they would have opted in to receive further blog posts. The thing about RSS news feeds is that the consumer inspires the connection and it is your computer, internet, newsfeed technology that transmits your post to those that register to receive it. You are in fact not sending it direct. Your press releases and blogs should however encourage readers to sign up, to join and opt-in to your main list. Then you can make direct contact with permission to do so. PR WEB This company has been around for a while now and by using their services your press release will go out to their subscribers. I subscribe to PR WEB and often receive press releases of interest to me and of course I opt-in to get further information. The same event will happen for you should what you write compel someone to follow up with you. The basic press release service is $99 per release. PR LOG This service offers a free program – and it does work. Although it took some time to go somewhere my releases were picked up. TRAVPR A dedicated travel trade PR service is TRAVEPR and it is one of the best. Rates are excellent and very affordable.
  35. 35. Your Own Blog Your website might have a blog attached to it and if it does then click on the tab to activate it and try writing a new post. I use the Weebly website program and it comes with a built in blog. Someone wishing to subscribe would as mentioned, click on the small RSS icon in my blog, or your blog. Blogging Websites There are many websites that will take your post and or your press release and show them to the world. You’ll need to review each website to make sure the recipients match the travel profile you are looking for and want to attract as clients. BrooWaHa A share-your-news website where you can post your post. You cannot be selling anything here, so your press release should be more of a compelling story about travel that encourages the reader to make contact. TravelPod Here’s a dedicated travel blogging website where you can open an account and start posting right away. THINGS TO KNOW Are you ready to write? Of course you are. Choose your best story, support it with your fabulous photographs and videos if you have them. Stop by this 57 Tips checklist when you have time to read and apply the information. Keep it in mind that when you post to certain websites your press releases cannot be a direct sales pitch. It is your artful use of words and phrases and the ability to write compelling and interesting articles that will attract a reader to become a client and book their trips with you. Search online or look locally for training on how to write a press release and how to blog about travel. VNR - Video News Release As you well know, video sells travel. It can also pitch your news much better than text – just as long as your video is captivating and the spokesperson is well trained to speak on camera. Search for a VNR service in your neck of the woods and / or add a video to you current press release, blogging activities. SlideShare Another idea, making use of a well-known tool, would be to tell your story via PowerPoint and then post it on SlideShare. The concept of write and release is now a skill worth learning. Blogging too. Either way, you can also send your news to the clients who have opted-in to receive all communications from you. Now you can send those same news releases out into the world to attract more clients who will click to join if what you are writing about, intrigues them enough to make the click. The more you write and release the more chances you’ll create for building your client list. It’s a matter of factoring in the time to do so, and perhaps link it all to your social media activities. 
  36. 36. Radio Shows Okay, who likes to chat, have a natter, talk about travel? You do? Excellent. Well if that’s true for you then why not go with that traditional activity travel agents have done in the past and get yourself invited to chat with a radio host on your local radio station. Yes you can go old style. Meet at the radio station studio, sit opposite the program host and deliver. Digital radio stations are beaming out to those who have downloaded their app adding another radio show option. Let’s explore this prospect generating tool: Today, radio is for listening via huge headsets, mini speakers and your in-car radio speakers that synch to a digital device. Fact is radio is one of the best avenues to promote yourself and your travel products, tours and services. A quick chat with the radio station sales team and you will find out the best time slot to reach the audience you wish to attract. No spamming here of course as the listeners are tuning in of their own volition. The 30 Second Spot You can say a lot in 30 seconds. Work with the radio ad development team and also check for voice talent. You could do it yourself, but if you do not have that all powerful, deep rich voice for men or that captivating voice for women, then let the pros deliver your message. The Travel Program If the local radio station does not have a travel talk show then jump on that situation, write it up, package your idea and head off to make a presentation. Chat with your preferred suppliers first to find out if they would like to support you and underwrite it if and when required. The radio station might be looking for something new and exciting, especially how to travel and where to travel in the present day given all the challenges the world is facing right now. If you can talk about smart handheld devices, travel apps PLUS offer a competition to win a trip (working with your suppliers) even better. Gaining Prospects The radio station is very familiar with rules and regulations and they can advise you about responding to those that opt-in to participate in the travel promotion. You will be on the right side of the anti-spam police – so no worries. Here’s where you can source your local radio stations for Canada and the US by province and state. http://radio-locator.com/cgi-bin/page?page=provs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_radio_stations_in_Canada http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Lists_of_radio_stations_in _the_United_States You might just become the talk of the town as you talk about yourself and INVITE listeners to visit your website, subscribe to your blog and request more information and all without a spec of spam! 
  37. 37. Spam ‘N’ Chips As you may well know “one person’s spam is another person’s interest” – however most countries are forging ahead with their anti-spam rules and both the USA and Canada have very tight legislation with Canada presenting one of the toughest which also affects US businesses if they are emailing north of the 49th that is. The challenge is that the rules and regulations although meant to protect everyone, the aspiring travel agent and the new home-based travel agent are going to have a hard time gaining new clients unless they go social. The US have had their CAN SPAM rulings for some time now as has Australia and the UK and many other counties. There are some pretty harsh penalties if you’re caught bothering the average person online. Not that it’s stopped certain drug, lawnmower or birdseed spammers from loading up my email with trash! And those telemarketers still disturb my evening meal! Why is it that the “crooks” can always get past the rules despite my being on a “no call” list and having anti-spam / anti-virus installed? But then the rules are written not for the crooks – only to prevent the good guys from generating a decent dollar – or so it seems. The Canadian spam laws are going to hinder any new travel agent from building a book of business unless they work their magic in accordance with the rules and also invest more time in building social media connections. Check In With Your Host If you have not yet done so, American HBAs should check here at this link and also explore what your local and state rules are too. http://www.fcc.gov/guides/spam-unwanted-text- messages-and-email Canadian HBAs can check here for their spam information: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/casl-lcap.htm Next is to check in with your host agency and ask how they suggest you handle the anti-spam rules. You cannot do very much to avoid them but you can make sure you are using the right tools and correct text. Your host agency should be ahead of the game and have ready-made templates and or scripts for you to use. Going Social Social media is going to play a bigger role in how you build a mailing list. Better start now and create an account on any and all social networks. Travel is very attractive and if your host agency has ready-made social media tools then now is the time to apply them. You’ve got to go Facebook as most people using social media are on it. Then there’s all the other social sites and although you’ll be spending more time at the keyboard to pump up your social buzz, it’s got to be done. So you’ll be Tweeting about your recent and most fabulous trip to entice someone to make contact. Same for what you pin on Pinterest. Got to be such a powerful image that pulls people to you. Keep going… make sure you take a look at all current social networks and even the niche networks that service only book lovers, golfers etc., whatever your travel niche is, be sure to locate the social network that serves it. More Ad Money Too You’ll need to fund more local advertising to attract would be customers to opt-in to receive your newsletter or simply to subscribe to your email list to give you what all spam laws are requesting: a person’s permission to email them or send messages to their mobile phone. That’s spam law and the chips are down!
  38. 38. You must be aware of what you send out unsolicited to someone’s mobile phone – however you can post that fantastic video of your most recent trip and post it on YouTube, Facebook and Tweet about it and eventually that social media marketing activity will be picked up, watched, forwarded, shared, sent viral – all the things you want to have happen to your post BUT your video content must be BEST. Not only must it be BEST, you’ll want to build in a call-to-action to encourage whomever receives your post to connect to you socially or opt in to your email list. As mentioned before in previous issues of IC TA it’s time for you to become very familiar with creating video, using your own images and learning to write about your travels – all being done in an attractive format that suits social media and aimed at building the list you need and want. You’ll want to study a variety of tools such as Animoto, PowerPoint, The Logo Creator, Snag It and a host of other easy, DIY creative tools. At this point Canadian home-based travel agents should start to take a hard look at what they have to do to meet the June deadlines. American home-based agents should double check the federal and state anti-spam laws should there be any updates caused by the Canadian program. For the rest of the world, if your anti-spam laws are not so tough at the moment they will change in due course. It’s the way it is. So it’s best that you start working more social media marketing into the general marketing activity. LOCAL CONSUMER EVENTS You’ll be familiar with the word Mixer as it applies to monthly gatherings of small groups of travel agents mixing with suppliers, enjoying a few hours together after 5pm to share knowledge, learn something new, develop relationships, taste some food and sup some beer. The MIXER concept is a terrific spin off of the generic consumer event – the Cruise Night, the day time Coffee Event etc. You would do well to start a series of consumer mixers, you being the speaker and perhaps involve some of your known clients to chat about their travels. If you can work with a supplier or tourist board do so. Now with the arrangements made – start marketing the event. Here’s a rough layout that you can use to kickstart your own ad ideas. 
  39. 39. The Photo Page Vapour Trails Taken with an iPhone 5 Sometimes it’s just there. In this case I looked up and two vapour trails were crossing and fluffing out with the sun setting to the left. What came to mind was a marketing campaign called “X Marks The Spot”. Starting with a title on the image as you can see “Airfares to Europe” and then perhaps a list of key cities and the rates could follow underneath. Steve Crowhurst Steve Crowhurst ©Steve Crowhurst
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  41. 41. 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 MyEscapades.com.We 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, MyEscapades.com 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 | info@myescapades.ca | www. myescapades.ca BonvoYage THE HUNTINGTON GROUPHUNTINGTONThe agents choice since 1973 BIGBARKGRAPHICS.com T: 905.857.6333 | TF: 1.866.607.1556 | sales@bigbarkgraphics.com 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).
  42. 42. www.ic-travelagent.com Be Sure to Share