Episode 72:

 Travel Agent Finder - A New Way of Being  Connected To Clients with Anna Shannon

You can listen directly here. 

Most travel business owners started their businesses because they love the work they do, but feel overwhelmed in connecting with clients. Unfortunately, your business won’t survive if you’re not good at attracting new customers. Your travel business needs customers to survive and grow. 

However, in today’s digital world, the possibilities are endless. Millions of people all over the world are searching for information every day on Google, YouTube and many other websites. It is a great opportunity to reach and connect with more clients.

Our guest for today’s podcast episode is Anna Shannon, the woman behind Travel Agent Finder Australia.  Anna created Travel Agent Finder with her marketing expertise after losing her job during the Pandemic to help rebuild the travel business industry. The platform is designed to showcase travel advisors’ expertise and credentials, while also helping travellers connect with the right expert for their needs through a specialist search engine. 

Ros and Anna talked about the importance of marketing  and search engine optimization to connect with new clients, reach more customers, and increase the visibility of their business. 

Anna walked us through the process of how Travel Agent Finder works without having to put all your time and money. She also shared a story about one of her clients, who signed up on Travel Agent Finder and had a great impact on her business.

As a business owner, you should be focusing on marketing your business in many ways. But not all owners have more time and afford to spend 1000s dollars on advertising and building a traffic generating SEO website. That is why Anna created this search engine platform to showcase travel advisors’ expertise and credentials, while also helping travellers connect with the right expert for their needs through a specialist search engine. 

Anna believes that travellers need to book with a travel professional, now more than ever, and should have access to all the knowledge and expertise travel advisors offer. Travel Agent Finder connects travellers with the experts they need to navigate travel.

Anna believes that travellers need to book with a travel professional, now more than ever, and should have access to all the knowledge and expertise travel advisors offer. Travel Agent Finder connects travellers with the experts they need to navigate travel. 

Grab all the details and links to Anna S and her programs and social pages below!

On that note, we’d also love to have you in the Achievers in Travel - Facebook group, make sure you join the FREE community. Achievers in Travel - Accountability Group.

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Quotes from this Episode 

From a business point of view, you need to be marketing and talking about yourself, if you want to be seen, if you want new business, you need to actively tell people that you have a business - Roslyn

Positioning yourself with the things that you know best, that you enjoy booking, that you're passionate about, it helps to attract your ideal client. - Anna Shannon

When you are focused, and when you know what you love to book and the people that you love to work with, your business is going to flourish, because you'll always want to work in it and be honoured and bring in new people that will give you that extra spark in life. - Roslyn

The more places you are, your business and your expertise is listed on the internet, that also has a lot of sway with Google too. - Anna Shannon

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"Travel Agent Finder - A new way of being connected to clients with Anna Shannon"

Ros: Good morning. Hello. Good evening, wherever you are Travel Agent Achievers, listeners. It's Ros here, your podcast host of the Travel Agent Achievers podcast. I have another awesome guest and you guys are lucky. Today I have Anna Shannon from Travel Agent Finder joining me on the podcast to talk about all things travelagentfinder.com.au. An incredible platform. 


Anna and I have met a couple of times now, this is our first time recording a podcast episode together. But I've asked her to come on because I think what she's doing is very unique for the industry. She is a massive champion advocating to get travel advisors online, getting them more exposure. I am honored and proud to say that she is also a friend of mine. This all came about through mutual friends of ours and also the National travel industry awards for 2022, of which Anna and I are both finalists in the category of most popular support service for an individual, so myself for Travel Agent, Achievers and Anna for travelagentfinder.com.au. 


Now, let me tell you a little bit about Anna and her background. She's gonna tell you more about what she's actually done but Travel Agent Finder. So she's very similar to me in that she also believes that travelers need to book with a travel professional, and now more than ever, and that's why she created during the pandemic, what was initially a passion project with her marketing skills. We all know that I love people that have those business skills, Travel Agent Finder. 


Now travel agent finder is a specialised search engine specific to our industry. It showcases travel advisors' expertise, their experience, their knowledge, their credentials, and when I say credentials, that means that you are also a specialist in a country or a supplier or product. But she also in addition to that showcases the advisor, but she also helps travelers connect with the right expert for exactly what they're looking for through this very special search engine. At the moment it is for Australian travel advisors. But it gives you so much more online exposure to improve your digital marketing precedents. It's also going to help you build your authority in your niche and a bonus generate targeted leads for what you actually love booking. 


Now, Anna, welcome to the Travel Agent Achievers podcast. I am thrilled that you are here today, coming to me from Sydney but soon to be potential another destination. I love travel. We get to go everywhere. Hello, good morning and welcome.

Anna: Good morning. Thank you so much for having me today. This is really exciting for me.


Ros: It's exciting for you. It's exciting for me, it's another early morning podcast recording. I'm finding that this is actually quite fun to do it this early in the morning because we get up and we get to have a chat. It's first thing in the morning. You know sometimes there's husky voices, but that's okay, we get over it. We just get on with our day once this is done. So this is a bit like our listeners as well, jumping up in the morning, going for a walk exercising, so I kind of feel we're a little bit more connected. But I love it.


Anna: It's a good way to start the day. 


Ros: Absolutely. So Anna, welcome. Thank you for being here. I am thrilled that I have gotten to know you over the last couple of years. I've been one of those advisors myself secretly watching in the background, what you're up to, what you're doing, what is travel agent finder. Can you just share a little bit about yourself and your background and how this has all come about? Like you are a Travel Advisor as well. So tell us a little bit about what you've done.

Anna: Yeah, sure. So originally, I was actually a marketer for corporate brands. So you know, study marketing at Uni, worked for some really great companies like Revlon cosmetics, Pacific, Channel Seven, Better Homes and Gardens magazine. At the time I remember feeling a little bit despondent towards the end of that career. Let's say because it was a big change. I really felt like my job in life was to make people buy things they didn't want anyway, so it's sort of like I know it's a very blunt way of looking at marketing a secondary and  I've loved.

Ros: We'd love you.


Anna: Oh, I know. I know. We know we do.


Ros: We do for sure about that  grounds. The marketing. Yeah, love it. 


Anna: Corporate background  I began to feel like I wasn't enjoying my life. I wanted to do something that I really loved and that's sort of where I ended up shifting into travel, became a novice Flight Center consultant, learnt from the ground up, really loved it and was doing that for 10 years. 


Towards the end, so let's say the last four or five of those years, I was a home based agent, basically just running my repeat and referral clients from my home office, occasionally meeting in a store. So I have that background from the marketing expertise, but also, I understand what it's like to be a travel agent, especially in that home based arena. Let's say. And, yes, then, of course, we all know what happened next.


Ros: Yes,  we all know what happened next.


Anna: Yes, my story is like many others, I watched my really successful business disappear overnight, pretty much and found myself. I was on a bit of a funny home base contract. I found myself stood down and then made redundant.


Ros: Home Based advisor.


Anna : Yes, yes. 


Ros: Oh, yeah!


Anna: It was really, really tough. It was tough for all of us, of course, but going from being sort of at the top of your company, or the top of your region, to not having a job was really, really distressing and lonely.


Ros: Yeah, with the clients that you've built rapport with over 10 years to just have that ripped away from you as well. 


Anna: Absolutely. They will like my family and friends by the end of it, because I've been booking them for so long. I mean, they still call me now to see what's happening. 


Ros: That's lovely. 


Anna: Yeah. Which is lovely. But it was difficult at the time, they couldn't understand. They said, but you're so good. How did you lose your job? Anyway, travel companies did what they needed to survive, of course, totally understandable. But I found myself without a job in an industry where there were no jobs going. 

So I sort of went back to my old career, begrudgingly, but I started working, I started doing marketing activities for some small businesses in my area. I realized it wasn't actually the marketing that I had hated back then, it was just the way that I was doing it, or for the sake of larger corporate brands.


I was working with owner operator, small businesses. You know, these guys were doing what they did best whether it was a handyman, there was a small hotel, that was spa shop, landscaping, but they didn't know anything about marketing. 


They didn't know anything about SEO, social media. So I started doing social media activities, a few like marketing activities for them. I realized quite quickly how impactful that was for them, how I was able to help them. 


So I spent a bit of time kind of upskilling, from my previous marketing knowledge, because obviously, the digital world had changed a lot since I wasn't, I was doing that job. But it really showed me that I could make a difference to people's lives, especially small businesses, when they needed to to concentrate on what they did best. 


They could leave that side of it to me. As time went on, I could see the impact I was making. I just started thinking, well, how can I do this for people in the industry that I love so much, and especially people who really need that help right now, or they're going to need that help. 


So that's sort of how it came about. I realized quite quickly that they were estimating only about 10% of travel agents were left in Australia when I think it was when Job cable was about to end that that statistic came out. 


Ros: I really thought it was like 30 as dropping further. 


Anna: No, I think that was the estimate. Yeah. That was somebody's estimate at the time. I don't know how they came up with that number. Right. Shocking to me. Yeah. I thought, yeah, so people are, “how are people going to find who's left? How was I going to help my own clients, my old clients”, because they kept calling me saying, you know, how do we find someone like you and I didn't know it, because all my friends who are travel agents have lost their job too.


 I mean, it came about for a few reasons, I could see that I would be able to, to help the industry rebuild, perhaps help agents with their marketing, the marketing side of things, so they they could concentrate on what they were good at, which was you know, selling and booking travel and building those relationships, but also help travelers because I think when people are looking for something new, and we knew they would be we knew that trick, travel was getting trickier they would need more people would need to find an agent.

Then what about those say 90% of people who don't have their favorite agent anymore, they would need to find someone new as well. When we look for new services, I think these days we go online, we go online to search, we like to be able to look at reviews. 


We like to be able to have options and make our decision from there and that's really how the platform came about in the way that it did. It's designed as a search engine so that people can search by destination knowledge or expertise in a particular travel style, like, perhaps adventure travel or cruise holidays, river cruises, accessible travel, just making it as easy as possible for travelers to find the right person on one site. 


Ros: Yeah.


Anna:  I think from the agent's point of view, it's great to be able to have a place where you can showcase what you're good at. And also it does generate leads for those agents too. And why not get more leads for exactly what you love to book and exactly what you know, really well.


Ros: Yeah, I love that whole background and how it came together. Like for a lot of people, travel advisors, we work in very complex systems. I would have to say what you have built is no mean feat, like this is a very complex, always changing and evolving thing that you've actually done with building travel agent finder, it's not a very simple solution to work together a website and say, hey, everybody doing this, like there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. 


I know that you are working on this day in and day out to make sure that it is the best system for travel advisors to get noticed. Particularly from a marketing point of view, it's just an extra thing, but it's something that as travel advisors, we don't know how to do. We don't understand. This is where one thing that I love about Travel Agent Achievers in our community is that we're always wanting to learn new things, and implement small, easy bite sized strategies into business to help you move forward. 


So to have something like Travel agent finder as part of your business and marketing model, for me, I look at it as a business owner, this is a no brainer. Like if I want to be working specifically with a specific clientele, whether it's a destination, whether it is a supplier of choice, whether it is a specialty of unique skills, then to be on travel agent finder, it's a no brainer because clients are going there. 


So what have you done? Can you just tell us a little bit like how does travel agent find out work? Because you've just mentioned one word, SEO? A lot of people don't even know what that is. SEO is search engine optimization. You said this before we started recording, it's all the Google juice.

Anna:  Google juice my favorite term? I mean.


Ros: It's so technical, but it's so golden. It means everything. And so how does travel agent find work? If you can give us a non technical version?


Anna: Sure, yeah, I will, I will do my best to stop me if I'm using.


Ros: Oh, get it and a few people might but I want to make sure that everybody does understand.


Anna: I guess, you know, with being locked down at home without a job and being used to working 80 hours a week, I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands. So I was really strategic about the whole thing. It wasn't I say it's a pandemic project that I started but, I had a lot of time to really think about how it was going to work and how it was going to make a difference and what I needed to do to make that happen. 


I really worked on it for about, I think it was seven months before I even told anyone about it, like, apart from my husband, not even my family or friends because I wasn't really sure if I was going to, it seemed like quite a big idea. I wasn't even sure if I was backing myself to be able to get there. 


I'd never built a website before. So from a strategic point of view, I was working on the factors that contribute to the search engine optimization of a website actually for nine months before I launched it. So there is a lot that goes into search engine marketing. I would not call myself an expert in that, by the way, but I felt that I could make do with the skills that I had to a certain point before I got helped by an expert or a specialist in that. I was as I said I was working on that for quite some time, it can take six to 12 months for that type of work to really kick in in terms of your search rankings. 


But basically what search engine optimization is, is looking at the structure of your site and the content that you're putting on your site, and how that affects the way that Google finds you. I should say the way people find you on Google, so when people are searching for something, if we need a new service, or we're looking for a new person, pretty much most of us Google. I know that personal recommendation and tips are also really important in this type of thing. 


But often that is used with Googling and looking at what's available and sort of making a choice from there. So I've been putting in strategies and implementing things right from the very beginning, as I said, even nine months before I launched, to make sure that my site was going to be found so that travel agents could be found and realistically, most agents are not search engine optimization, marketers, and they shouldn't need to be I mean, what you're good at is what you should be doing and by me focusing on this for you, and having a profile on travel agent finder is going to help you get found without you having to put all your time and money into the search engine side of it, because I'm putting all my time and money into the search engine side of it so that you can be found for what you're good at. Does that?


Ros:  Yeah, absolutely. So as as an advisor, how it works for us is you jump onto the site and you sign up, you enter in all of the information about yourself, your expertise, there are countries of choice that you can say that you're an expert in, you might be able to say that you are a specialist in a destination or a supplier and you get a certain badge for that and behind the scenes. 


So all the technical stuff that goes on behind the scenes is what will push your profile closer to the top of the rankings on Google. So if somebody goes on and searches for your specialist, or what you're really good at, or if you've been writing blogs about it, or if you've got a group going to the destination, it will actually from a behind the scenes technical point of view, pull that information out of the into interwebs and showcase you to the top of the list. 


That is always the goal is to have you as close to the top as possible from a search point of view. Now, that doesn't always happen. There are other things that go into all of this, you may not be number one ranked on Google for being a specialist in Georgia, I don't know I've just picked a country out. But any additional information that you have about yourself, your expertise will be found on Google, like this is one of the things like when we talk about ourselves on the internet. It all comes together like this is how clever. The Internet is and how clever the Google juices are. They can pull all of this information together from like a big spider's web into the spider and then showcase you to the world.


Anna:  That's a really good way to put it actually, it's like a spider web. The more places you are, your business and your expertise is listed on the internet, that also has a lot of sway with Google too. I have had people say to me, but I'm in my company or my head offices, find a travel agent page, that's great. The more places you can be, look for directories, look for where you can advertise your business, because it all helps you


Ros: Every piece counts. But with Travel Agent Finder like this is very specific. So that's from a Travel Advisor point of view. Now if you're a consumer, this is one of the benefits for travel advisors, as well. So if you're a consumer and you're going on to the internet, you go on to Google and you search for a destination or you say travel agent for Australia or a particular place. There then this is where the work that Anna has done and travelagentfinder.com.au is bought to the top because it will showcase you as an actual human and Travel Advisor as the specialist and say, Hey, Pick Me! Pick Me !because this is who you need to be booking with as a specialist. Is that about right?

Anna:  Yeah, absolutely. It all works to get people to the site, your profile, but if not your profile that site where they can find you from now.


Ros: Yeah,I love that. It's a directory as well. So from your knowledge, it's now been out in the general public. I know for travel agents in Australia, there is a free option that you can sign up for. We'll talk a little bit more about that a bit later. But what impact have you seen it have on not only the consumer, but also the advisor. So what stories of advice have been coming to you or consumers coming to you saying, “Hey, Anna, oh, my goodness, I've just found this amazing human, we're working together what's happened”?


Anna:   Yeah, I mean, I don't even know where to start. There's so many stories that I could tell you. I don't know anyone, I also don't want to put people on the spot. But, I see it every single day, I've had people contact me, thanking me for using the agent that they found on the site. 


A little funny story, I actually use my own site to recommend agents to all my previous clients. They're still as I said, they still call me because we were so close. We'd known each other for so long. So it's really nice for me to actually know, I didn't know what to say before, but now I can say, “Oh, actually, I know exactly the right person for you. Because I know how they work. I know what they like, I know what they're looking for”. And it's really, it's quite fun. 


It's almost like being a travel agent matchmaker, someone called me, which is a good way to explain it. Yes, yours. Absolutely. I mean, it's a lot of fun matching people up because especially when,with those old clients that I know, both sides, and I know who's going to work together. So, I've had agency have had, 100k bookings from things like that.


I can't promise anyone who joins up that they're going to get 100k booking but you never know, right? I've had an agent call me who was going through some really tough, some tough times. At the time, personally, I was thinking about closing down her business, and just didn't think she could do it anymore. She rang me to thank me, because she got a booking for I think was about 28k or something. She was just so excited. 


She had just signed up with Travel Agent Finder, I think around six weeks before and she said, “You know, I've been on my company's agent page for eight years, and really not got too many bites from that”. Here I am joining travel agent finder, I've just got this amazing booking. I just want to thank you because, , I was thinking about stopping my business, but I feel energized again. It's so lovely to hear stories like that. From the traveler's point of view as well. You know, the recent Disney Cruise is a good one. I had so many people reach out to me saying, Anna, I know you're not a travel agent anymore. But I know and I know that the Disney cruises are going to sell out really quickly. Who can I know, who can I book with? Who can you put me in touch with? So it? It's really fun. 

I must admit, I love talking to agents every day. I also have had a lot of suppliers in the industry and industry colleagues reach out to me and say, Look, I know, this isn't why you built travel agent finder, but I've actually been using it to find out, who's still around, who's operating, and how to find them.I think that the majority of agents on my site. Around 90% of them actually are home based independent, mobile remote agents, which, to me, I think it's really exactly what I hoped for, because these are, usually their own small business owners, and they do need to take more of an interest.


 I guess, in marketing their business and positioning themselves. Of course, I have Flight Center and Hello world agents on the site as well. But, a lot of the time we're hearing that they've got queues out the door.


Ros: Yeah, absolutely, the storefronts are as slow.


Anna: Yeah, exactly. So it's great to have this, this group of agents with specialist expertise that I can link people with. It helps both sides. I mean, the traveler wins because they've got an expert booking their trip. Of course, the agent gets to book more of what they love, which is amazing. So it's, it's very rewarding for me to actually see what I had hoped happened.


Ros:  Yeah. I love that .Hearing how you've also given your clients that you love dearly in her the opportunity to find another advisor that is a specialist in what they're looking for. You can also match them together. I know that I've personally also had clients that have come to me and the work that I do with Travel Agent Achievers. Now it's a lot of my time. I still have my travel business, but I spend a lot of my time there and I've also reached out to you as well and Oregon, got this client and they have a tricky request. 


You were able to find somebody as well. So it's a beautiful as As a matchmaking service, we want to try and for you not to be involved as much, and this is where advisors, I really encourage you to sign up on the platform, but get your profile schmick like, and actually talk about yourself and your expertise. I know that that is something that advisors can often find quite difficult to do actually talking about themselves. Here in Australia, there's big words that are thrown around that I absolutely hate,you bragging about yourself, or your the tall poppy syndrome, like all of that is rubbish. 


From a business point of view, you need to be marketing and talking about yourself, if you want to be seen, if you want to be seen, if you want new business, you need to actively tell people that you have a business and travel agent finder is a perfect opportunity for advisors to jump on, see what other people are writing, if you don't know what to write about yourself, to put your skills there, and your expertise and knowledge so that you can get found, but also to bring in those clients that you definitely want to be working with. 

So I encourage everybody to sign up. And you know, what is expected of an agent, then if they do actually sign up? Because I know, I would have to even look at my own host agency platform. I don't think I've updated that in many, many years. So I know that doesn't help me from a marketing point of view, because I'm not actively updating my own profile on my host agencies. site. But from  Travel agent finder, I mean, are you sending out regular emails to the advisors to say, hey, if you've done this, make sure you updated on the site, how do advisors know, to keep going and keep active on the site as well, Anna?


Anna: Sure. Well, I think the most important thing, when they first join, is to get that profile optimized. I do have, when agents join, I do have a page with tips on how to optimize your profile and make it most effective and use the space. I do also help because exactly what you were saying before, I think a lot of people find it hard to talk about themselves. 


I am actually exactly the same. So I get it.I've had agents say to me, Oh, I don't specialize in anything. I'm a generalist, I book, whatever comes to me, that's great. You can book whatever comes to you. But I think positioning yourself with the things that you know best that you enjoy booking that you're passionate about, it helps to attract your ideal client. 


Now, if someone else comes to you and wants to book something else, of course, you're going to book it, but it's important. I don't think that agents really back themselves. As much as they should, they think, and anyone can book a flight short, anyone can book a flight. 


But remember how much knowledge you have compared to the average person,they say I'm not an expert, or expert is relative. You are an expert compared to somebody else who hasn't worked in the industry for 15 years, like you are, well and truly an expert. 


So the platform is designed, the profile page is designed in a way to to highlight that, but I do try and help and I send out an fortnightly newsletter to the agents who are registered on their site with little updates in terms of new developments on the platform, or just reminding them to update their profile if anything has changed. 


A really good example, obviously, back when I launched the borders weren't even open, right? So a lot of people were specializing in Australian trips, because we couldn't really go anywhere. But as new destinations are opening, it's really great. I'm seeing agents jump in and select different specialties based on what they are really good at, but no one could go to that destination before. So I do have little prompts in the fortnightly newsletter just to remind people, if they've done a new specialist training program, add that to your profile, constantly adding new specialist categories to the site as well. 

So I'll update agents about that as another little reminder, too, but I think it is tricky, especially when you're really busy to remember to update those profiles. It's like if you think about the last time you updated your Facebook page, bio, I mean, for many it was years and years ago, 


Ros: Yeah. Who’s updated their photo recently? 


Anna: It's crazy.  It's hard when you're busy, but it is important and I think it's just something that you need to make a commitment to build into your routine, whether it's monthly, whether it's quarterly, just something touching on SEO, again, Google really loves any content updating. 


So just jumping in and updating even one line or one thing every now and then helps show Google that things are current and you're focusing on your business. Yeah. And you're updating and that you're a business that they want to push out to people because you're going to be the service that they need.


Ros: This is exactly what we talk about inside our Travel Agent Achievers programs and our mastermind, because as a business owner, and that's the big thing here, every mobile, home based, or if you are owning a storefront shopfront, you are a business owner, like your doors are open, you are accepting clients, you are exchanging money, you are a business. 


So focusing on the business is really important. I understand that everybody is busy, busy, exactly. As you're saying, we're all trying to be booking clients, we're all trying to do the doing and working in the business. But if you're able to spend an hour, once a month, or a couple of hours, we have a checklist that we give to our achievers members that say, here's a whole lot of things to tick off at the end of the month. Have you updated your Facebook profile? Have you got your birthday reports ready? 


Have you done this, this this and I think having something like that is really important for advisors, just to put aside, just block that one hour or two hours a month to go through those things. Because that is what will help you from a Google perspective.


 But also in your business, you're taking that extra step that other people won't be doing. The other thing that you touched on, there was also about your ideal clients and finding your niche and what you're a specialist in and what you love to book. If you haven't listened to Episode 31, we will link to it in the show notes. It's a whole series of questions to actually help you find out who is your ideal client, or who do you love working with who lights you up so that you can then focus specifically on speaking to that audience, because I know from a business perspective that if you try and speak to everyone, which I think Anna, you were also alluding to before, when people say I'm a generalist, and I kind of book everything, if you try and speak to everyone, you will end up getting no one, or you might get a few people and then you'll get all sorts of different things. 

I can guarantee you're gonna get frustrated because you then have all sorts of different bookings that aren't going to give you that energy that life. But when you are focused, and when you know what you love to book and the people that you love to work with, your business is going to flourish, because you'll always want to work in it and be honored and bring in new people that will give you that extra spark in life. 


So I love that you spoke about that and because I think from not only is it important in marketing, but it's also really important from a business perspective that we understand where we're actually going and what we want to do and who we want to work with. Because that increases our self worth, our value. And all of these other beautiful things. I could go on and on about that. 


So make sure you check out the show notes for the links to everything and where that's all that. Now we spoke, what's expected of an advisor, as we said, you know, once a month, just go in and update your profile, add in anything new, that's changed, that should only take five or 10 minutes, right?


Anna: Yeah, it's super, it's a super easy system to use.


Roslyn: Yeah, super user friendly. That's one thing that I know, from yours and my background in marketing, we want it to be easy. We don't like over complex things. It's just let me get in, get it done and move forward. Now you do have the free platform for Australian advisors. So if you haven't got that, please make sure that you go and sign up and get your profile there because it will help you for your travel business. But you also have other levels, which I personally think are a no brainer. 


When I spoke to you, and you told me about these a few months ago, I was like Are you for real? Is that all it costs? These are all the extra features that you get, Anna? Oh, my goodness. So you heard it here first, if you do not sign up for these extra levels. You know, I'm not actually going to tell you what I think but I think it's an absolute no brainer because working in your business and on your business. If you were to spend, you know, $59 a year, right, this isn't per month, this is a year or $99 per year to get exactly what Anna has spoken about. 


You know these bookings that come in she's just mentioned about Disney cruises. She's just mentioned about a $28,000 booking. She's mentioned $100,000 booking if you're not spending 59 or $99 a year to get access to leads that come in and help you grow your business to work on the clients that you love working with, I just think it's something super silly. Like it's a no brainer for me. It's something that you just go Yep, absolutely, that is part of my marketing budget. 


As a business owner, you need to be working on your marketing. Now, I don't say go out and spend 1000s of dollars on Facebook ads, I don't think that that is something that everybody needs to do. I think there are certain times and places for different sorts of marketing. But when it comes to the overall marketing of your business, I think if you're able to work on your business knowledge to increase your level of business acumen, if you are focused with where you're spending your marketing money, the returns will come in. So tell me a little bit about these extra levels that people can get when they sign up for your site, Anna? 


Anna: Sure. So there's extra features when you're a paid member.That is additional marketing support for me, including some published content on the site. So in terms of rankings, when a traveler is searching, you will come up higher. But you can also really use your page to showcase your expertise and build authority in your niche space. So to give you some examples, paid members can add publish content to the site, which is a traveler, consumer focused site, obviously people are coming to promote travel inspiration on the site too. 


But essentially, people are coming to find an expert. A lot of the traffic, website traffic that comes to the site comes in of blogs. So blogs and published content like special offers. Agents can add blogs, photo albums, special offers, if they put together group itineraries or special departments, or departures, or they're hosting their own tour, we can promote all of that on the website as well. 


We're getting travelers who are actively looking for someone to book their travel. So you're really getting them at the perfect time in sort of the booking journey. And I then promote that publish content on my social media. I have a newsletter that goes out to travelers every fortnight as well, driving people back to read your stories, your expertise, and driving them to your profile page to, hopefully connect and book with you. 


So if you are really focusing on a niche, and you want to build your digital presence around that and be known more for it 100% It is worth doing the upgraded plan, and the features that that offers. We have the most amazing agents in Australia, everywhere. But the experience that these people have is just incredible and not enough people know about it. So some of the blogs on my site are really great. I mean, travel inspiration blogs on other websites are often very SEO focused testing to get people in answering questions. 


But the beauty of this is, they're not written by SEO experts. They're written by travel agents. So they're real stories and people love that. So as an agent, you're giving advice and tips, it might seem like you're giving away your knowledge, but actually you're just showcasing to the world. How much you know about this particular destination or what makes you the right person to book with. So it's a great way to build your digital presence in that space if you're wanting to focus on your marketing without spending too much time on it, because I do help with those types of things. 


Then you know, I push it out and share it with the followers and the traveller subscribers to my newsletter, too. So if you have any questions about it, please let me know. It's really fun and really exciting. And it's probably the best part of my job working on that side of things, actually.


Ros: Yeah, I love it. I love how focused you are on the advisors and the concierge, the matchmaking service because I can still see that one of the reasons why I know you got into travel in the first place is that human element and being able to get excited about travel. So I love seeing that passion that you still have for you know, the industry but also clients and bringing people together. So thank you for continuing to do that. 


But as I said, I've seen the impacts. I know that we have a number of our Travel Agent Achievers mastermind members that are also a part of travel agent finder. I've seen them featured on your socials, I've seen emails come out about them. I know, like I know from a business perspective, the impact that this has and the wider reach that it can, you know, get out to a different audience that if you're working at home you may not have access to. So this I think, absolutely gonna make sure you sign up a travelagentfinder.com.au, upgrade to the pro plans, and get involved start doing something for your business. I think that that is absolutely gold in there. 


Now, if you are not in Australia, there is a waiting list. Anna and I have been talking about this, we would love to see this go global. So how can people that aren't in Australia actually be prepared and get ready to join your site? I know that there's a waiting list, how do they contact you? 


Anna: Yeah, there's a contact page on the website, or any of my socials travelagentfinder.au on Instagram or Facebook, send me a DM or via the contact page on the website. I'm creating a list of people who are interested for, you know, future developments.


Ros: Future developments! I know I keep putting the pressure on Anna and say, Come on, let's go, let's go, let's go. But she's also trying to do 1000 Different things like we all are as business owners, so no pressure, yes, there's pressure.


Anna: I do my best.


Ros: We know, this isn't something and I think that that's one thing that is really important for people to be aware of. This isn't something that can be built overnight. You mentioned this earlier about Google. There are no quick fixes. In business, there are no quick fixes in marketing, it all takes time. With consistency, with presence, with knowing the right people that can get you out there things will happen. 


But from a business perspective, and actually putting all of this together, it does take time. So I know you've done incredible work so far. You have been working incredibly hard around the clock to make this resource and tool for travel advisors, but also consumers and also suppliers. 


So I just wanted to say thank you for putting in that effort. Because I know that it's not easy doing something different. It's not easy, pulling something together that has not been done in the industry before. So well done on making it all happen and getting it out there. Also for the recognition that you are getting in the industry now as well. I'm really proud of you and still so excited for what the future holds for you.


Anna:  Thank you so much. That's lovely.


Ros: All right. So if anybody wants to sign up travelagentfinder.com.au. We will link to everything in the show notes for you. Make sure you go back and listen to the ideal client podcast if you don't know who your ideal client is, or you're looking at niching into a specific area that is episode 31. 


On the Travel Agent Achievers podcast, there is a list of questions and downloads and resources all free for you there as well. So make sure you grab that and keep moving forward in your travel business. Thank you so much for joining me today. I look forward to seeing you next week. For those of you, you probably gonna listen to this after this podcast comes out Anyhow, I'm gonna see you soon. 


I can't wait to have a glass of champagne, celebrate and bring on the next 12 months for you. I'm really excited for what happens with Travel Agent Finder.


Anna: Thank you so much. I'm really looking forward to seeing you too and celebrating and thanks again for having me today.


Ros: Awesome. Thank you, everybody for joining us today on the Travel Agent Achievers podcast. Don't forget to subscribe and grab all the resources that we talked about today. Make sure you sign up for travelagentfinder.com.au and I look forward to chatting with you very very soon. Bye for now.