How much do you travel? How to tell your story
You can listen directly here.
Most people think as travel agents every trip we do is a ‘holiday’. This can often be so far from the truth.. I can only remember one true holiday I have taken in the last 2 years and I still worked!
Working through a 5 step plan, Ros will show you how to incorporate your clients on your travel adventures which can lead to bookings and enquiries. Creating engagement and excitement whilst on a famil or your own travel experience.
Links Mentioned in the Episode
Listen to our previous episode - Episode 004 - Understanding your numbers with Jeff Banks
Quotes from the Episode
“I bring my clients to the trip and included them”
“Create a bit of a story about your travel”
“Add content, context, and imagery”
“Be in the moment”
“Find the balance and the flow”
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Announcer: Welcome to Travel Agent Achievers! The place to learn how to grow your travel business and have fun with it. Join Roslyn and her guests as they walk you through proven steps to a fulfilling and profitable business.
Roslyn Ranse: Welcome back to another podcast episode of Travel Agent Achievers, this week we are talking about do you travel and tell your story and also how to share your adventures with a booking flow-on effect.
Now to start with, thank you to everyone for your feedback and emails on last week's episode Episode 004 - Understanding your numbers with Jeff banks. Talking about what to track and KPI’s in your travel business. I love how so many of you reached out and have taken action starting to track your sales and also look at your pay too!
Please keep the emails coming, also don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast
In today’s episode, we are going to talk about traveling and also telling your story - sharing your adventures to gain interest from your clients, get referrals and repeat business.
We’re talking about this as I see far too many times, the way we talk about this in the travel industry - most people think we are on holidays ALL the time. Now I so wish that was the case, but do you hear me when I say ‘Famil’?
The term and inclusions on a ‘Famil’ have changed over the last few years. It used to be 1 destination,
20 hotels, little time for downtime and maybe one or two sightseeing opportunities. Now, this was great for people who had never been to a destination and often, myself included, came home with so many choices of what to sell and how to promote different properties differently.
Cool, right? However, it also meant that by the 10th hotel they started to blur and if you weren’t taking notes or capturing photos with everyone else in them - you know… the hotel room where people just cram in and everyone is trying to get the same shot.
I know you know what I mean… this is also a classic on cruise ships!
Anyhow, I believe that a Famil has changed in the way they were previously run. Many now offer more downtime and immersive experience.
Say 3-4 hotels, experiences, pool time, ski time, restaurant dining, and actually experiencing the destination and being WOW’d by the properties chosen to experience.
Now to get on these in most cases you have to prove yourself and sell the place or have never been and as part of a host agency, they sometimes have spots. I think these sorts of Famils or experiential trips are the way to go and I can speak from my own experience, they have had a flow-on effect with bookings once I am able to brag about a destination.
Have you been on a Famil like this? If so, please drop me a comment or email and let me know what has been your favorite. There are a few I can think of off the top of my head. Skiing with ClubMed in the European Alps and my very first Famil again ClubMed in Japan. Vanuatu was another great one with this style too.
My purpose in this episode today is really to discuss how to promote these experiences once you have been.
At the end of this episode, I want you to have several different options of how to promote your Famil’s and also your own holiday experiences to others that help build your travel business.
I don’t want you to be scared about sharing, or do so sporadically, making the potential clients guess where you are, with no background or story.
We are going to become storytellers. :-)
As travel agents, it is important to build your credibility. If you don’t travel or have never traveled, it doesn’t show much confidence in your clients' experiences. How could you promote traveling if you haven’t done it yourself?
I believe this is why anyone that has good geography knowledge, has traveled, whether a backpacking experience or with family in their younger years are more skilled at talking about a destination with passion.
Now it isn’t to say that if you haven’t traveled you can’t be a travel agent. I am just speaking from my own experience and what I have seen in the industry.
Your clients DO need to know and trust that you know what you are talking about. They are leaving money in your hands and if you stuff things up, by sending them to the wrong destination, I am sure this is a recipe for disaster and they won’t come back. If you don’t know something, ask... If you aren’t confident, tell the client so and also let them know you will find out. Become the expert they want to trust.
I am going to walk through step by step the way I promote my own travels and give you a guideline on how to talk about your own trips. Sometimes, I do delay talking about my personal holidays, because in my experience, if I am away and trying to have a holiday and talking about it, I am often flooded with bookings and people wanting things, which then can take up precious time of my own holiday. If I am on a work trip, I will follow the steps below, if I am on a holiday I will delay a couple of them.
Before getting started, I just want to say that not all platforms are created equal. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube are all different social media platforms. Your clients may be on one or all of them, but they are all different in my experience and all deserve different attention.
We will be talking about these platforms in upcoming episodes, I just don’t want to get ahead of myself and explain each in detail. Today we are talking about the flow of your trip, so you can get more bookings. How we do that and on what platforms we will talk about in the near future. :-)
For now, we aren’t talking hashtags, search engine optimisation, getting people to engage with your items, this is just steps to get it out there.
I am also specifically talking about your ‘Business Pages’ now for sharing these ideas. If you don’t have
a business page, I recommend you set one up on each platform. This way, you aren’t confusing personal friends and things with your company. I want you to look as professional as possible, whilst also letting your clients into your life.
STEP 1. You’ve booked, been invited or you’re about to head on a trip…
This is where I announce the trip on Social Media. This builds excitement and I get my audience to ask me questions that they would like answered whilst I am away. I bring them into the trip and include them. This could be a simple FB Live, FB post or IG post, it doesn't have to be a full-on 1-hour episode. This creates anticipation…
STEP 2. At the airport - share an image, continue to build anticipation as to the event and whom you are going with.
Obviously, if you are with other agents, you won’t want to tag, them, but if with a supplier, then share the love and your gratitude, by tagging them in, if you know how.
STEP 3. Whilst you are away.
My pet hate is sharing one image at a time, and scrolling through my feed to see 20 different posts from someone with one image in them and no context. Please don’t do this.
Gather your images on a daily basis. Make notes about what you saw and experienced. Any top tips and helpful advice. What to wear, the temperature, favourite food, best drink, how long it took you to get there. By starting to create a story - not only will this help with your report at the end of the trip, but it also helps in creating a picture and imagery for your clients and potential clients.
POST up to once per day. Add some notes or comments, ask a question - ‘What’s your favourite holiday drink? Should I go to the spa? Or the Bar?” Add some photos from the day's events and then explain a couple of highlights. It's not an essay, just a snapshot. This creates engagement. You want engagement. Each of the platforms uses special algorithms to see what is being liked and shared. What is being commented on and how much people are interacting. The more people interact with a post, the more it will get ‘seen’ on people's feeds. If this doesn’t make sense, it's ok, just know to add content, context, and imagery. Ask a question.
I can guarantee more people will like these and start to comment and ask you questions. It shows you’re now an ‘expert’ or experienced in the area. It will also give you more confidence to share images and details that your friends, family and clients, and potential clients will like and what to start preparing more of.
Also ensure you tag in your suppliers, hotels, and experiences where you can. This is sharing the love to them and will also hopefully give you brownie points as they know you are also giving them more exposure for the money they have spent to get you there. It is great marketing for them and YOU!
In Marketing and especially with social media, the general rule of thumb is to share insights, content, and VALUE 80% of the time. Then promote or talk sales 20% of the time.
Which are you?
Do you provide value for your clients?
Or do you just give out the deals?
Deals are great and I think it is important to show these, however, think back to what sort of client you want. We will talk ‘Avatar’ or your ideal client shortly on this podcast, for now though, I want you to ask yourself.
Are you looking for a client who only wants a bargain? Or a sale? Or are you looking for a client who trusts your experience and values your time and knowledge and are willing to pay for it… I’ll just leave that there.
Stir people's curiosity. Dangle the cool stuff and entice them through your experience. Describing the excitement, the specialties of a location or the local ‘knowledge’ This really goes a long way and clients love the insider details.
So how do you come up with all this stuff you ask?
- Be in the moment. This could be a once in a lifetime experience. You don’t need to be on your phone or distracted.
- Take in your surroundings - look up, breathe and look out the window if you are traveling.
- Reflect on your experience daily - write a top 5 things each day
- Be relatable. People are interested in stories to which they can also relate or resonate with
- Strike a balance between NEW information and relatability
- Keep It Simple. Don’t overcomplicate with menus or 5 different room types. Just add your highlights and recommendations. I suggest 3-5 images at the most. If you are an Instagram stories expert, then 7-10 images or short videos is also ok on a daily basis.
Quick side note on video. If you are taking videos or doing any facebook lives. Think about how you will be portraying yourself and surroundings to others.
(Dress Appropriately, plan what you will say before you take the video or go live and make sure it is something that people will relate to.)
STEP 4. Comment, reply and give insights and feedback to people who are engaging with you.
Set aside 2 times per day morning and night to jump online and reply to people. If you are online all day and distracted by your phone, you are likely to miss something for that day.
STEP 5. You’re home... Now, what?
I recommend writing up a blog post, or document that you can use in a newsletter talking about your experience. In that information, provide value. If there are any special deals with suppliers you have been with, then share those, but only for a short period.
Connect with your audience.
Allow them the opportunity to talk with you.
My own experience is that clients may not initially ask about this particular trip, however, they will keep it in their memory bank and come back to it. If they are considering ANY sort of travel though, they reach out and ask me to book it.
I went through a period of time where I didn’t want to talk about my travels, for fear of getting those bookings. CRAZY right? Well not so crazy when you can’t deliver on your promises and act in your own integrity to get back to everyone in a timely manner. I took on too much and it cost me. I couldn't respond the way I wanted to nor promised.
Solution, I hired more staff and trained them to handle those bookings. :-)
There is a solution to everything and if you are looking at increasing your bookings, I recommend that you start talking about and sharing your personal travel experiences.
The steps I have spoken about are for when you have a trip coming up. If you have done lots of trips, I recommend start gathering those experiences together and putting them into folders (soft copy) on your computer.
You can then prepare the details into blog posts and newsletters, social media stories - we use these as a weeks worth of content. Just START sharing your experience.
I hope this has helped you with the 5 Steps. I know there are a ton of extra ways to share your story, get your personal travel experiences out there and get new clients. I just wanted to start here for those of you getting started or need a little nudge.
Just Do it.
I can ASSURE you that people won’t ridicule you, they may be jealous, but they aren’t going to attack you for sharing. That’s what these platforms are for.
I get that confidence could be an issue and I can also relate to this. Just know that your clients WILL get you, they WILL love what you share and they WILL book with you if it speaks to them and they see the value in it.
Remember it may not be that specific trip, but it may be something else.
If you are a seasoned expert in these strategies, then I applaud you. If you want some higher level advanced strategies, please connect with me via email or social media: [email protected] or Travel Agent Achievers on Facebook and Instagram
I’m keeping an eye out and will be watching your social media platforms. Tag me if you share something. I would love to see it and help build engagement for you.
Have a great week everyone!
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