How small to mid-sized travel agencies can increase their sales
For an offline travel agency, increasing sales and generating more revenue is not an easy job. There is a lot of competition out there, not just from large OTAs but also other offline travel agencies which are increasingly using technology and social media to reach more customers. Therefore, for a traditional brick-and-mortar agency to survive, it has to adopt technology and use it cleverly. Let’s look at some of the things they can do to improve their sales in an increasingly digital travel landscape:
Build an attractive website
In order to stand out from the crowd, you need to develop an attractive website with an internet booking engine(so that your customers can get instant real-time inventory availability and pricing), hot deals, a payment gateway and possibly ancillaries such as insurance, airport transfers etc. You need to highlight your key offerings and spell out your USPs and your value proposition.
Communication is key so make sure you stay in touch with existing customers as well your prospects via email, phone calls, test messages etc and keep them updated about the latest trends in the travel industry. Sending out relevant newsletters is a great way to educate customers and keep them engaged to your brand. This should support your marketing campaigns where you email them new deals and packages to popular destinations.
Be active on Social Media
With the massive growth of social media in the last couple of years, it’s vital you promote your brand on all major social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Youtube, Pinterest etc.
You can create and build a targeted network of people who would share and like your posts such as deals, photos, videos and statuses. Do encourage them to follow you on your social media channels.
YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google and therefore a highly valuable marketing tool. Try and create different videos of your products, upload them on YouTube, and promote them on Facebook and Twitter.
Work on Content Marketing
When it comes to online marketing, content reigns supreme. So make sure you have quality content on your website, integrate a WordPress blog and develop a responsive website design so your customers can browse your website on smartphones and tablets without any loss of content or quality.
Blogging is another great marketing tool to create awareness of your brand and educate your customers. You can use your blog to provide useful travel guides and to promote your travel products. Again, you need to promote your blog on social media and link it to your Facebook and Twitter accounts so that every time you publish a new post, it’s automatically shared on those networks.
Update the canonical tag in your blog post so search engines will consider it as an original post if you are going to syndicate blog content in other third party sites.
Include user-generated content
Offer real customer reviews – they build credibility and foster confidence among new/prospective customers. Online customer reviews are a powerful way to measure and improve the quality of your services. Ask your satisfied clients to post reviews on your TripAdvisor and Facebook Pages. This will enable new customers to book your deals with more confidence.
User generated content includes online reviews, photos, videos, social media posts etc. You can also add Video Testimonials to your business site.
User-generated content can significantly help increase traffic to your website.
Invest in an Online Reservation Software
It is a growing trend among consumers to buy travel online and you can offer your travelers the option of online travel booking through your travel website using an online booking system.
You should invest in a good Travel Agency Software and integrate it into your website. A good system would include a Booking Engine(for flights, hotels, packages), Central Reservation System/ Inventory Management System, Travel Supplier Connectivity (XML API Integration / Direct Connects), Accounting and Reconciliation, Sales and Distribution Channels Management, Quotation Management, CRM, Facebook Booking Engine etc.
Investing in a good travel booking software can reduce your costs considerably and increase your bookings.
TravelCarma is a travel technology brand providing cloud-based e-commerce solutions with diverse content, booking systems, back and mid-office systems and access to global inventory. Please visit www.travelcarma.com for more on our offerings.