This guy enters your travel agency. You’ve never seen him before.
He wants to go on a vacation with his girlfriend, but is not sure where to go.
He wants to relax at a beach, white sand, great weather, romantic atmosphere, and a nice hotel that is affordable.
You suggest different options and recommend The Dominican Republic. It’s the best option for what he’s looking. You recommend a hotel you know has a great service and is right next to the beach.
He buys the trip. They go on the vacation and have a great time.
He comes back. He’s very happy with the experience and convinced to return to your agency next year to plan his next vacation.
However, a few weeks after this, he sees an ad in Facebook. He’s offered a FREE guide of the best 10 places to go on a vacation on a budget.
He subscribes with his email address to get this free gift.
Since then, he has received several emails per month
- Go for a weekend trip to…
- It’s your birthday! 30% of this trip is on us…
- Take your loved one for Valentine’s to …
Etc, etc, etc…
During this time, he has not heard back from your agency. Not even once.
The online travel agency is slowly winning him over.
What’s the likelihood of this person going back toyour agency next year?
Dim. You’re not on the top of his mind anymore.
When he thinks about travelling, he’s thinking about the online agency that’s been sending him offers and suggestions during the last few months.
This agency maintained a relationship with him and sold him trips at times he was not expecting to travel.
And you know the best part?
The online travel agency did this with no effort…
“Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches – at scale.”
If you are a small travel agency, you probably think it’s not possible to compete against the large online travel agencies.
They’ve got large budgets, a lot of knowledge, and experience in marketing. They have dedicated teams managing their marketing, bringing in traffic, and getting email addresses.
They have a much higher reach and can sell to almost anyone.
Can you compete with them?
Local agencies offer something that online agencies cannot.
The human touch.
Many people, when they buy something as valuable as a trip… where they spend lots of money and many days of their free time, prefer to buy from a person.
They prefer to buy from someone they can look straight in the eyes. This gives them more security than a website or talking to someone on the phone. They want to make sure if anything goes wrong, they can turn to someone and get it solved.
They also want personal recommendations of where to go and what to do.
Local travel agencies do this well.
Unfortunately, they do not maintain a relationship with their customers after they leave the agency.
Most just cross their fingers with the hope they will come back.
This used to be enough.
It’s not anymore.
Local travel agencies need to maintain a relationship with their customers after they leave the agency. To do this well, they can take what’s working for successful online travel agencies, adapt it to their situation, and make it work for them too.
The most effective channel online travel agencies use is email marketing. Their newsletters.
Through their newsletters, they keep selling vacation packages to their customers.
Let’s see how they do this.
How online travel agencies gain email subscribers:
- Makes an enquiry on their website
- Becomes a customer
- Downloads one of their free gifts
Becomes a subscriber. From then on, this person starts to receive, several times a month, offers and suggestions by email.
This includes good and relevant offers for different trips. That’s the value they provide.
On the flip side, these newsletters are too impersonal and salesy.
Offer, after offer, after offer, after offer.
People don’t like to be sold to.
Email Marketing for local travel agencies:
A newsletter is the best investment you can make if you want to sell to your customers several times.
You can do a better job than online travel agencies, being less salesy, and delivering more value.
You can do this, investing very little time and effort.
Let’s see how.
First step, get subscribers:
The traditional approach to gain subscribers is by including an opt-in form on your website.
For this to be effective, you need a lot of website visitors and knowledge on what to offer them, so they subscribe.
If you don’t have the traffic and the knowledge, your best bet is to add any person that walks into your agency to your email list.
This will get you more qualified subscribers and make you grow your list faster.
But before you add any of them to your list, ask them for permission.
If you don’t, you’ll make a poor first impression and may get in trouble with your email marketing service provider if they report you as spam.
To convince them to join your list, tell them the benefits they’ll get.
- Special offers they would not get otherwise.
- Recommendations through articles to plan their next vacation.
You can also offer gifts to add them to your list.
- An additional discount.
- A free guide to the place they are going to travel.
- A set of Interesting articles related to the place they want to go.
You can also do some local promotions in your area. For example, get a small stand in a Shopping center near your agency. Advertise a raffle offering a free trip to the winner. All people who want to opt-in for the raffle need to give you their email address.
Now that you got the subscribers, the next step is to create and send the newsletter.
Second step: Create the content and send the newsletter
To create a newsletter, you need content.
One option to get content is to write it yourself… This is great if you are a big company or have a large budget.
Another option is to find great content from the internet and share it with your subscribers.
This is newsletter curation.
Let me summarize how this works.
- You collect the most relevant and best content about travelling or interesting places to go from content published on the internet.
- You create a newsletter with this content.
- You create a good offer related to the content you share.
- You send the newsletter to your customers.
Some examples of content you can share:
- Travelling guides… tips on choosing the next vacation.
- Best options for going to a vacation on the beach.
- How to travel with kids…
- Any article about travelling.
- ,etc., etc…
This is newsletter curation.
If you are a travel agency, this is especially effective because:
- You are sharing great articles already written … you don’t have to create this content. You can select your articles from the best content out there.
- You are sending great content to your customers they’ll enjoy reading…not offer, after offer, after offer. A great article about going to beautiful Hawaii and what to do there sells much more than just an offer “Go to Hawaii for $800”. If you do both things (content and offer), it’s the perfect mix.
- At the end of the newsletter, add a related offer.
Newsletters can be curated manually.
To curate your newsletter, visit your favorite travel websites and select articles you feel are worth sharing. Add them to your newsletter and send it.
The only problem is that it can take a lot of time.
If you don’t have this time, software like NewsletterBreeze will help you by:
- Bringing the content to your account
- Telling you which is the most popular
- Add the best content to your newsletter with just a click
- Send it through your email marketing service
- You’re done
It takes you less than 5 minutes to create a curated newsletter with NewsletterBreeze.
Here’s more information.
Want to know a bit more?
Request a free consultation to understand if NewsletterBreeze would be appropriate for your needs.