Growth in any business should be your constant target. The best way to grow your revenues and sales is to generate more leads ie. the more leads you get, the more trips you book, and the more trips you book, the more commissions you make and vis-à-vis the more revenue growth you generate. To do that you need to demonstrate the value you bring to your current and future clients especially considering how easy today’s online booking websites make it for clients to curate adventures for themselves.
It’s critical to attract new clients and repeat business by showcasing the value of the services you offer. You know what value you bring, now you just have to put some effort into marketing them to the clientele.
Here are 10 sure-fire ways to attract potential clients and grow your number of travel agent leads and increase your customer base:
- Download Some Helpful Apps to raise productivity and organisation – A good place to start is with your tech. There are some great consumer apps made to help organize your time and your files in order to positively impact your business ops and sales. Here are some sure fire-tested and guaranteed apps that will improve your travel agency.
1. Kayak – Kayak.com lets you search multiple travel sites at once from online travel agencies to airlines, hotel, and car rental websites, to find the best rates. While Kayak has also recently rolled out the ability to search for flights and hotels via Slack – a popular chat service for businesses and travel agents
2. FlightStats – After you’ve booked a trip for your client, you’ll usually want to get the latest status information. FlightStats lets you track flights on a map, by number, airport or route. It also allows you to check airport conditions like current delays and weather conditions.
3. Currency – Currency provides timely exchange rate updates for over 150 currencies and countries. Around since 2008, it was one of the first 500 apps in the App Store. However, this is one app that’s a must for travelling abroad – if you want to know how much you’re paying, that is.
4. Splittr – Splittr lets you break up costs between people and add expenses while on your trip, so you know who’s turn it is to pay. It supports multiple currencies or mix currencies, which is great if you’re taking a client in another country out to dinner. Also, it lets you print PDF reports, which are particularly useful for submitting expenses to your company.
5. AroundMe – AroundMe lets you explore restaurants, coffee shops, local guides and more, and allows you to get GPS directions to your chosen destination. By integrating with apps like Booking.com, Opentable.com, and FourSquare, you can also share tips with your clients
- Position Yourself as a Specialist Travel Agent – There are thousands of other travel agents out there so you need to stand out and position yourself as offering a distinct service. Determine a niche market or target service to focus on and market yourself aggressively as a specialist in that area e.g., in other words, figure out a solution to a prevailing issue or inconvenience to travellers in your market. Find a process that works and market your travel agency in view of that offering. That way, potential clients will seek you out, rather than the other way around.
- Get Active on social media – social media is an invaluable tool TAs can use to gain more sales leads. it is mostly FREE and used by millions every single day! The trick to truly utilizing social media to its full potential is to stay active. Once your Instagram, Facebook, twitter and other social media handles go cold, rest assured you’ll drop off your current and potential client’s social media radar. You don’t have to designate hours a day to keep your social media presence alive, just a few minutes a day will suffice! So, get active and stay active to see the greatest social media results possible. Remember, a post a day, keeps the blues away!
- Keep Detailed Client Notes – Maintain some kind of CRM (Client Relationship Management software) to keep detailed and readily available notes on each client. You need more than their names and travel plans. You need their plane seat preferences, their favourite colours, how big their family is, and whether they prefer hotels with room service or fast Wi-Fi. Its this attention to detail that will set you apart from all the other TAs out there. Its also this attention to detail that will make a previous client rebook with you instead of booking direct on line.
- Seek Out and Reward Referrals – People often trust what a friend or family member has to say about a business or service, so rewarding these referrals is an excellent way to drum up new travel agent leads. Why not offer your existing clients a discount or free gift when they make a referral that generates a vacation booking? It’s a win-win and you only pay out when you make a sale. When you reward referrals, you’ll gain travel agent leads, make your existing clients happy, and your travel agency business will continue to grow.
- Cultivate Your Best Suppliers – Really get to know your suppliers. Build supplier relationships with airlines, hotels, restaurants, and car rental or chauffeur services. When customers rave about a particular hotel line more than once, prioritize them. If an airline blows you off, look for an alternative with better service. Your supplier relationship is equally as important at the relationship with your customers!
- Don’t Be Afraid of Complicated Trips – If a trip is simple, then that’s one more reason a potential client could just book it themselves! Don’t shy away from curating fantastically-elaborate vacations for clients because this will surely showcase how valuable your travel agency’s knowledge and expertise.
- Stay Alert During Active Trips – When a client of yours is traveling, keep your phone by your side. Part of being a superb travel agent is being ready to rescue no matter what time a client might get into trouble. Sure, it helps to properly organise and communicate the details of the trip to your clients which avoids any issues in the first instance but you need be ready to jump out of bed as needed. To stay organized during this state of alert, keep your trip monitoring open on your phone or computer for each client who is currently away from home. Just in case they call and say something like “I just got here and there’s no driver” you need to know where “here” is and which driver they were expecting.
- Track the Finances Carefully – File and scan every receipt. Create dedicated folders and spreadsheets tracking every expense, every refund, and every commission. You will probably want to start working with an accountant soon to make sure your books are in order and stay in order. This is the best possible way to secure your full commissions every time and provide the best values for your clients.
- Continue Your Travel Education and Highlight Your Credentials – Even if you already have a ton of experience in the field, that doesn’t mean you can’t get new travel agent leads. Invest in your business by attending a travel conferences and then promote the news skills or learnings you’ve acquired. Likewise, use your advantage to grow your advantage. Make the most of your connections and vacation time to even go on new interesting trips, post tips and tricks for potential clients to use.
- (BONUS Tip) Enlist Help in Lead Generation – An incredible way to generate more travel agent leads is to connect with a host travel agency like Travel Planners International. Host agencies are businesses that affiliate with home-based travel agents in an independent-contractor agreement. Each home-based agent is still 100% the owner and operator of their business, and they are not employees of their host agency at all. Host agencies give independent travel agents the resources to grow their business. Services provided by the host vary by provider, but usually include a mix of marketing, training, back-end technology, and commission payment processing. In exchange, the independent agent pays the host agency by some combination of fees and/or commission split. When you are a part of a host agency, you gain access to an extensive number of benefits to help you turn viable leads into returning customers.