Travel is exactly like Valentine’s Day with its high expectations, money spent, hopes raised and dashed. It boils down to supply and demand. Not very romantic, is it? Bruce Springsteen sings that everybody’s got a hungry heart. He’s right. Your Traveller’s heart wants what it wants: a memorable travel experience. That’s demand. You, the Supplier, must supply. It’s simple, romantic economics.
Once upon a time there was a Supplier, a Tour Operator and a Traveller who made the mistake of thinking that they existed in isolation. But Cupid sees the big picture – he knows that everything is connected and all they needed to learn was to see how they are connected to each other.
Time to connect the dots.
You already know that good content sells – imagine how much further excellent content will get you. Your content needs to satisfy the Traveller, so that she keeps coming back to you. And if she tells her friends how wonderful you are and they fall in love with you too, all the better!
After all, you do want to grow your business and increase your market share, right? So the key is to present your Traveller with accurate travel content, attractively presented, to empower her to make the right choices for her trip.
And to ensure you show due respect to the technological sophistication of your average Traveller, make that content available to her on her mobile devices, wherever she is.
Cupid knows as time progresses, the Traveller will only become more demanding about easily accessible, good content..
Do you keep an eye on social media? Your ear to the ground? If not, how else will you learn what travellers are complaining, bragging and dreaming about? The Traveller will read reviews about your product or service and take the experiences of other travellers very seriously. You’d better get involved in those discussions or permit yourself to be misrepresented. There is a definite trend growing towards entering into conversation with one’s clientele in order to improve the selling (and buying) process, and ultimately your relationship with your client. You can’t throw the Traveller a generic, vague pebble of promise and expect her to get excited about it. The most important dot to connect here is understanding that the Traveller demands a bit of content bling, like any girl on Valentine’s Day.
She just wants to be inspired.
The good thing about this travel romance is that you’re not on your own. You have a wing man. Whether DMC, Tour Operator or Agent, your wing man’s interests are so deeply intertwined with yours, it’s like you’re soul mates. His success depends as much on yours as your success depends on his. The Operator romances the Traveller through the Supplier. He wants to use the best tourism products to promote, market and sell his packages. And you want to be represented in those packages. How do you get in there but by some sort of seduction? The travel industry is racy that way – if you don’t keep up with the pace, you get dumped… and left behind.
So interconnected are your respective objectives, that it makes the most perfect sense to collaborate with each other.
It’s vital to understand that the Operator’s ideal is to convert more leads to sales by giving his agents a better selling experience.
To work most efficiently, he desires fabulous content to work with to produce fabulous itineraries and have great products to market.
You need to supply that demand.
You need to make it your business to understand the technologies that improve the way the travel industry works. For example, if the Operator favours digital over paper itineraries, what are you doing to make sure you get noticed?
Competition makes us faster; Collaboration makes us better.
In Travel, the complacent heart often dismisses the relevance of travel technology and chooses to carry on with staid old practices. We become jealous of technology if we aren’t part of the movement – we are daunted by it. That’s just silly. Technology is the arrow in Cupid’s bow. It carries our desires and best efforts directly to our Traveller’s heart. The smart thing to do is for the Operator and Supplier to adapt to advances in travel technology and collaborate with better sales tools.
Sharing information and networking are vital – after all, low visibility and underexposure never helped anyone build their brand. Connecting the dots means learning how to share a common space on- and offline, engaging with each other on the Internet and in person, at trade shows, workshops, on educationals, at site inspections, or via representatives visiting each other’s offices. Engagement beats operating in isolation – I’ve never heard of a long distance relationship that worked.
Cupid knows that if the Operator and Supplier collaborate, they’ll win the Traveller’s heart. Their needs and objectives are too intertwined to work in isolation.
Once you’ve established that connection, engaged yourself in collaboration with your tourism partners, you’ll find that daunting prospect of bucket list wishes a far easier demand to supply.
Collaboration’s the thing, because no matter how unique you are, everyone’s interests are connected. Cupid, that lusty little imp, wears a knowing smile.. and the Traveller? She’s seduced, committed and seeing her travel dreams come true.