Selling your product depends on your ability to create and sustain motivation for travellers to look, book and experience.
Your passion for travel lights that fire of motivation, but in the marketing and sales trenches, there’s a complex mix of skills, expertise, connections, knowledge, and tools of the trade stoking your business processes.
The cost of selling travel
Playing the travel game requires extensive knowledge of target markets and destinations(s). Additionally, you need technical expertise, contacts in the industry and in your destination with whom you can trade information and business opportunities. This applies whether you sell packaged tours, activities, accommodation or dining experiences. Here’s a reminder of the skills you bring to the party, and then we’ll explore how to leverage them:
- Your ability to network with trade members, local communities and service providers supports and sustains a robust, interdependent travel tribe.
- Your language skills unlock new customer relationships and global markets.
- Your ability to research relevant products and services is essential for personalising offers shared with customers, teammates and trade clients.
- Your ability to organise product inventory and customer information helps match clients with the right experiences.
- Your coordination skills enable you to logically craft hospitality packages, tours, events or experiences, including transportation, attractions and entertainment, routings and logistics.
- Your range of financial skills include budgeting, costing, quoting, reservations, invoicing, accounting, and negotiating rates and commissions.
- Your admin skills enable you to juggle marketing and sales campaigns, hosting or conducting site inspections and fam trips, pulling sales reports and performance analytics, and if you sell tours, keeping track of operational tasks for confirmed bookings.
If you’re still okay to do everything on a spreadsheet, we’re here to tell you: the world has moved on (your customers too). There are tech solutions that will ease your daily grind, make the most of your business skillset, and help you operate more efficiently.
For each task a different tool?
A marketing and sales toolkit is a set of resources that enables you to create promotional material that showcases your offering, educates prospective clients on how your products benefit them, and enables you to win their business.
A few themes permeate among the strategies currently employed across our industry: centralisation, automation, integration and collaboration. You’ve heard of SaaS? Software as a service is now integral to any business strategy, to simplify operational functions and improve efficiencies. We know you can do better. Let’s look at it from your perspective.
Working within a single, central location enables easy access, management and collaboration.
- Use a CRM to collate client information, contact details, travel history and preferences. Here’s where you start crafting marketing personas for personalised, targeted sales campaigns.
- Maintain a product inventory to keep track of available room types and rates. Whether you sell bed nights or seats on excursions, trying to sell what’s unavailable is just bad business.
- Create a central database of your preferred products with expert guidance on how to sell them best, ensuring that all tours built by your consultants are consistently on-brand.
- Use Wetu to curate photos, videos, virtual tours, descriptions and documents that showcase your experience, ensuring that when teammates or trade clients access it to create marketing and sales material, your product is always accurately represented.
- Invest in project management software to organise tasks and deadlines for your marketing and sales campaigns.
When human resources are in short supply, relieving your staff of tedious tasks to focus on other marketing and sales activities is super valuable.
- Communication – use automated email marketing for pre- and post-travel upselling opportunities.
- Social media – use your platforms to promote your destination and useful travel information, to highlight special deals, client reviews and new products. Some platforms do allow advance scheduling but you can be even more strategic with post scheduling software.
- Content translation – nothing beats the more nuanced human touch, but using AI to translate your proposals certainly enables you to respond faster to sales prospects.
- Content distribution – whether you share content or receive it, when it’s hosted in the cloud, updates are automatically available (therefore distributed) wherever it’s accessed, expediting content requests and enabling the recipient to get on with the job of selling.
One partnership with the right distribution channel can lead to hundreds or thousands of sales, without any extra effort on your part. – American Express
Using compatible software systems that ‘talk to each other’ can improve your sales experience and also the customer’s buying experience.
- Integrate your quoting tool with your itinerary builder tool to produce professional, persuasive tour proposals with on-point costing.
- Connect your hotel reservations software with your publishing software – customers can check live availability, making direct bookings more convenient and ensuring that trade partners using your product in their itineraries only sell what’s available.
- Publish your digital assets on social media – if your Facebook page has the requisite number of followers, you can market a catalogue of itineraries on the platform.
Use your trade relationships and connections to develop new products and sales assets. Working on joint campaigns is easier when information flows freely and content is shared in a format that’s accessible and usable to both parties.
- Refer and resell brands that promote the same destination as you. Position yourself as an expert on the destination by using their digital marketing assets to showcase their products on your website. Offer them your assets so that they can reciprocate.
- Share sales assets with operator partners and agents – whether they rebrand and sell exactly what they receive, amend or build on it, there are commissions to be shared. The same applies to activities, restaurants and accommodation suppliers.
Hotel operators must network with industry professionals as well as agents to sell their rooms to the maximum number of people in a variety of target market segments. – Siteminder
In this fickle world of travel, demand and trends change, as do purchasing behaviour and best practices in marketing and sales. Evaluate the efficacy of your tools to ensure a healthy return on your invested resources.