“My readers will love this!” you think to yourself. "That cruise line’s $200 on-board credit gives me something to post on social media and will hopefully even spur some sales."
So, you hit “share” from the cruise line’s Facebook page and wait for the leads to start pouring in.
The problem with this strategy? There are several:
They will just book direct.
If I’m a potential client, I’ll just book directly with the cruise line and not with you.
For starters, you’ve just told them where to go to get the discount directly! And when there is already a stigma that travel agents cost extra, why would the consumer believe you can add something that the cruise line couldn’t do directly?
Especially when you're dealing with "commodity" travel like cruises, where clients can easily go direct to the source, it's not a good idea to post ads - well - directly from the source!
You're getting lost in the crowd.
Second, you and hundreds, if not thousands, of travel agents are promoting the exact same deal!
It’s a harsh reality, but true.
As the saying goes, "when others zig, you should zag." Because if you're posting the same specials, photos, and content that your competitors (i.e. other travel agencies) are posting, how are you supposed to be seen any differently?
So what can you do to change the conversation?
Put yourself first.
For starters, flip the script.
Rather than say that the cruise line is offering a $200 on-board credit, frame it as though you, the well-connected and helpful travel advisor, are offering a $200 credit. They don’t have to know that it’s coming from the cruise line’s coffers!
Or, perhaps, you could frame it as though you have such a great relationship that, “the cruise line has given me a $200 credit and I want to pass the savings along to you.”
See how that shifts the focus from the cruise line and now makes YOU look like the hero?
It’s a subtle, but important, change in how the client views you.
Stop posting discounts and specials.
In my opinion, I rarely think it’s a good idea for travel agents to promote discounted offers at all.
Because when you talk about price as the main motivator - and a discounted price at that - then you’ll inevitably attract price-sensitive clients and price-shoppers.
Instead, focus on the value you provide to your clients, and be sure to speak directly to your one, specific ideal client (and if you don’t know who your ideal client is specifically, use this sheet to create an ideal client avatar!).
So, next time you see a price discount from one of your suppliers, think twice before hitting “share” on Facebook and be sure to always be focusing on what sets YOU apart and speak directly to your ideal client.
Hi, I'm Jacob.
My passion lies with helping small travel business entrepreneurs succeed, by creating a tightly-focused brand that their ideal clients are magnetically attracted to!
In 2016, I founded IntroverTravels, which I use to share my experiences (successes and failures!) with other travel entrepreneurs. I also support a community of nearly 2,500 travel professionals in my Facebook group, Travel Agent Awareness, where I share free marketing advice and encouragement to other travel entrepreneurs in order to show the world the value in working with a skilled travel advisor!