It is why lead generation has become essential for travel agents. It is to figure out creative and innovative ways to generate qualified leads.
We’re here to walk you through the basics of generating more leads using the latest technological trends for travel agents.
Lead Generation for Travel Agents
Planning complex trips can be tiring. Because of this, a lot of people wanting to travel have worked with travel agents for a smoother process.
As a travel agent, this is what you want, tons of paying clients looking for an easier way to plan trips.
Of course, not everyone will come to you, so you have to work your way to them.
Efforts to generate leads will differ from a travel business to another, but usually they use similar tools.
There are plenty of travel agencies worldwide of different types, but they divide them into:
- Wholesales travel agency: Creating travel packages and selling it to travel agencies or in some cases directly to clients.
- Retail travel agency: Selling travel services like car rentals, hotel reservations, flights, cruises…
- Business travel agency: handling only corporate travel details.
- Online travel agency: It’s an e-retail travel agency. Selling travel services online.
- Special travel agency: Serving a niche of clients having the same interest like religion, study, adventure, work…
To conclude, even in the travel world, we find B2B and B2C travel agencies which require different kinds of Leads.
All these types of agencies have one common goal, which is building a constant flow of clients.
Therefore, lead generation is critical for these companies. It is one of the primary goals and roles of travel agents.
1)B2B lead generation for travel agents:
Since the wholesale travel agency sells packages to retail agencies then it’s a business-to-business transaction.
Also, we can mention the case for retail agencies offering packages for companies to sell to their employees.
Here we are looking at different types of leads, where the agent should have knowledge of the market.
More than 55% of B2B professionals focus on increasing the number of their leads.
The agent has to locate highly qualified leads, classify them according to specific niches, expertise, clients’ demographic and sales history.
The main goal here is to create a client base that they will offer travel packages to in the future.
As a matter of fact, 59% of B2B professionals find that their primary challenge is to generate high quality B2B leads.
Nowadays the tools used for lead generation evolved over the years.
For that, we can say that B2B lead generation for travel agents became easier with recent technologies.
Cold calling and outbound emails are now being automated, and the same goes for customer relationship management.
Later we will dive deeper into the different tools travel agents can use for lead generation.
2)B2C lead generation for travel agents:
The travel agent tools for lead generations are set by the means of selling travel packages or services.
For example, a conventional agency requires customers to book over the phone, by email or to visit their agency.
On the other hand, the online travel agency is looking to attract online users to their website.
In both cases the focus on lead generation for travel agents is high. More in terms of leads quantity than quality.
What are the tools of lead generation for travel agents?
There are plenty of tools meant to generate leads for travel agencies.
However, the key to a successful lead generation is to research the market and the client.
In addition, the research will help determine which tool, program, or software that will have significant outcomes.
Also, we will mention in detail those tools and even organic ways travel agents often use to generate more leads.
Paid methods to generate leads for travel agent
When it comes to paid ads, travel agents find themselves asking two questions:
- Where to advertise?
- How much should we invest?
There is the option of choosing the more traditional methods like mass-media, billboards, flyers or handing business cards.
But how effective is that for your travel agency? You won’t be able to track leads or build a client base.
The most effective ways most travel agencies use for advertisement are through digital channels.
In first place comes Google Ads which drives traffic and increases sales.
The result is ranking your travel agency among the first pages on the search engine.
When a client types a set of keywords the agents paid for, you will show up among the top results.
Additionally, you are going to be scattered around on many websites and platforms that propose Google Ads like Youtube.
The main advantage of paid advertising is visibility to the ones who are interested in buying your travel packages.
For Google Ads, so often they have a suggestion of keywords for your offer.
In this case, when a tourist is searching, for example, “Safari to Madagascar”, you will show up.
You need to know how to operate and optimize the way you use Google Ads.
It’s not as easy as it seems, it takes knowledge of certain practices to be effective.
Moreover, the second advantage you’ll get from using Google Ads for lead generation for travel agents is tracking.
Now most travel agents can monitor the progress and ask questions like:
- Was the Google Ads campaign a success?
- How many people clicked to see your ad?
- Who bought your travel package?
Google Ads offers the option of re-targeting, as you can target users who have visited your travel site in the past.
The possibilities are endless for a travel agent lead generation effort when using Google Ads.
Moving to the second most used paid advertising for travel businesses, which is Facebook Ads.
Since 1.62 Billion online users are visiting Facebook on a daily basis.
In fact, Facebook is the most used advertising platform because of its several advantages.
Hence the ability to tailor in detail your audience, which means high probability of buying your travel kit.
This is in case you have a specific travel package or offer to promote.
In accordance, you set the ad parameters like:
- Location (Location (City, State, Country, Postcode)
- Demographics (Age, Birth Date, Gender, Language, Ethnicity)
- Relationship Status
- Occupation (Work, Interests)
Most travel businesses have Facebook pages allowing them to reach and engage with their users.
Facebook Ads in return will bring more traffic to these pages so that travel agencies can promote future offers.
To sum up, those are the two most used paid advertising by travel agencies to generate more leads.
2) Affiliate Marketing
Whether you have a big or small business, affiliate marketing has many benefits for travel agencies.
It includes two parties, the first is the “affiliate” who will get a commission for advertising the offers of the “travel agency”.
The affiliate needs to have a specific background, popularity and a brand with the same value as the agency.
Then he will promote the travel company’s packages using a single link that sends traffic and monitors traffic to the site.
For the travel agency, it is important to hand pick the affiliate. After all he will be the ambassador for the brand.
Generally speaking, the affiliate targeted audience should be very similar to yours.
That way you will have targeted sales from an audience that feels attached to your brand before even visiting your site.
Moreover, if the affiliate has a growing popularity then the travel agency will follow.
Additionally, if he is a strong influencer, meaning he has an important sales record, then he will be able to generate leads.
Since you will be paying per sale, affiliate marketing is the ultimate solution for leads generation and sales growth.
It’s like having your small sales team, but instead of paying for a monthly paycheck you pay for actual sales.
So, if the other party cannot generate sales from its leads then it won’t affect you.
Whenever we mention visibility and reach, we think about Search Engine Optimization.
Well the best thing about affiliate marketing is that SEO likes backlinks.
As long as you have backlinks to your travel site through blogs and other platforms then your ranking will get higher.
EXAMPLE OF AFFILIATE PROGRAM FOR TRAVEL AGENT
TravelPayouts offer affiliate programs for bloggers and travel agents with access to exclusive tools and programs.
Having too many verticals, including travel, allows them to be the connection between influencers and brands.
It offers solutions like demand generation, end-to-end campaign execution, tracking and reporting and a list of influencers.
3) Leads Programs
Lead generation for travel agents has been quite a challenge.
Recently leads programs and travel lead generation agencies are emerging to help with this challenge.
Travel agents, on the other hand, liked the fact of outsourcing such difficult task to specialized companies.
Most travel lead generation businesses are charging per leads and not sales.
But they are offering in return highly qualified leads for travel agents with important conversion rates.
Otherwise, you can choose free leads programs, but they won’t be tailored to your needs.
However, most of these travel leads programs serve only the B2B travel industry.
It is not recommended to sign up for this kind of program, since they won’t provide leads on travel seekers.
Although, specialized lead generation companies can surely offer tailored leads for travel agents.
Example of Leads program for travel agents:
Offering leads and marketing solutions for the travel agents. In addition to the option of live leads directly approaching you for sales.
Provides travel agents with tailored leads according to preferences and goals.
To conclude, outsourcing lead generation for travel agents can represent an opportunity for B2B travel agents.
4) Customer Incentive Programs
When you offer something to your client, you will automatically have its interest.
Discounts are the ultimate tool to generate leads for travel agents. They encourage users to pay interest to your offer.
However, it’s not the only incentive method out there. Vouchers, gift cards, special tours, and essential travel kits are gaining popularity among travel seekers.
Clients always expect travel agents will present an offer to differentiate them from others.
Not to mention that the travel industry’s whole base relies on client incentive programs and customer service.
This method is effective for lead generation and customer retention.
Who doesn’t appreciate a gift?
5) Referral programs
Recommendations are the best method to get referrals for free. It depends on how successful you run your marketing strategy and customer service.
However, if you want to generate more leads, you need to set up a referral program for your travel clients.
One of the ways to encourage them to sign up to the program is by offering discounts, gifts or coupons.
When it comes to communicating this program, you can choose to:
- Send a newsletter to your clients,
- Make a pop-up page after booking
- Propose it in the sales negotiation for your travel offers
- Promote on different platforms (social media, travel website recommendations)
This way you will get to generate leads from your travel offers.
In these recent years, travel agencies started relying on branding to attract more leads.
Defining the targeted audience and connecting with them became the main focus for travel agents.
As a matter of fact, they started creating a brand image with visuals and written content which helps with SEO.
In addition to a brand community that gathers all their clients and generates organic leads.
Since these times presented threats to the travel industry, there was a loss of 9.8% in the travel business growth.
In consequence, branding became essential for customer retention and high exposure of the travel agents.
However, we are not talking about the logo, website, and lovely poems to describe a company.
Rather, our focus is the brand identity which will showcase the travel agency’s purpose and the clients they serve.
In this case, it is crucial to allocate a huge resource for the marketing department to create a brand image.
While for certain travel agents this might require development or even a new and fresh identity.
To figure it out ask questions like:
- What is your main purpose?
- How are you different from other travel agents?
- Are you able to connect with your targeted audience?
- Do your clients appreciate your offers?
In the end, the efforts will have a great impact on lead generation for travel agents.
7) Landing Pages
We previously talked about brand identity and how it should be in correlation with the brand style.
And we also discussed in this article, the importance of landing pages for lead generation.
The question remains, is landing pages an important factor of lead generation for travel agents?
For online travel agents, the first page will serve as the storefront.
Now we all remember how conventional travel agencies’ storefront looks like.
They display huge images of the beach with big font sentences like “Discover your dream destination”.
The same thing applies to landing pages. You will need a design that will attract leads to you.
Many travel agencies look the same with a flight or hotel search display.
However, in these late years, the possibilities became endless for lead generation travel landing pages.
You can find pop-up pages, CTA’s, Subscriptions to newsletters and upcoming discounts, and displays of their best offers.
Moreover, you can develop the landing page from scratch or just buy a template and make some changes.
6) Outbound Marketing (Cold Calls and Email Series)
For travel agents, cold calling has been around for decades. It is one of the first tools used for lead generation.
Whether you want to do it yourself or outsource to a lead generation call center, you need to set your goals.
After defining your objectives and where will you allocate your resources, build a contact list.
In some cases, you contact a pre-defined list of high-quality leads and in others you are promoting to unknown leads.
This can result in low conversion rates and high expenses.
In both cases the main qualities of a lead generation travel agent are:
Email marketing, on the other hand, is not as expensive as cold calling.
In addition, it is still one of the most effective methods to get leads for the travel agents.
There are many email automation tools and software to help with the process.
You can build your email list yourself or use these new technologies to generate a list of emails for you.
Once you have your list ready, you need to set up a strategy to close those leads using your email campaign.
Newsletters showcasing the different offers, travel deals, tips, and relevant information will have a high rate of conversion.
Don’t forget to add links to the agency’s offer or website and to use CTA’s in your email, to trigger leads’ curiosity.
Organic methods of lead generation for travel agents
Expanding the travel agency network is crucial for any travel business. These networks usually result in Partnership.
The partnership is the term of a collaborative agreement between active service providers for the travel industry.
The parties involved have a common purpose and goal which evolves around lead generation.
Among the benefits of such collaboration is to share the risks, resources, competencies and also gather together the leads of each party.
In order to establish partnerships with other travel operators and major industry players, you should first reach out to them.
Again, the partner you will look for should have the same quality leads as you do.
Otherwise, the agent’s efforts for lead generation will have no success or results from this partnership.
Examples of ways to find and reach a travel partner:
Travel trade fairs, events, and conferences:
Those events are very expensive, which means the travel business participating play a major role in the travel industry.
For this reason, you will find a lot of travel agents attending exhibitions and conferences to connect with them and each other.
Attending or participating in travel events and conferences will allow you to build networks and possible partnerships.
(via Network in Vegas)
Don’t forget to take a lot of business cards, you will handle them after every face-to-face conversation.
In addition, ask for theirs, that way you will have their contact information for you to send them your newsletters.
In the end, you will be “hitting two birds with one stone”, generating more leads and building your network.
Whether you have a premium account or not, LinkedIn is of an utmost importance for travel agents.
Not only it serves well for B2B lead generations but also helps locating important people in the travel industry.
You will be able to find leaders of travel agencies and global travel companies according to location and targeted market.
When you try to approach them, know their professional personality and build your communication pitch accordingly.
2) Word of mouth marketing:
Hearing success stories from travel agents, you come to the conclusion that word of mouth has a lot of potential.
Promoting the travel business starts with you. No one knows you better than you do, so go out there and talk about your travel company.
Host webinars, attend events, communicate with your network, engage on social media and do whatever it takes.
This is how you succeed with generating leads. In other words, you will be stuck in your audience’s mind and be the first to go to for booking.
As a result, you will get leads from recommendations of other clients or just people who bumped into you.
3) Social media marketing
Only 20% of travel agents consider social media important to business.
Still, social media is a very useful tool of lead generation for travel agents.
One of the main reasons why it’s important is that people are active on those platforms which increases reach.
Second reason is the fact that it’s totally free!
In fact, social media platforms are where you can succeed in your word-of-mouth campaign.
People from all over the world and with different backgrounds are actively present on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Therefore, there is a chance to use social media for:
- Creating and communicating your brand identity
- Building a community of followers
- Promoting your travel offers and packages
Check out this article to know how to generate more leads through social media.
Lead generation for travel agents can represent an overwhelming challenge.
Especially in the past year where travel agents faced losses due to the pandemic.
However, there are plenty of ways to reshape the travel industry.
Tools of lead generation proved to be helpful for other businesses, then why not consider them for travel agents.
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