How to create a marketing plan for your travel agency

Travel agency marketing planIf you work for a huge corporation in a massive marketing department, the chances are you won’t learn anything new from me.  Of course, if you have a marketing plan and you need a copywriter, please get in touch.

When you’re a one person business, everything falls to you.  Coming up with a marketing plan alongside everything else that needs doing can just seem like an extra chore.  In fact, making a plan helps you to delegate when you need to.  Realising that you’re not going to have time to do everything is much easier to deal with when you know in advance and can get some help.

So, where do you start?

Know your customer

If I had a pound for every time I’d given or been given this piece of advice I could retire a wealthy woman.  You can base your customer profiles on their age, interests, physical location or any number of things.  However, all sorts of people need a holiday.  Your marketing plan should focus on what their needs and desires are and how you can help them to achieve that.

For example, cash poor but time rich people might be more likely to spend hours on price comparison sites so won’t be tempted by your promise to take everything off their hands, but might be interested to know that a package can protect their money if the airline goes bust.  A busy professional with a high level of disposable income is more likely to pay a premium if you can save them time and hassle.

Plan your content

The odds are that your customers are either going to find you on Facebook or in a Google search.  Having a proper strategy means that you aren’t scrabbling around from week to week wondering what to post.  You can work out what your customers might like to see and schedule it in advance.  If you use Facebook Live you can also let your audience know when to expect you so you get more viewers.  Regular website updates with relevant content will help you to be found more easily.

I could fill a whole series of blog posts with advice on what to post and what to put on your website.  However, the point of having a marketing plan is that it allows you to develop a strategy.  What are your busiest times of year?  When do people start thinking about booking their summer holiday?  Probably Boxing Day.  All the travel agents I’ve spoken to have Christmas done and dusted and they’re now thinking about Easter, so I’m guessing you’re the same.

Think about what is going to get people interested in booking a summer holiday with you.  Do they know where they want to go already?  Are they looking for a specific activity?  You can use blog content to talk about a particular topic or destination and share it on social media.  Take a useful tip from your blog and post it separately.  Use video to offer a virtual tour. For more ideas you can download my free guide here.

I’d usually recommend planning at least a month’s worth of content, then you can test what’s working and adjust accordingly.

Marketing plan = planned spend

Every so often I get a little flurry of phone calls from people trying to sell me advertising.  There’s nothing wrong with using print if it suits your audience, but it’s very hard to track.  Unless people tell you they’ve seen your advert you have no idea whether it’s got you any sales or not.

The fact is, if you don’t have a plan the sales people could catch you off guard and you could end up spending money without getting much for it.  If it’s all planned you can just tell them that you’ve already allocated your budget for this quarter.  I started to feel like a proper business owner when I used sentences like that!

It also means that when you invest in digital advertising you can do it with a clear goal.

Email marketing

Finally, a word on email marketing.  I’m writing this knowing that the GDPR is coming in next year and I don’t fully understand (yet) how the rules will change.  However, if you can offer something that allows customers to willingly sign up to your marketing emails, or to hear from you via Messenger, you don’t have to worry about changes to the Facebook algorithm quite so much.

Do you have a plan for next year?  If you need any help, get in touch, or leave me a comment below.

Further reading

The Ultimate List of marketing ideas for travel agencies

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