Four Online Engagement Tactics for Travel Agents

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Lately, I’ve been looking at online marketplaces, those where you can set up a virtual shop to sell your creative wares. It turns out, Etsy and Shopify have user forums where you can ask fellow sellers to critique your pages. Most of the requests stem from those who get traffic, but very few sales.

Ruthanne Terrero, Vice President–Content/Editorial Director
Ruthanne Terrero, Vice President–Content/Editorial Director

If you have a website that’s aimed at getting potential customers to contact you, the following tips, garnered from these forums, may be of interest.

Clean up your homepage and clarify your messaging: My mind is always boggled by travel agent websites whose home pages are stacked with supplier logos. What makes you different from the other guy with the supplier logos? Why should someone click on your homepage when they can just as easily go to the supplier directly?

Tell your story: This is a big one for Etsy, where the products you’re looking at are likely handmade. But there are a lot of things for sale on Etsy. If you type the word “art” into the search bar, results will show there are nearly two million items in the print category and 728,000 for paintings. How in the world can you get someone to purchase your special image of a cat or a fashionista? Successful sellers suggest using part of your page to talk about your process. Where do you get your ideas? What happens when you sit down to create your piece? You can do the same thing by describing how you welcome new clients, perhaps even post an image of you or your advisors sitting down to craft an itinerary. Any self reveals of the real you may attract those who want to be a part of your world and get them to click on that “learn more” button. If they do contact you, respond quickly and with joy. Spell their name correctly and open your virtual front door even wider with the answers you’re giving them.

Use the “FOMO” tactic: That’s Fear of Missing Out. Sellers on Shopify told one frustrated vendor of key rings who had gotten 14,000 click-throughs on his post, but no buyers, that he should limit the time frame his products are available to create a sense of urgency. I don’t suggest you start putting “Buy Now!!!” lingo all over your site, but think about it. As a seller of cruises and tours, your products do have expiration dates. Be sure to mention those opportunities that are filling up quickly or require a certain booking date. Along the same lines, your potential clients only have one opportunity to celebrate a big anniversary or birthday. Why not use wording that encourages them to contact you for special occasion travel before the moment passes?

A final tip: Use social networking to engage with potential customers, not to sell. I personally find this challenging, but the most successful people on Instagram are those who respond to people commenting on their posts in a conversational manner, which creates a friendly vibe. When they post their photos they usually reveal something personal or provide an interesting insight to their business process. They don’t overdo it on the calls to action. The upside is that Instagram users are savvy enough to look for an online link under a poster’s username, which will likely connect them to a blog, Etsy shop or website where they can actually make a purchase.