5 ways to grow your travel business with word of mouth marketing

Inquiring about your client's experiences, soliciting feedback, and showing genuine interest in their journey create a positive impression. This word-of-mouth marketing approach not only opens doors for them to share their experiences but also lays the foundation for long-term loyalty.
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In the dynamic world of the travel business, where authenticity and personal recommendations (aka word-of-mouth marketing) hold immense value, harnessing the power of word-of-mouth marketing can significantly propel your brand’s growth. Leveraging the experiences of satisfied travelers to generate buzz and credibility is a strategy that transcends traditional advertising.

We have come up with five impactful ways to harness the potential of word-of-mouth marketing — and elevate your travel business to new heights.

1. Automated Review Requests via Email.

After travelers return from their journeys, seize the moment to request reviews through automated emails. A timely follow-up email, expressing gratitude for their business and kindly asking for their feedback, not only demonstrates your commitment to their satisfaction but also encourages them to share their experiences with others.

2. Handwritten Thank-You Notes.

In this digital age, the sincerity of a handwritten note holds tremendous weight. Sending personalized thank-you notes to your clients’ post-trip not only leaves a lasting impression but also provides an opportunity to gently encourage them to share their experiences with friends, family, and peers.

word-of-mouth marketing, handwritten letter

3. Attend Local Events.

These events offer opportunities to connect with potential travelers and showcase your expertise. Building face-to-face connections fosters a sense of trust and authenticity that resonates with word-of-mouth recommendations.

Travel agents can benefit from participating in a variety of local events to promote their business and connect with potential clients. There are numerous types of local events at which travel agents can showcase their expertise and engage with their community.

Some of these local events can include but are not limited to:

Travel Expos and Fairs. These events are tailor-made for travel agents. They provide a platform to showcase different travel packages, destinations, and services. Attendees are usually individuals who are actively interested in traveling, making it an ideal opportunity to network and establish connections.

Cultural Festivals. Many communities host cultural festivals that celebrate different countries or regions. As a travel agent, you can set up a booth, provide information about destinations related to the theme of the festival, and engage with attendees who share a passion for those cultures.

Chamber of Commerce Mixers. Local business mixers organized by the Chamber of Commerce offer an opportunity to network with other local businesses, some of which might be interested in corporate travel arrangements. It’s a chance to establish mutually beneficial partnerships.

Charity Events. Supporting local charities or nonprofit organizations through sponsorship or participation can provide exposure for your travel business. Attendees who resonate with your business values might be interested in your services.

Workshops and Seminars. Consider hosting workshops or seminars on topics related to travel, such as travel planning tips, packing essentials, or destination-specific information. This positions you as an expert and gives you direct access to an engaged audience.

Outdoor Adventure Events. If your travel agency specializes in adventure or eco-tourism, consider participating in outdoor events like hiking expos, biking events, or nature festivals. These gatherings attract individuals interested in outdoor activities and can be an excellent fit for your services.

Women’s Expos. Women-focused events often include aspects of wellness, self-care, and travel. If your target audience includes female travelers, these events can be a great opportunity to connect with them.

School and College Fairs. Participating in educational fairs allows you to reach out to families planning vacations, study abroad programs, or educational trips for students.

Travel-themed Movie Nights or Presentations. Collaborate with local venues to organize travel-themed movie nights or presentations. You can share insights, stories, and recommendations related to destinations featured in the movies.  Some Parks and Recreation organizations regularly host themed events, so feel free to reach out to them as well.

Food and Drink Festivals. Many travelers are also food enthusiasts. Attending food and drink festivals can be a chance to discuss culinary travel experiences and recommend destinations known for their cuisine.

Networking Groups. Join local networking groups that cater to various professions. By building relationships with professionals from diverse fields, you can tap into potential clients with different travel needs.

Holiday Markets. Set up a booth at holiday markets or seasonal bazaars where you can promote travel gift certificates, and holiday packages as unique presents, or simply spread the seasonal joy!

When choosing local events to attend, consider your target audience, the nature of your travel agency’s services, and the overall theme of the event.  Remember that successful participation goes beyond setting up a booth – it involves engaging with attendees, sharing valuable insights, and creating memorable interactions that leave a positive impression about your travel business.

4. Thoughtful Post-Trip Follow-Ups.

Cultivate a lasting relationship with your clients by reaching out to them a few weeks after their trips. This usually allows them to have extra time to think about what they wish they would have done differently (if they have any regrets) or even where they want to travel next.

Inquiring about their experiences, soliciting feedback, and showing genuine interest in their journey create a positive impression. This word-of-mouth marketing approach not only opens doors for them to share their experiences but also lays the foundation for long-term loyalty.

word-of-mouth marketing,local events

Check out this example survey you can customize and then send to your clients!

Travel Agent Customer Satisfaction Survey

Dear [Client’s Name],

Thank you for choosing [Your Travel Agency Name] for your recent travel experience. We value your feedback and would greatly appreciate a few minutes of your time to complete this survey. Your insights will help us improve our services and ensure we continue to meet your expectations.

Personal Information:

Name: [Your Name]

Trip Dates: [Start Date] to [End Date]

Email Address: [Your Email]

Customer Satisfaction: Please rate your overall satisfaction with our services on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “Very Dissatisfied” and 5 being “Very Satisfied.”

1 – Very Dissatisfied

2 – Dissatisfied

3 – Neutral

4 – Satisfied

5 – Very Satisfied

Travel Experience:  How would you rate the quality of the travel arrangements made for your trip? (e.g., Flights, Accommodations, Transportation)

1 – Poor

2 – Below Average

3 – Average

4 – Good

5 – Excellent

Were the travel details communicated clearly and effectively before your trip?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not Sure

Agent Interaction: 6. How satisfied were you with the assistance and communication provided by your travel agent?

1 – Very Dissatisfied

2 – Dissatisfied

3 – Neutral

4 – Satisfied

5 – Very Satisfied

Did your travel agent address your questions and concerns adequately?

Yes

No

Please share any specific positive experiences or areas for improvement regarding your interaction with your travel agent:

Suggestions and Referrals: Do you have any suggestions for how we could enhance our services or improve your overall experience?

Would you consider recommending [Your Travel Agency Name] to friends, family, or colleagues for their travel needs?

Yes, definitely

Maybe

No

If you answered “Yes” to the previous question, could you please provide us with their contact information? We’d be happy to reach out and assist them.

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey. Your feedback is invaluable to us, and we look forward to serving you in the future. Should you have any immediate concerns, please feel free to contact us at [Your Contact Information].

Warm regards,

[Your Name] [Your Travel Agency Name]

 

***Just remember that it is essential to keep the survey concise and easy to understand to encourage more clients to provide feedback.***

word-of-mouth marketing,two clients talking

5. Share Personal Experiences.

As a travel business owner, you are likely to explore new destinations yourself. Sharing your personal experiences, recommendations, and anecdotes from your travels can establish a strong rapport with your audience. It showcases your passion for travel and underscores your credibility, inviting others to trust and engage with your services.

Bonus Tip: Showcase Your Brand with Authentic Swag.

Design and distribute branded merchandise like t-shirts, hats, or bags that travelers can use during their journeys. Even better, add your branding to souvenirs like hats or water bottles that you purchased on your travels!

When onlookers turned clients proudly sport your business swag during their travels, it not only advertises your brand in various locations but also sparks conversations and inquiries from fellow travelers, creating more opportunities for organic word-of-mouth marketing.

In the competitive travel industry, word-of-mouth marketing is a powerful tool that can significantly boost your business’s reputation and clientele.

By automating review requests, fostering post-trip relationships, engaging locally, sending personalized notes, sharing your experiences, and leveraging branded merchandise, you will not only enhance your brand’s visibility but also create a loyal community of advocates who enthusiastically share their travel experiences, driving sustained growth for your business.

Meet Pickles Travel Network: The Host Agency That Makes It Easy to Start and Scale Your Travel Business

Whether you’ve just started your travel agent journey, or you’ve been on it… Pickles Travel Network has the tools and resources to help grow your business. Unlike other host agencies, we believe in letting our members choose what works best for their business. Pickles Travel Network allows you to choose your commission rate, along with whether or not you want to charge planning fees. As a member, you’ll receive instant access to our list of suppliers, several marketing platforms and monthly coaching/trainings. 

IATA | CLIA Membership

PTN IATAN code: 45769253

PTN CLIA number: 00032299

When you enroll with suppliers, you must use PTN’s codes to receive a commission from us. Want to sign up for your own CLIA or IATA numbers for exclusive travel benefits? See below.

Get your own IATA/IATAN ID Card:

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The IATA/IATAN ID Card is the industry-standard credential to identify bona fide travel professionals. Key benefits include access to concessionary incentives from industry suppliers. Just added, the IATA MemberPerks program provides cardholders with daily savings at over 300,000 merchants across North America.

To be eligible, you must be registered with IATAN under PTN’s IATA number 45769253, working a minimum of 20 hours per week and earning a minimum of $5,000 per annum in commissions. You’ll need to send PTN a support ticket asking for approval. Once approved, we will send you a PRIN # to allow you to register with IATAN and ask for an ID card.

Get your own CLIA EMBARK ID:

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Obtain a CLIA EMBARC ID for travel discounts and FAM (Familiarization) trips. Join CLIA as an Individual Agent Member, under Pickles Travel Network CLIA #00032299.

Once you’ve registered, submit a support ticket to let us know, and we will approve your registration.