Eight Ways To Grow Sales, From Eight Powerful Women In Travel

by Marilee Crocker
Eight Ways To Grow Sales, From Eight Powerful Women In Travel


If there’s one question that’s top-of-mind for most leisure travel sellers in both good times and bad it is this: How can I grow my sales? In Part 2 of our “powerful women” series, we posed that question to eight of the most successful women in retail travel. Here’s what they said.

1. Market to your current customers.
“If you’re not marketing to your customers someone else is—every TV or car company or Best Buy. Everyone’s after that same discretionary dollar. I get emails from Bloomingdales every single day; they’re out there touching me. In order to grow sales, you’ve got to be marketing to and touching your customers. Start simple, but start. And be consistent with it.”
– Elaine San Juan, director western region, leisure, Worldview Travel, Santa Ana, CA
 
2. Turn your clients into your advocates.
"Plan the absolute best trip you can for each of your clients, and word will spread. Use new technologies that keep you front and center. Don’t underestimate the simplicity of a note that suggests opportunities that you believe your clients will love—because you know them best. When you can surprise and delight, perhaps remembering an important anniversary or upcoming event that would make the perfect reason for travel, and you deliver in extraordinary ways, your clients will become your best advocates to their friends and family.” 
– Claire Bennett, executive vice president, American Express Travel, New York
 
3. Support your preferred suppliers.
“Agencies that are very strong on preferred suppliers grow their sales exponentially. Don’t spread your volume across multiple suppliers; you’ll earn more by going to a few and aggregating your sales. We’ve seen agencies do well by working very closely with suppliers on groups, where suppliers help agents gain more clients by selling to affinity groups and by helping them in the marketplace. Suppliers will do that if you’re truly supporting them.”
– Nicole Mazza, chief marketing officer, TRAVELSAVERS, The Affluent Traveler and NEST, Oyster Bay, NY
 
4. Leverage the power of marketing technology.
“The future of travel is at the intersection of marketing and technology—tech tools driven by strategic marketing initiatives. For example, our triggered email campaign automatically launches strategic emails and speaks directly to agents’ customers up to eight times during the buying process in order to help our agents look larger than life.”
– Michelle Fee, CEO and co-founder, Cruise Planners, Coral Springs, FL
 
5. Use the tools, but keep it personal.
“Balance your use of technology with the personal touch. I am a big advocate of having a CRM [customer relationship management system] from day one to capture and market to potential clients with the goal of converting them to repeat clients. Engage in two-way conversations through social media and on the telephone. Remember to keep it personal by building a business friendship that will differentiate you and add value to the relationship.”
– Jackie Friedman, president, Nexion, Southlake, TX
 
6. Affiliate with a strong brand.
“One way to expand your client base and grow sales is by affiliating yourself with a great brand. Align with a franchise system or a host agency and take advantage of its technology, business resources, back-office support, training opportunities, and more. You will get access to exclusive offers to pass on to your customers, and to teams of experts and programs that are dedicated to growing your business, like free social media programs and business development managers who provide local marketing support.”
– Debbie Fiorino, senior vice president, CruiseOne/Dream Vacations and Cruises Inc., Wilmington, MA
 
7. Get used to selling yourself.
“If you are an independent travel advisor and you have to find your own clients to grow your sales, it's important to feel comfortable marketing yourself. Use social media, create a blog and find a niche that you are passionate about. Be sure to ask your clients for referrals. It’s the easiest and cheapest way to get more clients.”
– Kimberly Wilson Wetty, co-president Valerie Wilson Travel, New York
 
8. Always ask for referrals.
 “Leisure agents can best growth their businesses via proactive word of mouth and referrals. This is the single best strategy to follow.”
– Andi Mysza, president, MTravel, Montrose, CA

Related story: Eight Powerful Women in Travel Offer Eight Tips For New Travel Agents

  3
  0
Tip of the Day

Believe it or not if you're not packaging events and selling them, your customers are likely doing it for themselves.

Lynn Fuhler

Daily Top List

The World’s Top 5 Airports

1. Changi Airport, Singapore

2. Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong

3. Zurich Airport, Switzerland

4. Hamad International Airport, Doha

5. Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Source: Wanderlust

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Festivals and Events Hold the Key to Growing Travel Agents’ Bottom Line
Festivals and Events Hold the Key to Growing Travel Agents’ Bottom Line

A former tourism director, who consults on festivals and events, offers agents a way to build their group business.

Headquarter Happenings: NEST’s Home-Based Travel Agents Gather in Orlando
Headquarter Happenings: NEST’s Home-Based Travel Agents Gather in Orlando

Experts talk about the importance of setting goals to help home-based agents build their businesses.

Where Do Travel Agents' Responsibilities to Clients Begin and End?
Where Do Travel Agents' Responsibilities to Clients Begin and End?

Modern legal thinking says the agent-client relationship begins with the first contact and only ends when the trip is concluded.

Travel Agents Can Attract Customers in the 'Consideration Phase' for Bigger Sales
Travel Agents Can Attract Customers in the 'Consideration Phase' for Bigger Sales

Travel industry experts advise targeting consumers during the “consideration phase” by having a brand that sells less and inspires people to travel more.

Advising the Wealthy: Travel Agents Need to Save Clients From Themselves
Advising the Wealthy: Travel Agents Need to Save Clients From Themselves

Successful travel advisors give tips on how to establish trust and become the travel confidant to the top 1-percenters.

As REAL ID Deadline Approaches, Having a Passport More Important than Ever
As REAL ID Deadline Approaches, Having a Passport More Important than Ever

As diplomatic relations toughen in the Trump White House, the REAL ID Act deadline may yet get some teeth—and travelers in many states may be required to show a passport for even domestic travel.

News Briefs
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Royal Caribbean International