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

by Marilee Crocker


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

We, as advisors, have to start looking at different avenues that will pay better for us, so you can continue to at least be profitable.

Nicole Mazza, Travelsavers

Daily Top List

The Best Travel Pillows

1. Travelmate Memory Foam Neck Pillow

2. Travelrest Memory Foam Travel and Neck Pillow

3. Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Pillow

4. J-Pillow

5. Bcozzy Chin Supporting Travel Pillow

Source: Jetsetter

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=0ffb8b62-8a96-e911-be17-782bcb66a2f2)

What You Need to Know About Selling Cruises to Foodies

Travelers today increasingly seek out authentic culinary experiences, wanting to go beyond restaurant lists and celebrity chefs, to experiences that are more varied, more three-dimensional, immersive and real.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
ASTA Needs Advisor Support for California IC Bill
ASTA Needs Advisor Support for California IC Bill

The proposed bill, California AB5, would require California travel agencies to convert their independent contractors (ICs) into full-time employees.

Two Tour Operators Disappear, Leaving Travel Advisors and Customers in the Lurch
Two Tour Operators Disappear, Leaving Travel Advisors and Customers in the Lurch

This is a cautionary tale about a travel supplier who went out of business and left customers and travel agents in the lurch for thousands of dollars — and how to protect yourself so you do not become the next victim.

Travel Agents Balance Supporting the Dominican Republic and Their Clients
Travel Agents Balance Supporting the Dominican Republic and Their Clients

Once again, advisors struggle to combat bad news about a destination they love, while ensuring that their clients are fully informed. And a social media campaign by travel advisors is underway.

The Risks Travel Advisors Face Vetting Local Vendors
The Risks Travel Advisors Face Vetting Local Vendors

It’s one of the most difficult tasks a travel agent can outsource: Handing clients off to a local, in-market vendor. Former travel advisor Jennifer Borgh offers her tips on how to do it wisely.

ASTA Launches ‘Vacation Do Over’ Contest
ASTA Launches ‘Vacation Do Over’ Contest

Travelers can enter to win a $10,000 dream getaway planned by a professional travel advisor.

More Highlights from Travel MarketPlace East 2019
More Highlights from Travel MarketPlace East 2019

From tips about selling your agency to ideas on how to handle publicity, here are more highlights from Travel MarketPlace.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards & Outlooks