Romantic Planet Vacations owner Laurie Keith offered up tips to help travel consultants increase their romance travel sales during TMR’s Travel MarketPlace conference in Toronto this week.
About 25% of Canadian weddings are held overseas, making the romance segment a profitable niche for Canadian travel agents. The destination wedding market amounts for $16 billion in sales; the honeymoon market is about $12 billion.
As one of the first in Canada to specialize in destination weddings and honeymoons, with more than 13 years of experience selling this niche, she suggested five steps:
Step 1: Go get it.
Find out where Millennials are and seek them out, whether it’s online, on social media or at bridal shows. Nine out of 10 couples (92%) search online when planning their wedding, so be a game player on social media.
Step 2: Become an expert.
Separate yourself from the pack by going the extra mile. Become certified or earn a resort wedding certificate, like the Sandals Wedding Moons Specialist. And once you it, make sure you flaunt it on your business cards and website.
Step 3: Don’t undersell yourself.
Know your value. Booking one group for a wedding can take 50 hours of work, so don’t be timid about applying markups of $100-$200 to tour operator packages.
Step 4: Take advantage of add-ons.
Adding services can drastically boost profits from a group wedding. Pre-booking excursions, wedding planning services and wedding packages from resorts are another opportunity to add value because you already have a captive audience.
Step 5: Start a referral program.
Every engaged couple has four or five friends or relatives who will get engaged in the next year.
So take the extra step to reach these potential clients by getting their contact information and following up with them. Offer a credit or other bonus for bringing you new clients.