Using a travel sales campaign checklist covering planning, measuring, and optimizing will bring success in travel industry marketing and sales.
A travel sales campaign checklist that includes integrating toll free numbers and clever planning will help you build a great travel sales campaign. Whether you book resort property, airline or cruise sales, plan event travel, or market destinations, using a checklist to build your campaigns will help you improve sales.
With testing, you can find the right messages and images. With planning and preparation, you can find the right offer, price point, and back-end booking capabilities to provide your customers a pleasant purchasing experience and convert them to repeat customers.
Travel Sales Campaign Checklist
A simple checklist is all you need to prepare an effective campaign. Here’s an example travel sales campaign checklist to help you get started.
- Research and Plan Your Travel Marketing Campaign
- Test Your Message and Images
- Set Up Your Campaign and Advertise
- Start Planning Again
Research and Plan Your Travel Marketing Campaign
Planning includes researching your destination, property, or customer preferences, but everything else as well.
When thinking of customer segments, don’t forget to focus on price as a key factor in each campaign and offer. Price is always a factor in every visitor segment. Many travelers start with price, disregarding value and amenities.
As you think of all your campaign channels, remember that email campaigns often yield the highest response. In addition, your house email list is going to be your “sweetest” list.
Use blogger outreach to not only help with promotions later, but to see what’s hot and interesting, and what travelers are seeking. Build positive relationships through truth and value with travel and culture bloggers
Build relationships with travel publications. Find the magazines and blogs that line up with your target demographics. And “magazines” means online/offline.
While researching and planning, spend some time pulling together your testimonials inventory. You can use them selectively, targeting each demographic with appropriate testimonials as your campaign begins. Under 20 customers and Over 65 customers want different testimonials.
Seek out optimistic language and happy holiday imagery, words and pictures, that you can use with your campaign.
Segment you offerings by age group and income – offers and pictures targeted to college travellers should differ from new horizon club members looking for their first post-retirement cruise or resort experience.
Plan how you will brand your campaign. Don’t just promote the destination or event, but instead plan to promote your brand throughout every campaign. Over time, your brand will become a key part of your offer and call to action. You cannot control what competitors do, but you have complete control of your good reputation and your brand name.
Make sure you’ve researched your destination or property for bad news. Don’t drag visitors into post-hurricane wreckage that’s not yet cleaned up, or recommend tours where bandits regularly board the bus. Protect your reputation and gain the trust of your prospective customers by steering travelers away from trouble.
Plan to make generous use of affordable international toll free numbers. Use an attractive and memorable vanity toll free number for your main number. Setup and use individual toll free numbers for your planned campaigns so that you can configure your cloud hosted PBX to route the calls to your agents who have the most experience with the tour, property, cruise, or event that is being promoted by the campaign. You’ll be better able to track calls generated by the campaign and correlate this with bookings and sales.
As part of your campaign, plan to use social media to present your brand and gather followers who will become advocates and customers. Don’t use social media to sell just a campaign, it’s not always that effective.
As you plan for the travel offerings in your campaign, give options but limit those options to a handful. The time to decide doubles for each option added, and your chances of making a booking dwindle as options increase.
Avoid travel jargon in your messaging, including ads, calls to action, landing pages, and call center scripts and selling points. Make everything the prospective customers see, read, or hear should be in plain language that the prospects understand and use.
Test Your Message and Images
Test your messages and images using A/B testing tools like Google Website Optimizer or any of many other tools. These are easy to use and don’t require a PhD in computer science to use.
Experiment and don’t ignore the results. Try new messages and images. Try new ad placements. Connect with new social media. Try new offers, and try new campaign intervals and target segments. Take numbers and record them. Read and mine the numbers. Throw away the losers, and adopt new winners.
Test response to pictures before selecting them for your final (big) campaign. Use smaller test mailings or ads to find those pictures with the best end to end conversion in each segment. Test each image and each message in combinations. Try different segments so each group gets the right visual picture, message, and offer.
Optimize Your Campaign
With results in hand from your tests of images and messages, choose the highest performing images and messaging for each of your campaigns about to go live. Hold back the losers for later comparison testing with other segments and seasons.
Make sure you have a convincing message for each segment, and that you have the right channel assigned for each segment.
Set Up Your Campaign and Advertise
Make sure that your cloud hosted PBX is programmed to forward each campaign-based toll free number to the right person or group.
Make sure that your international toll free numbers are all working correctly. Make test calls to each number to ensure that calls are being routed to the correct group in your travel marketing and booking organization.
Make sure that your hold music, hold messages, and forwarding messages are compatible and up to date to service your campaign. Customers calling in September to plan a January Caribbean resort visit probably aren’t wanting to hear about a summer in Europe special left over from the previous March.
Brief you call center staff on each campaign just like a chef doing pre-service in a great restaurant. Make sure your agents have the right answers for questions that go with the campaign, and make sure the talking points match your campaign advertising including PPC ads, banners, landing page language, and offer details. If you have any up sell options like travel insurance or excursion options, make sure your agents have all the facts and selling points.
Notify your IT staff of the incoming campaign. Let them know which toll free numbers are assigned to each part of the campaign. Give them a list of websites and landing pages that will be active in the campaign. Include notification emails that will be sent into your sales and marketing group, and a list of confirmation emails that will be sent to customers.
Make sure you test all the inbound phone lines, all the lead generation forms, and make sure all the notification and confirmation emails are sending correctly.
Check your customer management system to ensure that tests you do populate test customers in your CMS.
Use the advertising channels that traditionally work well, and add new channels based on your earlier testing.
Prepare and test your outbound emails, mailing pieces, PPC and banner ads, and any print media that you’ve chosen. Make sure everything can be tracked. Make corrections as needed. Don’t forget to add sleepers to each email and postal mail list you test so that you can verify delivery.
Launch your campaign – send your emails, mailing pieces, displays ads and print media of all types.
Work with your call center team and each of your international toll free numbers to make sure you are getting leads on each channel of your campaign, and that the leads are converting.
Make sure that interested customers are hearing a consistent positive message based on a persuasive and compelling call to action and supporting value statements.
Work through problems you find.
Take data. Record everything you can so that you know who your responders and purchasers are.
Mine your data. Gather and review your bookings data and all customer and destination or property data unique to each purchase.
Review the data to understand how well or poorly your offers and advertising worked, and to assess your segmentation of the market.
Update your house list of customers. Nothing is more valuable than a good list of repeat customers. Offer those customers discounts and extra to cruise or visit again with more friends in tow, and ask for testimonials.
Start Planning Again
Re-segment by age, purchase amount, length of stay, associated holiday period, based on campaign results. Use this information to update your annual marketing calendar with marketing windows for each of your properties and cruises.
Make sure your future marketing campaigns are planned to align with popular booking cycles.
Update your website with successful messages and images from your completed campaigns.
Build backlinks for your web site. Either you or your SEO can work on building quality backlinks to your web site. These backlinks bring in traffic 24x7x365, whether you have active campaigns or not.
Revise and refine your targeting. Consider breaking up your market segments into smaller, tighter groups for better response. For example, you can break up your over-62 demographic into working and retired subgroups. Each of these groups have similar destination interests, but they probably differ in when they want to travel or length of stay.
No question about it, clever use of toll free numbers and great campaign planning can bring sales success in the travel and hospitality industry. By finding the right messages and presentation of imagery, the right price points, and by connecting this with a seamless customer purchasing experience, you’ll create happy customers who will let you entertain them again.