A Travel agency is a perfect example of service-oriented marketing. Apart from the usual services rendered, a travel agency is also expected to provide outdoor recreational facilities and various other allied services.
The earliest travel agency is Cox and Kings, which opened shop in 1758. Another very reputable travel agency Thomas Cook started operations in 1841.
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Travel agencies have organized syndicates and bureaus that formalize rules and regulations for the travel industry and are an apex body and an ombudsman to look after all issues and grievances. Before this ongoing period of a global pandemic, the travel industry was performing quite well globally.
Functions of a travel agency
The following are the general functions of a travel agency:
- The travel agency is an intermediary between the service providers like airlines, railways and roadways, hotel and restaurant chains, eateries, car booking agencies, and special events planners like a wedding planners, honeymoon planners,s or any corporate event or conference planner
- The travel agency is required to deliver all the necessary information regarding the travel plans of its clients/customers.
- The travel agency must prepare itineraries for its clients/ customers so that it is budget-friendly and, at the same time, covers all aspects of the travel plan.
- Very effective liaison is expected from the travel agency with the service providers to the best satisfaction of the clients.
- The client/customer will receive ticketing and reservation services from the agency.
- Arrangements of foreign exchange also come under the important functions of the travel agency.
- Arranging insurance claims and benefits should such a situation arise is also an important function of the travel agency.
The target audience of a travel agency
People love to travel and see far-off places, participate in adventurous and educational tours, and see places of great historical interest. The following are the broad categories of people that travel frequently –
- Corporate executives and office people going out on tours
- Family going out on tours
- Wedding guests
- Tourist groups
- Honeymoon planners
- Corporate conferences
- Students going out on educational tours tour
- Families of patients going out of the station to nursing homes in other states for treatment
- Tour conducted for the distributors and agents of corporate houses for fulfilling targets.
- Hiking and trekking tours and tours for adventurous sports
- Logo – Since the logo is the first contact with the agency and the target audience, the same needs to be meticulously designed. The logo should contain icons or images of the type of travel services the agency imparts. Most of the time, it illustrates an aircraft taking off. The font and the typestyle should be sleek with modern fonts which can readily impress the target audience.
- Name and tagline – This is the first step toward the brand personification of a travel agency. An ideal brand name should somehow join the terms of global travel and comfort in its brand name. The tagline should be such that it mentions familiar terms related to comfortable traveling so that the consumers can interact with the travel agency.
- Colour of the logo – The color scheme should be such that the brand message and personality should be aptly communicated to the TG group.
- Positioning of the travel agency brand – Almost all travel agencies follow the same basic principles of operation. Therefore the positioning exercise must be extremely important so that the brand stands out in respect of other me-too brands. The positioning should be according to the likes and dislikes in the industry and the market trends.
- Pricing strategy – Cutthroat competition is the order of the day in the travel agency fraternity. Therefore pricing is a very important factor. The clients and customers must be made to believe that they are getting their money’s worth fully.
To be a successful travel agency, the brand message, which is one of the three important mixes of a successful brand, needs to be consistent in total communications. The message should be truthful and realistic so that the customers and the target audience can have a sense of faith and trust in the agency. The message should also have the touch of full professionalism and value for money.
Brand voice epitomizes the attitude and values of the brand, and the selection of the correct words is essential to convey the right meaning to the target audience. The brand’s personality is explained clearly through the brand voice and will help create an instant attachment with the target audience. Brand voice is very important in the travel and travel-related industry.
Brand personality in the travel industry is a very important phenomenon. The important points that are needed to make a successful brand personality are the traits of sophistication to the core, being thoroughly competent about the jobs, honesty, down–to–earth, truthfulness, and integrity at the same time being tough and ready to accept the challenge.
- Tracking the clients of the competitors and pitching for them.
- Keeps the pricing of various journey packages at par or below the competitor’s prices
- To find out what exotic places of interest the competitors are catering to and to make similar tour programs at better prices.
- Better trade schemes to offer to the corporate clients
- To offer add-on recreational facilities at no extra cost to the client’s tour program on tour.
- To ensure that the food and beverages offered are better than the clients.
Advertisements and media options
- Colour advertisement insertions in A1 dailies with bright color schemes, preferably on the special supplement and general interest pages.
- Bright colored advertisements in travel magazines
- Signage in airports, railway stations, and interstate bus terminus
- Participation in travel fairs and vacation fairs
- Offering freebies by advertising in print media
- Word of mouth advertising with referrals
- Signage displays at various hotel lounges
- Office and retail/ trade environments
- Office environment interior decoration should truly represent the ambiance of a travel agency.
- The office should have miniature models of aircraft
- Business cards should represent a truly modern travel agency
- Signage and neon sign displays at airports, railway stations, pubs, hotel lounges
- The dress code is to be properly maintained with the company logo in the company house color used as a badge by the employees.
- Giving souvenirs and gifts at client offices on special occasions
- Personal interaction with clients
- Google Plus
- Uploading of a promotional video on YouTube
- An easily navigable website is a prerequisite
- The website design must be bright with images and illustrations of international places of repute and historically famous buildings.
- Testimonials of satisfied clients must be uploaded
- Mobile and tab-friendly design
- Search engine optimization is a must
- The website must contain links to various historical sites in foreign countries.
- All contact information must be added
- Compatible with Google Analytics
- Online booking and ticketing coupled with reservations should be there
- The website should contain various dos and don’ts at all tourist spots, which are beneficial for travelers.
The travel industry is very sophisticated and glamorous, with both cutthroat and healthy competition. Till now, it has been great to be working with the travel agency and with the travel fraternity. The travel agency business was very profitable too.
With the current pandemic, which has hit our planet very badly, the travel industry and the traveling fraternity will have to face serious uphill challenges in the coming months. It will be very interesting to see how travel agencies can handle such a situation in these trying times and rise to the occasion once again.
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