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.
Tips to Build A Travel Brand
Travel agencies have organized syndicates and bureaus that formalize rules and regulations for the travel industry and is an apex body and an ombudsman to look after all issues and grievances. Till recently before this ongoing period of 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 wedding planner, honeymoon planner 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 is required to prepare itineraries for its clients/ customers so that it is budget-friendly and at the same time it 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 reservations services from the agency.
- Arrangements of foreign exchange also comes 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.
Target audience of a travel agency
People love to travel and to see far off places, participate in adventurous tours, educational tours and to 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 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 the icons or the images of the type of travel services that the agency is imparting. Most of the time it is the illustration of an aircraft taking off. The font and the typestyle should be sleek with modern fonts which can readily impress the target audience.
- Name and tag line – This is the first step toward 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 tag line should be such that it mentions the familiar terms related to comfortable travelling so that the consumers can be in oneness with the travel agency.
- Colour of the logo – The colour scheme should be such that brand message and brand 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 an extremely important one 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 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 the 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 are very 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 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, thoroughly competent about the jobs, honesty, down – to – earth, truthful and with integrity at the same time be 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 programmes 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 programme on a tour.
- To ensure that the quality of food and beverages offered is better than the clients.
Advertisements and media options
- Colour advertisement insertions in A1 dailies with bright colour schemes preferably on special supplement page and general interest page.
- Bright coloured 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 ambience of travel agency
- Office should have miniature models of aircrafts
- Business cards should represent a truly modern travel agency
- Signage and neon sign displays at airports, railway stations, pubs, hotel lounges
- Dress code to be properly maintained with the company logo in the company house colour 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 promotional video on YouTube
- Easily navigable website is a prerequisite
- 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
- 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 do’s and don’ts at all tourist spots which are beneficial for the travellers.
Travel industry is a very sophisticated and glamorous industry with both cutthroat and healthy competitions. Till now it was 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 more so the travelling fraternity will have to face serious uphill challenges in the coming months. It will be very interesting to see how the travel agencies can handle such a situation in these trying times and rise to the occasion once again.