Who Are Your Customers, and Where Can You Find Them?

The sales funnel in travel is crucial, and you constantly need to fill it. The CTA program offers many practical sales strategies that will help you identify your target audience.

The following tips are taken from a variety of modules in the Certified Travel Associate (CTA®) program, which is designed to help you target your prospective audience and fill your sales funnel.

UK mathematician Clive Humby once said, “Data is the new oil,” meaning data has replaced oil as a valuable resource. He went on to say that, like oil, data must be broken down, refined and analyzed to be valuable. Many companies now are taking a deep dive into their own data as well as their data collection practices (including buying targeted lists to supplement what they have). The idea is that money will be tight, so hitting the right audience with the right message is even more critical in a post-Covid world.

It’s true that you have the knowledge, enthusiasm, a love for travel, and a sincere drive to match the perfect trips to the best people. So how do you identify prospective customers?

It’s all about expertise

In a time when the travel industry and consumers are changing radically, focusing on a lifestyle niche, hobby, or demographic hot button will help you strengthen your brand in the marketplace. For example, to all the baby boomer clients in your area, you could promote your agency as THE Bucket List travel expert. Your own travel experiences, supplier relationships, and unique perks give you a competitive edge because you offer customers a value-added product they will not find elsewhere.

Who needs my help?

Before you can target your audience, you need to know who your audience is. First, consider your market’s demographics: classifying people based on age, sex, income, and other measurable factors. Then, analyze your own passions, interests, and hobbies. Use this as a guide because your enthusiasm, knowledge, and drive will come through in everything you do, and that will attract like-minded clients. For example, you might focus on baby boomers, as noted above, or consider millennials who have expertise in accessing information but may be too busy with their careers to plan their own travel. Or you may prefer to work with families, tailoring trips to people with a wide variety of budgets and interests. Once you determine your passion and your audience, consider your market’s psychographics: classifying people according to values, beliefs, and lifestyles.

Where are these people?

Once you have done all you can to understand your clients’ and prospective clients’ needs, you can focus on fewer people, but those people will be the ones most interested in your services.

There is an endless variety of marketing activities you could use to find your customers. Here are some communication channels you may use already and some you may not have considered before:

  • Use direct mail. In the world of email, a note or a package in the mail is always great.
  • Advertise in local associations and social clubs related to your niche.
  • Clearly state your niche and your value on your website. Explain who you are, and how and why you can help customers.
  • Make sure your social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) sites carry a consistent message of your value and expertise in your niche. Follow your audience in their social media sites as well.
  • Market to your database. Start blogging: become the expert of your travel niche and blog for your social clubs’ travel needs.
  • Send e-newsletters and e-postcards. Write a monthly newsletter to your database, become a regular guest column on your community and organizations newsletters. Promote yourself as the expert.
  • Attend virtual trade shows.
  • Participate in community social clubs or service organizations events wherever possible.
  • Collaborate with special interest retail stores, such as setting up travel nights.

Remember that marketing to the most receptive audience historically reaps the greatest reward.

To continue increasing your knowledge, we encourage you to learn more about The Travel Institute’s three certification programs. Register for TOMORROW’s Certification Open House at 2:00 pm (EDT). Attendees will receive a special tuition assistance opportunity.