The travel industry is huge. Every year, millions of people take advantage of cheap getaways to travel to foreign shores and enjoy a break from everyday life. It’s a chance to unwind and have fun. Business travel is also becoming increasingly common as companies expand into the global marketplace. Considering how popular travel is, you might expect the travel industry to be enjoying a boom time. Well, it is, but how we book travel has changed immeasurably in recent years, which has a huge bearing on the way travel consultants operate.
Twenty years ago, travel agents were a regular feature on the high street and in malls. Customers visited in person or called to make travel bookings. The internet was there, but e-commerce had not yet taken off in a huge way. Today, the situation is very different. Anyone can book flights, hotels and rental cars via an online web page. We can check prices on comparison websites and use price aggregator sites to find cheap flights. The role of the travel agent has been taken out of the equation in the retail market, and to a certain extent in the business travel sector, too. To make it as a travel consultant, you need to think outside the box.
Opportunities for Travel Consultants
There are still opportunities for experienced travel consultants. You can work for an online travel booking website and deal with customer enquiries via email, live chat, and over the telephone. You could also work in the corporate travel sector, organizing business travel for large organizations. However, if you would rather set up your own travel consultancy business, there are still plenty of opportunities out there for the right people.
Setting up a business is relatively straightforward as you will be mainly operating online. You will need a website and marketing materials, however, so consider hiring a web designer to create a bespoke website. Online travel consultancy businesses are a low-cost startup, but if you need money to build a website, search for a business loan provider that works with startups. Use an APR calculator to compare the cost of business loans.
Marketing Your Business
Once you have a website up and running, it is time to begin promoting your services to potential clients. Think about your target customer and create a marketing campaign to suit. If you have a background in business travel and you would like to help small businesses, use your previous experience and contacts to reach out to potential clients. Cold calling is never much fun, but for every 100 phone calls you make, you might secure a couple of leads. If cold calling is not your thing, have a go at email marketing instead.
Social media is a valuable tool for any business, but it will pay dividends if you are trying to grow a travel consultancy business. Create a Facebook page and start posting images of great travel destinations. Throw in a few deals for cheap flights and vacations to attract attention. Try to tempt people rather than giving them the hard sell. Great deals are often enough, but these need to be interspersed with gorgeous photos, links to interesting content, and engaging posts.
Establish yourself as an industry expert by blogging about your own travel experiences. Reach out to people on social media when they ask for advice about which airline to choose or the merits of a particular destination. You are the expert, so show off your skills. Once people trust your judgement, they will turn to you when they want to book travel.