News, guidance, and resources for group travel planners

The Holbrook Insider

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Tips & Resources: Seven marketing essentials to fill your travel program

As a group leader, the next step after booking your program is to start recruiting participants. By taking a multi-prong approach to getting the word out, you increase the likelihood of your trip being a success.

1. Get the positioning clear

Before you start getting the word out, be sure you know why this trip is important or special. What are the take-aways, the key reasons this will be memorable? Take these from your trip highlights and tailor them to your audience.

2. Start as soon as you can

You may not have all the components together, but get an initial announcement out as soon as you can. The sooner you start promoting your program, the more likely your trip will fill.

3. Go postal

This is marketing lingo, not crazy talk. There is much less competition for our attention in the mailbox these days, so a direct mail piece stands out. But don’t just blanket your members “shotgun” style, target the segments that have the most interest. You’ll save on postage, and with digital printing, smaller circulations of under 1,000 are now economical. .

4. Connect your social channels

Share the event on your Facebook page, Tweet about it, add it to a blog or other social channel. Link, link, link. Be sure to link all forms of social media together and link back to the trip’s website page for more. Social is great for short bits of info! Keep adding something every few weeks, such as recent news about the destination or trip theme.

5. Find an audience to “go live”

Hosting an event can be the most effective way to create excitement. A talk and slideshow will inspire and get people talking. Even if they do not sign up then, the attendees are likely your best prospects to follow up with. Note: You can go live digitally with a webinar - it's not ideal, but it is very effective when your audience is dispersed.

6. Create urgency!

Set an early sign-up deadline to spur enrollments, perhaps with a little incentive. Then, as your trip fills, note “ONLY __ spots left.” This is a sneaky tactic at hotel booking sites but it works if done with sincerity.

7. Keep an “interested” list

In email, it’s easy to have a link or button that says “Maybe” interested or another message for those who need time. Plus, any clicks to emails, any event attendees, and any past travelers form a great “short list” for more frequent emails about the trip, so as not to fatigue your larger file.

Photo by Arian Zwegers