Abra Dunsby, Acting Features Editor for TTG caught up with James Beagrie, Managing Director for Meon Valley Travel, Kiri Dulay, Marketing Manager for Midcounties Co-op Personal Travel Agents and Kate Holroyd, Director for Strawberries Holidays. Together they talked about how they had to adapt their marketing strategy to the pandemic and here is what we have taken away with us, in the latest edition of Agent Matters,
The last few weeks have been emotional with motivation hard to find at times but some light can finally be seen at the end of the tunnel with most high street travel agencies re-opening and enjoying a reasonable footfall. Whilst a few months ago, direct bookings seemed to become the way forward, COVID-19 has helped to rehabilitate travel agents as the public can see their value once again.
Newsletters, blogs, videos and social media channels have been key to keep engaging with customers over the past few weeks.
Newsletters have been doing extremely well with well above average open and click-through rates and a significant reach increase since a lot more people subscribed during lockdown.
Customers have shown an appetite for connecting with people rather than brands, therefore marketing briefs had to be adjusted and delivered with a much more personal tone.
As a result, the industry has seen the emergence of a more innovative type of marketing, sometimes borrowed from other industries that successfully communicated with their audience. To communicate effectively, marketers had to take a step back and identify their customers' needs and aspirations.
Until very recently, the narrative was purely inspirational but with the reopening of non-essential businesses, price-led offers are coming back in an effort to stimulate sales for 2021.
A survey conducted by Midcounties revealed that most of the people interrogated want to go on a beach holiday but it has also established a growing demand for experiences and bucket list holidays with Singapore and Bali leading the way.
Midcounties is also reporting that 71% of their recent bookings were driven by social media.
Travel agencies are seeing an increase in enquiries as the lockdown is easing off and whilst very few customers are booking 2020, forward sales for next year are up compared to the same time last year.
May 2021 is proving to be the most popular departure month so far.
To see a recording of the session click here
Next week we will be listening in to events from other industry partners but in the meantime, please leave your comments below.