Grow your Brand

Written By Vishal Mehra

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Very often I see Businesses complaining that Economy is slow, there is less footfall in the Markets, yet Consumers are shopping. Travel Agencies are complaining that there is not enough Business, yet Tourism numbers are growing. The people who are complaining have not upgraded themselves, they are still following the old ways of Trade. As a consumer today, not only am I spoiled for choice but also have the luxury of buying whatever I want at my convenience. I have multiple research options where I can find whatever I am looking for and then compare it with various options. I choose to spend my money where I get the best bang for my buck.

The Businesses suffering have not even upgraded themselves to understand what the customer is looking for. Everyone is selling the same me-too product. If you are the Innovator bringing a new product you would have the early movers advantage before the copy cats arrive and dilute the product/offering.

When OTA’s came people including me (I was very old school in my thought process) gave them a few years before they went under. How wrong we were in this. A lot of OTA’s may still not be making money, but the consumer doesn’t care as long as they get value for their money. Today its all about Content and experiences. The younger generation of traveler has different needs than the older one. The Business model needs to change.

With DATA being so affordable people are consuming content like never before, hence the Content based Travel Companies are seeing a huge traction. If one has ever travelled across India, real India which exists in the smaller towns (Now called tier 3 and tier 4 cities) and villages one would have noticed how people would gather every morning to discuss politics, life etc.

Having spent close to 15 years travelling across India, it was amazing to see people gathered around a tea stall in the morning where one person who could read, would be reading out the newspaper and others would be sitting there, absorbing this information.

Nothing has changed since then in terms of consumption of content, only today with affordable data and a plethora of apps/websites and an increasing number of people who can read / write the way we consume content has changed.

Having recently moved back to India only after a GAP of 3 years, I was surprised to see how majority now have a smartphone and how we are constantly online consuming media/content. When talking to a few Travel Agent colleagues on this they felt threatened that now customers know a lot more about what they wish to do and where they wish to go and hence their roles as Travel Advisors were not so important. To me this is a great opportunity as the playing field is levelled. A Small Travel agent sitting in a Remote Part of India can now using the same connectivity create content and since content ranks faster on Search Engines you can reach a wider audience across geographies. Back in the day when we Launched Nepal as a Destination (1992/1993) the only way to reach a wide audience was using Newspaper Ad’s which meant you needed a dedicated agency for creatives and then a huge budget for promotions. Today at a fraction of this cost you can reach a much wider audience using Facebook and Google Ad’s and since the performance can be tracked in real time you can fine tune your offerings on a regular basis.

Having the right tools tied to your Marketing ensures that there is no delay in connecting with your Potential customers. Today customers expect everything to happen in an instant. The faster you respond the faster you can either convert or move to the next customer.

Putting this all together can be done very easily and in a very cost effective manner.

As a Travel Consultant who helps Tourism Companies 10X their brand here is what I would recommend.

  • Choose your Niche.
  • Generate Content based on this Niche and stay loyal to it. (don’t copy other people’s content)
  • Write excellent copies. (If you are not good at it, outsource this to someone at a Website like fiverr)
  • Distribute this content using Social Media and let Search Engines rank you. (It would happen on it’s own if content is good and not plagiarized)
  • Set up your effective Auto-responder Email Marketing for product you are promoting
  • Run Facebook Ad’s
  • Connect your Facebook Ad’s via. Bridge to your Autoresponder (if your Autoresponder does not support it and you are running a Lead Generation campaign) else run a Messenger Campaign and using Online tools create an Auto-responder for your messenger. (Messenger has much higher open rates than email Marketing, but also needs a very fast response time) There are many tools like manychat, Mobile moneky etc.
  • Have a Robust Follow up sequence. It takes between 5-12 touch points for a lead to become customer. Most people give up after 4-5 tries. Potential customer seeing your AD copy, is 1st Touch point, then he comes to your website or lead Gen reaches you, how you respond is the 2nd touch point, if you call the customer after that it’s a 3rd touch point and so on. It takes at least 5 and can take up to 12 before the lead converts.
  • All this would only work for you if the team who is managing the communication is destination savvy (hence choosing your Niche) and educated on the destination.

I was taught by a Master “Go an Inch Wide but a Mile Deep” and you would succeed. This has helped me very well and I can only say that if you were to follow this it would help you as well.

If you are a Travel Company who wishes to 10X their Brand but don’t know how, connect with me. I consult and help Travel companies grow.

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