What Travel Agents Need to Know About Working Trade Shows
Written by: Amanda Bailey on August 24, 2015
Trade shows and bridal shows are an effective way to get your travel agency’s brand known to the world — or at least to your community. In addition to engaging with leads, you’ll also be able to network with other vendors who are at the show. You never know who is going to need the services of a travel agent!
Keep these five things in mind when planning, working and following up from a trade show, and you’ll ensure you get the most for your time and money.
1. Set a Goal.
Each trade show is different. Some draw large crowds, and some are more intimate, community-centered events. Some are focused on luxury, while some will attract the more budget-oriented crowd. Based on your travel niche, determine which show has the most potential in terms of your target client. Then, set a goal for yourself — whether that be getting a certain number of phone numbers or spending quality time talking with a certain number of leads. That will give you direction when planning and when speaking to prospects at the show.
2. Stick to Your Budget.
With exhibit fees, advertising costs, marketing materials, booth giveaways, and decor, the costs of working trade shows can easily get out of hand. Figure out what is reasonable for your agency to spend, and keep in mind the goals you’ve set beforehand. Before signing an exhibit contract, thoroughly read the exhibit contract so you know what is included and what extras you’ll have to pay for.
3. Prepare Yourself.
Promote the show to your clients and on social media. If the show has a website or has sponsors advertising on behalf of the show, see if your agency can be included. Make a checklist and gather everything you need for the show ahead of of time. Give yourself plenty of time to set up. You don’t want to still be setting out displays and looking for brochures when attendees start to walk by your table — it’s unprofessional, and will cost you leads!
4. Don’t Be Shy.
It can feel awkward at first to approach people, but remember: you are a travel professional! You have something to offer show attendees, they just might not know it yet. It’s your job to introduce your business, and engage them in conversation. What brings them to the show? Where is their favorite place to travel? Do they have special occasions or milestones coming up? These questions are icebreakers that can help you figure out how you can be of service to them.
5. Follow Up.
Your post-show efforts are almost as important as the show itself! Put the leads you’ve gathered in a spreadsheet to stay organized. Follow-up with a phone call or a personalized email to each lead (depending on the number you have) and make sure you record the information you gather. This means where they’ve traveled before, what their travel style is, any special occasions that are coming up, etc.
KHM Travel Group’s home-based travel agents work for themselves, but not by themselves! Our experienced staff knows what it takes to be successful when starting a travel agency, and we look forward to sharing our expertise with you!
If you’d like to know more about getting started, fill out the form on the right side of the screen or give us a call at 1-888-611-1220 to request our free information packet.