The (Virtual) Travel Trade Show season is upon us again and whilst we cannot yet all meet in person, as we surely wish we could, we are thankful for the online technology that allows travel show organisers to offer us a way to hold meetings with people all around the world.
Travel Trade Shows, whether online or in person, are always a significant investment for suppliers and we always want to make sure we extract the maximum positive impact from every encounter. We all want maximum ROI “Return on Investment”.
One issue I see time and time again in the industry however is that suppliers often expect too much “Magic!” and want to see sales flood in as soon as possible after their meetings at a Travel Trade Show. Sometimes is the case but often having the meeting is just the start of your marketing and sales development journey.
Your meetings are a way to extract as much useful information as possible to be able to then know exactly how to build a strategic marketing, business development and sales support plan with that person and company. If you want to. If they are the right kind of buyer for you to be working with.
I have written a few blogs about different areas of this journey. Today’s post comes out of a conversation I had with a client who was about to take part in the PURE Life Experiences, Remote and Emotions Travel Trade Shows and had a lot of meetings with Travel Agents. As we know, marketing and business development with Travel Agencies is often very different to working with Tour Operators. In the main, they are structured differently, operate differently, have different requirements and problems that they need their suppliers to solve for them.
To give some initial help and stimulate discussion I came up with the following 5 questions that you should always ask in a meeting with a Travel Agent at a Travel Trade Show.
Don’t forget that the first part of any meeting at a Travel Trade Show is to have buyers talk about themselves, their agency, what’s going on with them, issues and opportunities, trends they are seeing, where they need help and so forth. Then you can move forward with your other questions and talking about your company inline with what you have just learned about the buyer’s needs.
Do they tend to all be similar or do you have a big variety?
What kind of countries and destinations do they typically like to travel to? Why?
Can you paint me a picture of a perfect trip for them? Experiences they love? Properties they love?
What is it about the destination/services that I offer that you think would be a great fit?
How many agents are there roughly?
Where is the main office or is everyone working virtually?
If we ever did in-person sales calls what is the best way to capture agents that would be interested in what we offer?
What kind of information is most helpful for you to start promoting and selling us?
Is there a central person in charge of disseminating information on suppliers and products?
Do you have regular training and webinar sessions from suppliers? Who would we contact to set something up?
Do you have a central knowledge database where you can hold our example itineraries and other useful information?
What marketing work does your agency do to attract clients?
Who is in charge of that?
How can I help support them with ideas, copy, images, videos etc of what we offer?
The idea behind these questions is to (1) make sure that the agent definitely has the right kind of clientele for your product and service and (2) also to learn about how they and their agency works so that you can continue to follow up with them in the weeks, months and years to follow to ensure you make the most of this opportunity.
What do you think? Do these seem useful and a way of checking that this person is the right kind of client for you and also to uncover ideas on how to develop a business development strategy with this particular person and agency?
Often of course you may not have time or opportunity to ask all these questions – or they may not seem correct to ask given the way the meeting has gone. They are meant as guidance and ideas on how to dig a bit deeper during a meeting and to realise that, for maxium ROI, not all the meeting should be you talking about your company and product and the meeting is just the start of the marketing journey.
Best wishes for all your Travel Trade show meetings and if I can be of any further assistance do not hesitate to contact me and my team on firstname.lastname@example.org