Travel insights from The Travel Institute

Targeting Your Audience

Who are your customers, and where can you find them?

You have knowledge, enthusiasm, a love for travel, and a sincere drive to match the perfect trips to the best people. But how do you identify prospective customers?

It’s all about specialization

Industry experts agree that travel with a focus on a particular activity, hobby, or interest is on the upswing. In a time when the travel industry and consumers are changing radically, focusing on a special interest will help you create your brand in the marketplace. For example, you can promote your agency as THE Tuscany food and wine expert in your area. Your unique features or service give you a competitive edge because you will offer customers a value-added product they will not find elsewhere.

Who needs my help?

Before you can target your audience, you have to know who your audience is. First, you should consider your market’s demographics: classifying people based on age, sex, income, and other measurable factors. For example, you could focus on millennials who have expertise in accessing information but may be too busy with their careers to plan their own travel. Or you may wish to work with families, tailoring trips to people with a wide variety of budgets and interests. Then, consider your market’s psychographics: classifying people according to values, beliefs, and lifestyles. Concentrate on special interest groups, using your own hobbies as a guide. Your knowledge, enthusiasm, and passion will pay off because you will attract and cater to like-minded clients.

Where are these people?

Once you have done all you can to understand your clients’ and prospective clients’ needs, you can focus on fewer people, but those people will be the ones most interested in your services.

There is an endless variety of marketing activities you could use to find your customers. Here are some communication channels you may use already and some you may not have considered before:

  • Use direct mail. In the world of email, a note or a package in the mail is always great.
  • Advertise in local associations and social clubs related to your niche.
  • Clearly state your niche and your value on your website. Explain who you are, and how and why you can help customers.
  • Make sure your social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) sites carry a consistent message of your value and expertise in your niche. Follow your audience in their social media sites as well.
  • Market to your database. Start blogging: become the expert of your travel niche and blog for your social clubs’ travel needs.
  • Send e-newsletters and e-postcards. Write a monthly newsletter to your database, become a regular guest column on your community and organizations newsletters. Promote yourself as the expert.
  • Attend trade shows.
  • Participate in community social clubs or service organizations events.
  • Collaborate with special interest retail stores, such as setting up travel nights.

Remember that marketing to the most receptive audience historically reaps the greatest reward.

To learn more about specialization and targeting your audience, we recommend that you explore The Travel Institute’s Certified Travel Associate (CTA) program.

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