Dear Travel Agents,

I have many travel agents who consult with me about advertising for their business. They ask, how often, how much, where, and if they should spend money on advertising.

My answer is always to compare these thoughts to something else. This helps to make it clearer, so the travel agent understands my reasoning a little better. Think of baking a delicious cake and keeping it in the refrigerator. No one will know what a great baker you are. No one will taste a sample of your delicious cake. How can you expect people to buy your cake without any exposure?

Now that we agree on the need for advertising, let’s discuss where to do it. My first question is if the travel agent specializes in any area of travel, for example: wedding destinations or adventures. In this case I would recommend the agent look for specialized media. If the travel agent doesn’t specialize, I ask what area they live or work in, and find outlets there.

Once it is clear where we are going to advertise, I recommend that they get the pricing for ads in all media that sounds suitable for their business. Then, place this information on a spreadsheet. We can then analyze which outlets will bring in more prospective clients, based on the reality of business at that time, one year from now, and five years from now. Once we have a plan for growing the business, we can determine what the budget should be now, in one year, and in five years.

We can negotiate with the different media outlets we have chosen, and voila, we have an advertising plan for the business!

I can guarantee the results will taste even sweeter than that delicious cake in the refrigerator!

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