What's Missing From Your Marketing
By: Sandy Saburn

Over the course of a month, you probably visit dozens of websites looking at restaurant menus, shopping for gifts, clothes, shoes, or a plethora of other items. Over the past year, you have probably shopped online far more than in years past!

I shop online a lot and visit websites, but unlike the average person, I also visit lots of websites for travel advisors. And there are some amazing websites out there – then there are some not-so-amazing websites.

For those in the last category, I can tell you there are two big reasons travel agent websites are less than amazing.

First, they don’t tell me anything about YOU. Unless you are going to compete on price, YOU are the most important asset you have in your business. Why should someone work with you? What are you passionate about? Where have you traveled? What can you do for a traveler?

You might be surprised at how many travel agent websites never even mention the name of the agent behind the site. No name! (And some don’t have a phone number or even an email address!) I’m not talking about big agencies here – but websites for agents who feel like the way to succeed is to model themselves after a big corporate entity like Expedia or Travelocity and be everything to everyone. At the same time, they keep everything highly impersonal and very “corporate” because somewhere along the line they heard that was how to be professional. (That’s not what you should do, by the way.)

Then there are my least-favorite types of websites: cookie-cutter or template websites. If your website is exactly like the one used by every other agent in your agency, it is a cookie-cutter website. And it isn’t doing you any favors.

Instead, your website should be clear about who you are, what you do, and how you benefit clients.

Here are two great examples:

Olive & Atlas Travel

Indulgent Voyages

If you visit these websites, you will see they do a great job of telling the story of who they are, what they do, and how they assist their clients. These websites paint a clear picture of who the travel advisor behind them is, and after you spent some time exploring the websites you feel as if you know them.

The second problem isn’t what the websites have, but what they are missing: personality.

Because so much content is provided by vendors, some agents look like an extension of a vendor’s marketing department (and they thank you for that). Another contributing factor is generic stock photos and content provided by a third party that has none of your personality in it.

This is the big problem with outsourcing your marketing – they can’t infuse your personality because they don’t know you. It is fine to supplement your marketing with some of these amazing articles and content. The problem is when it becomes the entirety of your marketing.

Look, there are lots of paths to success in any industry. There are always going to be businesses going the high volume-low profit route (think Dollar Tree and Walmart). And there is the opposite end of that spectrum with high service-high profit. And there are lots of models in between.

I see so many agents who say they are all about service and customization for their clients and then they have a cookie-cutter website and generic marketing. That confuses your client. And a confused client doesn’t connect with you. And they certainly don’t become a raving fan.

If you truly want to focus on service and selling your expertise – and command healthy professional fees for that expertise – your marketing – from your website to your social media accounts and everything else you put out in the marketplace – needs to have your personality. It needs to feel authentic and tell a story. That’s when you have real success.

I encourage you to take a good look at your website and marketing pieces and see if they are telling the real story of you, or is it a story someone else wrote?