I’ve got bad news for you.
If you call yourself a Travel Advisor, Travel Consultant, Travel Designer, etc….
Your ideal prospective clients aren’t looking for you.
They ARE looking for what you can do for them, but they aren’t looking for you.
They likely don’t even know you exist.
And you can’t just build a website and make clients magically appear. It doesn’t work that way. A website is only ONE layer of the 7-Layer foundation in your Marketing Blueprint. Without the other 6 layers your website is useless.
Don’t worry though – I’ve also got GOOD news for you! With the right marketing, with all 7 layers in place, your clients will find you because you are going to get their attention!
The key word is the RIGHT marketing. Smart marketing. Informed marketing.
I’ve got an example to share with you…
ASTA recently changed it name from American Society of Travel Agents to American Society of Travel Advisors.
I fully support this change. I agree with the ASTA when they wrote:
“Today’s travel agents are no longer mere booking intermediaries. They have become trusted advisors — akin to financial planners and CPAs — who make the overall travel experience better and provide both leisure and business travelers maximum value for their travel dollar. The term “advisor” not only more accurately describes the value our members provide to consumers but also serves as a distinct declaration of who we work for: the traveling public.”
I think this is a great move that will continue to elevate and grow the profession.
In the same press release, ASTA also went on to say that…
“In order to fully realize the benefits of this change, however, it is critical that all industry stakeholders speak with one voice when it comes to describing our business. To that end, we are encouraging our member companies, supplier partners and anyone doing meaningful business through the travel advisor channel to add their name to the growing list of organizations… that have made or are in the process of making the switch from “travel agent” to “travel advisor” in their consumer and trade communications.”
ASTA acknowledges that it will take some time and effort for the public to embrace the name Travel Advisor for the work that you do.
It’s going to take some time for your clients to understand that when you call yourself a Travel Advisor you are a professional who can help them plan their amazing travels. That you are what they currently call a Travel Agent, using a new name that much better describes the services that you offer.
Let me show you something…
This is a screenshot of a quick Google keyword comparison I did for the past 12 months comparing “Travel Agent” vs. “Travel Advisor” vs. “Travel Consultant”.
The term “Travel Agent” is being searched 15x more often than “Travel Advisor”.
So what’s my point?
My point is that when it comes to your online marketing, you need to call yourself what YOUR ideal clients call you, and right now, they are calling you a Travel Agent.
Clarity beats Creativity every time.
As clearly demonstrated in the image above, the traveling public knows the term “Travel Agent” and when they want someone to help them plan their travel, they are going to do a Google search for a travel agent. They are going to ask their friends “Do you know any good travel agents?”
As the industry changes, as ASTA and other organizations use the term Travel Advisor, and educate the public about the new term, the public will catch on and more people will start searching for it.
It will take time to reeducate the pubic as to what a Travel Advisor is.
It will take using the term Travel Advisor, alongside the term Travel Agent so the public understands and embraces the new term.
In the meantime, you still need to be using the term Travel Agent in your marketing. I encourage you to use it alongside Travel Advisor (if you agree with ASTA’s stance), but please don’t drop travel agent altogether just yet, your ideal clients will have a much harder time finding you if you do.
Don’t let your ego get in your way here. It’s business, there is no room for ego. If you have a client in front of you ready to book a $30,000 trip and they insist on calling you a travel agent rather than a travel advisor, are you really going to turn them down?
That is essentially what you are doing when you completely refuse to use the term travel agent in your marketing.
Let me tell you another quick story….
Nearly 4 years ago when we launched our Marketing Academy for Travel Agents, we were part of this conversation about re-naming Travel Agents.
We knew back then that Travel Agents wanted to be called something different, something that better defined what they do.
We conducted market research, we took polls, we talked to our clients, and we realized that OUR ideal clients wouldn’t find US if we used anything other Marketing for Travel Agents as our company name.
Clarity beats Creativity every time.
We did, however, still want to honor our clients and their professional standards, so we named our core offering the Travel EXPERT Marketing Academy.
You might be wondering why we didn’t choose Travel Advisor Marketing Academy. Like i said, it was several years ago, before ASTA made their name change, and after our polling and research we concluded Travel Expert would be the best term to represent our clients. You ARE experts after all, and that’s the level of competence we want to encourage in the Academy – expert and excellence in everything.
Will we change our name to Marketing for Travel Advisors?
Maybe some day, but not right now. For the exact reasons I advise you not to.
But guess who owns MarketingForTravelAdvisors.com and TravelAdvisorMarketingAcademy.com? ….. We do! 😎
Because it’s a smart business and SEO move for us right now.
Because now if/when our clients Google “marketing for travel advisors” – the search engines will know that’s a service that we offer.
Because as our clients redefine themselves we want to continue to show them that we are for them. We want to make sure they can find us and our services.
Regardless of wether you call yourself Travel Agent or Travel Advisor we are here for you in the Travel Expert Marketing Academy.
To find out more about the 7-Layer marketing foundation you need in place in order to thrive in today’s market, I invite you to join us for our free online masterclass.
Love & Success
You’re so right on the money (literally) with this one! It’s only a TA’s’ ego that’s concerned about their job title, not their clients. They don’t care about us, they only care about whether we can “make their pain go away” or not, plain and simple. Call yourself whatever you want (your ego likes CEO, CFO, President, Founder, etc. even better) but if you want clients to actually call you, you’d better communicate someplace & somehow to them that you are an actual travel agent.
I agree also. It will take time to make the transition from Agent to Advisor.
On all of my web pages, whether it’s my website, Facebook Page, or Instagram account, I use the term “Travel Agent”. Those are the key words that people look for. However, about a year or so ago, I changed my business cards to use the terminology “Your Travel Concierge”. I did this, because what I do now, is much more than what I ever did as an “agent”, especially if I’m building, promoting and selling my own small group tours. This has been the subject of questions and clarifications as in “What do you mean you’re a travel concerge?”, with my response being, “Well, this is what I will do for you……”.My good clients understand this and they also promote me as “more than a travel agent”. Also, my signature line on my e-mail now says “Your Travel Concierge”. I’ve thought about enhancing the to “Your PERSONAL Travel Concierge”, but I’m still thinking about it.
I think we have to distinguish ourselves from the airline agent or tour company agent that just fills in the blanks. I spend much more time working with clients in order to make sure that their needs and desires are met, especially if they’re traveling with me, in one of my groups, or traveling on their own to some place that they’ve never been before.
First secretary, then administrative assistant… name changing has gone on forever trying to make us sound more intelligent! If a name tells our intelligence, then we are in trouble! . I look up travel agent, travel agents know most anything. Why mess with a name that already addresses our intelligence? I agree with you… use the word that we all know, and use the other in a sentence or sub-title. But it will take years for it to catch on! We have enough to remember… without changing our name!! Lol.
It’s a good look at the difference between calling yourself something you like or understanding your audience will understand and seek. Like Stef said, look at the numbers and get your ego out of the way. That said… Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 20% adoption rate to make something trend, and it’s not just any 20%. The plethora of titles out there – Travel Advisor, Travel Expert, Travel Counsellor, Travel Consultant – only compounds and slows the change process. What do you think of the idea of being a Travel Agent and Advisor?
Such great points, Lynn! As ASTA has officially adopted Travel Advisor, I would recommend that others adopt that. Again, using Travel Agent along with it until we reach the tipping point.
Travel advisors are still very popular. People want to use these useful comprehensive services.