6 Ways to Celebrate and Connect With Travel AdvisorsDecember 21, 2022 | By: Amalia Meliti
Destinations must think critically about how they connect with travel advisors, especially with the prevalence of OTAs who compete for attention. It’s the human touch, however, that distinguishes how destinations can create successful relationships with individual travel advisors.
While OTAs have their place, it’s important to remember that travelers are seeking increasingly personalized experiences that automated algorithms can’t always provide. A trusted travel advisor, however, is the perfect mediator between a demanding traveler and a destination that wants to welcome them. It’s essential to remember to celebrate these individuals, and to connect with them to reinforce your destination as a continued ally in their work.
A few small gestures can go a long way in ensuring a mutually beneficial relationship between destinations and the travel advisors who keep visitors – especially luxury travelers – coming their way.
1. Reach Out
It’s almost so obvious that it seems trite, but an unsolicited end of year or holiday greeting in December can make a big difference. It’s not just during the holidays. Maybe it’s a birthday message or a note to welcome the summer high season – you can get creative! The point is to touch base with your list of travel advisors so that they know you’re thinking of them, and not just when you want something from them.
Connect with travel advisors when they least expect it and they’ll remember it.
2. Keep it Personal
Whether it’s a note about business or just to reconnect, always send personalized content to your travel advisors. The biggest mistake a destination can make is sending a form email, especially if you risk including the wrong name.
Nothing makes a travel advisor feel more appreciated than calling them by the wrong name – said no one ever.
Take the extra moment to personalize each message when possible, so even if it’s a formulaic pitch, your list of travel advisors will feel a human connection with you. It’s all about standing out so they’ll be that much more inclined to sell experiences in your destination.
3. Be a Listener
So often we want to connect with travel advisors to tell them what’s new. Change things up a bit and propose a phone call or a 15-minute Zoom to listen to them and their needs instead of pitching something. It may eat up a bit of time in your day, but the investment is worth it if it means hearing from travel advisors directly about how you can better work with them.
On top of that, they’ll feel special knowing you reached out to them to ask for their advice. Sometimes it’s nice to have a listening ear!
4. Practice Generosity
It’s easy to suggest giving travel advisors familiarization trips left and right, but of course that’s not always feasible. Still, giving a small gift to celebrate the end of the year or to a work anniversary that you spotted on LinkedIn is a surprisingly personal touch that travel advisors won’t soon forget.
A small box of chocolates from your destination, a frameable print of some landmark by a local artist, or even a holiday ornament are all steadfast ideas for giving something that’s not just destination swag leftover from a conference.
5. Celebrate Their Expertise
An engaging way to connect with travel advisors is to invite them to share their expertise with others or with your team. It doesn’t have to be a formal presentation or webinar, but a small 20-minute presentation of what the travel advisors are noticing among travelers and their perceptions is a chance for you to learn more about your destination’s reputation while further cementing bonds with travel advisors.
They’ll feel honored that you respect them enough to give them a platform for a small audience. Just keep it informal so they don’t feel like you’re giving them extra work to do!
6. Connect Digitally
A shoutout on social media can go a long way. Connect with travel advisors and celebrate them on social media by mentioning them on a relevant LinkedIn post or Facebook post. It generates welcomed visibility for them and is a tiny investment for you. It reinforces your relationship as well and reminds travel advisors that there are indeed people behind your destination’s efforts who are thinking about them.
No matter how you do it, engage in fostering that human connection that Experdia or Kayak will never have with their users. Travelers are looking to people to curate unique experiences, so make sure you have those very people working for your destination.
Hoping to strengthen your ties with the travel trade? DCI has more than 60 years of marketing experience and knows how to connect with travel advisors and destinations alike. Get in touch with Amalia Meliti at [email protected] to learn about what DCI can do for your reputation among travel advisors.