Updated January 11, 2024
Ever wonder what the difference is between your travel agency marketing and your travel agency branding?
While they may seem similar, they're two distinct elements that work together to help a potential customer find your travel agency and understand why you're the perfect travel agent for them.
In order for your marketing strategy to work well, you need to be completely clear on your branding.
But that leads us to a very important question. What exactly is branding?
It's easy to assume it's just your logo and the colors and fonts on your website. While those are all part of branding, there's so much more to it than that.
Let's dive in and explore the 7 essential elements of your branding and how they can help you develop your travel industry marketing strategy.
First off is your brand identity. Before you can choose fonts, colors, or design a logo, you need to know who exactly your travel agency wants to serve.
Are you high-end luxury, or budget friendly? Do you focus on Disney, cruises, or African safaris?
While you may not know when you first start out exactly what you want your niche or specialty to be, you should have a general idea of the type of customer you want to work with.
If you want to attract luxury clients, your brand should look and feel very different than it would if you want to sell lots of budget vacations. A luxury client will be turned off by a budget brand, and a budget shopper will know that a luxury brand isn't what they're looking for.
You'll save yourself a lot of time and stress if you at least have an idea of the potential clients you'd like to serve from the beginning and design your branding and digital marketing strategy with them in mind.
Brand identity is about how your brand makes a potential client feel through a combination of logo, colors, fonts, and imagery.
Your brand positioning is very similar to your unique value proposition. It's what sets your travel agency and marketing strategies apart from every other travel industry pro.
In order to position your brand, you need to understand your target market or your ideal client. Once you understand what they value in a travel experience, you can position your brand effectively so you're speaking directly to the right people with the right message.
Once you understand who your ideal client is, it’s time to figure out what makes your travel brand unique in the market.
No one else has your combination of skills, experience, and personality. Use those to determine your unique value proposition, and let people know how you stand apart from every other travel advisor out there.
Your messaging is both what you say and how you say it. It runs through every bit of travel marketing you do, from your social media marketing and content marketing to your email marketing.
Every social media post you publish should sound like it came from your travel company. Is your brand fun and a bit snarky? Does it fit with your brand to share that photo of you at a bachelorette party in Las Vegas?
Great, do it! Use that photo to create some engaging content.
But if your brand is refined and oozes luxury, that photo doesn't make sense to share. You can include it in a personal social media post, but not a post on your professional social media platform.
Your brand voice needs to be consistent, clear, and most importantly, authentic. Whether it's professional and polished or friendly and fun, your brand voice should reflect your travel agency's personality.
A great customer experience should be at the core of every part of your branding. Customer satisfaction begins the moment they land on your website.
Is it easy for them to work with you? Do you have a clear menu, with simple intuitive navigation so they can find what they're looking for on your website?
Once they decide to schedule a consultation, is the process simple? Do you send personalized follow-up emails when someone joins your email list?
Brand experience also extends to the travel experience itself. Make sure the tour operator or DMC you choose reflects the brand experience you want your client to have.
If your brand is luxury, make sure they accommodate a seamless, high-end experience. Your client shouldn't need to try and find their tour guide in a busy city, or present a voucher when they check into a hotel. With a true luxury brand, the guide comes to them. The hotel is not only expecting them, but already has a welcome amenity waiting for them in the room.
Every touchpoint is an opportunity to impress and build loyalty in a potential customer. And at the end of the day, a happy traveler is your best public relation and marketing tool.
Once you've determined your identity, position and messaging, make sure they permeate every part of your marketing efforts.
This is especially important if your travel brand is different from your personal brand. Maybe you're fun and snarky, but want your travel agency business brand to be refined luxury.
You need to make sure that every email, social media post, and comment matches that refined, luxury brand. That's part of the reason you should keep your business social media accounts separate from your personal accounts.
Your parents and friends want to see that video of your kid in the school play, but your luxury travel clients don't. It's not that you can't share some about your kids, but it needs to be in keeping with the identity and messaging of your brand.
While consistency is crucial, so is flexibility. The ability to adapt to market changes, trends in the travel industry, and customer feedback keeps your brand relevant and engaging.
Over time styles change. Colors, fonts, and even what attracts different types of clients changes. You need to understand these changes and adapt to them. Otherwise you'll realize one day that your branding hasn't changed in 10 years, and now looks old and tired.
That doesn't mean you need to rebrand every couple of years. That's a whole lot of work and expense!
But it does mean you can make small shifts over time, and if you find that your brand doesn't work for you anymore, then by all means it's time for a rebrand.
The travel world itself is also always changing, so you'll want to keep an eye on the latest trends.
Are eco-friendly travels the new rage? Is there a growing interest in staycations? Adapting your brand strategy to these changes doesn’t mean losing your identity. It means staying relevant and resonant in an ever-evolving market.
Building brand loyalty isn't just about brand awareness and repeat business. It's about creating brand advocates - customers who love your brand so much that they become its ambassadors.
Do you have a client who loves Celebrity Cruises and would never dream of sailing Royal Caribbean? The type of client who tells everyone who's interested in a cruise that Celebrity is the only cruise line they should consider?
That's a brand advocate, and you want them. They're those pied pipers that create a group of like-minded people and have you book 20 staterooms on their next cruise. They're the ones who tell a friend “you absolutely need to use my travel advisor, they're the best!”
By providing exceptional service, conveying a consistent and authentic message, and exceeding your client's expectations, you can foster this type of loyalty and create your own brand ambassadors.
The bottom line: Your travel agency marketing and branding
In the dynamic and ever-evolving world of travel agency marketing, branding is much more than logos and fonts.
It's about creating an experience that begins the moment a potential client encounters your brand and continues long after their journey ends.
When your branding is clear, coherent, and compelling, it not only attracts the right clients, but also cultivates a sense of loyalty and advocacy that is priceless in the travel industry.
The goal is not just to sell a service but to build a community around your brand – a community that values your expertise, trusts your guidance, and champions your agency to others.