Global Travel Group Sian Webster

Global Travel Group shows how to stand out in the market

Sian Webster, marketing manager, Global Travel Group, talks about how your agency can stand out and succeed in a crowded market − without spending a fortune.

I don't think many of my friends or colleagues would describe me as a shrinking violet. After all, working in marketing is all about making yourself heard. But standing out from the crowd isn’t as easy as it might seem.

The difficulty of raising your profile struck me recently. Meeting pals in a busy riverside pub, I was there early and had to find a suitable spot for the group.

Every nook and cranny was filled with people, there wasn’t a spare table to be found, and all the best locations overlooking the water were gone. And forget about being somewhere that made me easily spottable by the others when they arrived. Not being able to sit and have a gin and tonic is a bit of a first world problem – I get that. But in this case, it’s a pretty decent allegory for the trials and tribulations that plenty of small business owners experience.

In travel, agencies certainly face this struggle. You’re working in an industry that is dominated by giants with huge marketing budgets. Venture online, and the choice offered to consumers is mind-blowing (in its scale and complexity) virtually to the point of being unfathomable.

And there you are – little old you – standing in the corner of the packed bar meekly waving a tenner in the hope you can get a drink. Of course, you don’t need to be told that the secret for independents is service quality – you wouldn’t still be in business if you didn’t know this. The resurgence of great travel agents, in high streets and online, is down to this one overriding fact - those not offering top quality service are being replaced by guys and girls who can offer fantastic service and product knowledge.

Groups such as Global are a vital part of the story too, which is why it is imperative that we keep moving forward and updating our offering for members.

One example is our customer-facing travel magazine, Beyond, which is packed with inspiring content. Members can whitelabel it, so it looks as if they are producing something special for customers, in turn, highlighting their credentials as the go-to travel shop in the area.

Our latest edition focuses on sustainability – a pressing issue for modern consumers. As well as tapping into the zeitgeist, the mag is packed with brilliant holiday ideas to inspire your customers, such as the best destinations to explore on foot, which provide great earning potential for agents.

Elsewhere we’re working on a marketing portal that allows our members to design, order and print promotional material to help them shout about their businesses. We’re currently testing it with selected members before it is rolled out to the rest of the group. This collaborative approach is a vital part of the Global story, with members seeing themselves as part of a bigger ‘family’ of agents across the UK.

Like getting a seat in a pub, getting your message out isn’t just about being there. You’ve got to have sharp elbows, spot the openings and go for it when the sun shines. Cheers!

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