Agents as Allies

At Adventure Engine the term “agents” actually means any third party that might sell your tours or programs. But let’s start at the beginning and talk a bit about what first comes to mind, travel agents. Upon the rise of the internet it was widely predicted that travel agents would become obsolete. With the rise of online agencies like Expedia and airline booking sites it seemed like this might be the case and there was a fairly large cut in the presence of brick and mortar agencies.  But since 2008, there has been a change and there are interesting facts being revealed. First, according to an article by Covington Travel on their website, “Travel Agent Use is On the Rise” “Reservations by travel agents actually account for one-third of the $284 billion U.S. travel market, according to a New York Times report. From Millennials to seniors, more travelers are giving up on DIY travel and seeking out the advice of expert travel advisors. In fact, according to ASTA, 41% of Millennials are making travel reservations through travel agents – more than any other age group. Online travel agencies are experiencing a year-over-year reduction in usage because travelers continue to find benefits in working with a live travel agent.” But here is another interesting fact from the blog.Virtuoso.com website, “Affluent travelers in particular use travel advisors.” “(Travel marketing company) MMGY has found that the percentage of affluent Americans who plan on booking trips through travel advisors is rising. It reported that 17% of Americans with incomes of $125,000 booked one or more trips with an advisor. And 24% of those making $250,000 or more used an advisor. By next year, MMGY predicts that 21% of well-off travelers with incomes of $125,000 or more plan to use an advisor. And 29% of those with incomes of $250,000 or more plan to do so.” Agent, advisor, consultant, counsellor, what ever you want to term them, they are potentially valuable team members in the sales channel. Retail agents don’t often book individual suppliers like rafting companies or day tours, but they do book them indirectly through local, national, or international operators or DMC’s. DMC’s etc, are “agents” too, as far as Adventure Engine terminology goes. They are right in the middle and it would be a best practise for them to offer commissions to other “agents” downstream. A last type of “agent” in...
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What’s the Dif? Online Bookings: Americans, Canadians and Brits

Do you deal with the British, US or and Canadian markets? You may be surprised to learn that there are both subtle and distinct differences in how people research and book travel in these markets. In a recent study, Expedia Media Solutions researched just how different the markets are and some key points emerged. Here are high level observations. Even though mobile searches have grown in all three markets, Canada shows the least growth. Why is this? The answer may be because of the more complex planning and expense required for long haul travel. The key bit of information here is that in both the UK and America, mobile growth for online content consumption out paced desktop, but in Canada desktop is still ahead.  In all cases, content is being sought across multiple devices, so digital design and communication must be geared to flow across the channels. Brits spend more minutes engaging with travel content on desktop, while Americans do the reverse. Canadians engage more on desktop and have the largest margin between channels, while the other two countries show mobile is continuing to rise. This suggests that you can target richer content to the UK and Canadian markets but create timely offers and less detail for the US. If you are considering getting a mobile app, it’s a good idea, but browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, Internet Explorer) are still the most popular way to access information across all devices. The US shows the highest use of apps of the three on mobile. Tablet users also prefer browsers by a large percentage. It maybe no great shock to learn that online visits to travel sites increases rapidly between the period when people first think of travelling and the time they actually book. But where do they for inspiration? Search engines ares still the most popular, so SEO for many business websites is a key factor early on. The share shifts when people start to narrow their choices. Search engines ares still important but friends and family drop. Searches on OTA, airline and hotel sites rise as people start to compare options. This shows that the closer to booking, people are looking at details like how to get there and what it will cost. What about social media? The graphic below shows that only 11 per cent of online bookers use social media and only at the early stages...
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Personalize Your Service to Appeal to the Millennial Traveller

Travel Marketing columnist for MediaPost, Verena Thompson, reported in an article June this year, “We’re seeing unprecedented changes in the world of travel and tourism, from the emergence of the “sharing economy” to the rise of the millennial traveller. “ She goes on to say, “To answer that question, we discussed the latest developments in the travel industry with vacationers, business travelers, industry experts, and working professionals throughout the United States and Latin America. ” Some key points: Today’s travelers are open, spontaneous, and fearless. So how can you get them in your camp? By embracing flexibility and celebrating consumer choice. Vacations aren’t just vacations anymore. They’re opportunities for enrichment. Today’s travelers want fresh educational experiences to prepare them for life in an increasingly interconnected society.  “Tourist” is a four-letter word.  Focus on forging one-on-one interactions between travelers and locals. The peer-to-peer marketplace isn’t your enemy. In fact, services like Airbnb can be wellsprings of inspiration—and opportunities for innovation. Today’s voyagers want to create unique travel experiences that can’t be duplicated. They discover and express their individuality at every point along their journey. When selling to these travelers, think of it this way: it’s not about products. It’s about purpose. What kind of experience does your brand offer? Can you feel it, tell a story about it, or capture it in a picture? From Nest to Netflix, we’re accustomed to hyper-personalized digital experiences at home, at work, and even on vacation. So how can you make the most of the information you already have?(Excerpted from the article, The New World of Travel 06/07/16 on MediaPost.com) In another post on our website we reported on how millenneial traveller choices were different. So, it also begs the question: what we can do to personalize your booking service and CRM for the Millennial Traveller? We’ve found that certain enhanced features of our res system can help, which is why Adventue Engine continues to be a leader in technology for tourism. For example, allowing your guests to log in to update profiles makes it easier for everyone to keep track of everything from disabilities to dietary constraints. Sending out automated email follow ups “x” months after a trip is a lot better than a generic e-newsletter. We can also offer custom language shopping carts and choices for how you price in different currencies. These types of features, along with Adventure Engine’s ability to...
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Three Critical Mistakes That Can Cost You Bookings

I scour the internet for knowledge that I can pass along to my readers about how to increase online sales.  It’s always gratifying read from other sources things that we have been preaching for years so let me get down to it. Sometimes it’s not the things you are doing, but the things you not doing, that are the costing you bookings. Here are some mistakes often made. 1.It seems obvious, but we are all guilty of it.  Throughout your website, on your home page, on your blog postings, on your Facebook page you need to have a clear call to action (CTA). If you are trying to stimulate action, and if you have a website to create transactions, you simply can’t let an opportunity pass. For an example, are you interested in seeing a quick infographic that will guide your entire digital marketing plan? Get a free digital marketing planner and other reports here If you are promoting a departure or daily activity, get that little Book Now button front and centre. If you are trying to increase sign ups to your site to keep informed, make sure there is a sign up link in an obvious place. (If you just came to our site, you will probably have noticed the pop up to get our newsletter. Obnoxious to some, but it works. If you are using WordPress and you’d like us to help you get more active CTA’s, contact us – we have a WordPress technician. 2.This next one is a little counter intuitive, but you have to think like someone searching around on the web, looking for reasons to select or deselect your company. You need to have an About Us page with lots of info. Here’s what’s going on. The hero in your shopping story has seen your call to action, but is reluctant to commit. Who knows, maybe they’re afraid of water, but really desiring to go with friends on a paddling trip. Or maybe they were ripped off once and are more averse to giving away their credit card over the internet. They will look at your About Page to check you out, understand your values, check your credentials, see if you are legitimate and have a real address and phone. At this point, you need to become their mentor and tell them who you are, where you are, how you protect them,...
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The Role of Chatbots in the Travel Experience

Research shows that a significant number of people would rather not have any human assistance, in particular research and booking, but some online customers still prefer the personal service that a live help facility offers. Chatbots provide this function, without the staff overheads. see rest of article at The Role of Chatbots in the Travel Experience — Tourworld Marketing Support...
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Marketing Resources New Zealand

Tourism New Zealand’s corporate site links to informational pages that guide operators through many of the programs and services that are provided by the tourism authority. The markets and stats page gives insight into geographic market values as well as good descriptions for doing business in the key countries. The links below take you to the main pages however there are many good bits of oddly categorised information like the report on cycling tourism research. To find more information than might be linked from main category areas, use the search box on the pages below with a few keywords of your subject. http://www.tourismnewzealand.com/ http://www.tourismnewzealand.com/tools-for-your-business/ http://www.tourismnewzealand.com/tools-for-your-business/more-resources/ Report on Cycling Tourism.pdf A good deal of the tourism activity is devolved to the regional tourism organisations, or RTO’s. New Zealand, with a smaller domestic market, depends on international travelers for significant tourism receipts. Adventure Engine has a range of tools that are designed for internationally focused tour operators. Issues like currency and security vary widely from country to country. We have a compiled a list of reports from a major online credit card processor that will guide your decisions. We have some other pages you might find useful if you are interested in the US market. The Adventure Travel Trade Association has some great resources available to members and we have several reports on various types of product clusters and markets that we can share with you, if you are not a member. Here is a link to a summary of the “Taste the Adventure” for example. This page is intended for your interest as a subscriber to our newsletter. Contact us to help you with internationalizing your website and online...
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