If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Like: that free travel agent website you got when you joined your host agency.
“Free” is good, right?
Well, not if “free” just gets you freebie seekers, price shoppers, and tire kickers in return.
And that’s what most of those free, out-of-the-box travel agent websites attract.
Why? I think there are two BIG reasons:
1) These travel agent websites say they are “branded” — but they’re not built around your brand.
How could they be, when every agent at the host agency gets access to the same template? Typically, these websites are only “branded” in the sense that they include your headshot and contact info, and your logo if you’re lucky. Other than that, there’s nothing about the website that speaks to your specific ideal audience … colors, fonts, and yes, copy are generic, generic, generic.
And you’ve heard it before — if you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.
2) The websites are supplier driven.
I’ll see host agencies boasting that their travel agent websites are automatically updated with the latest supplier offers … as if that were a good thing! I think there’s room for enticing info about your favorite suppliers on your website, but when the latest deals are plastered to your homepage, any ideal prospect is going to wonder, “Why don’t I just book the cruise/hotel/tour directly?”
When your website doesn’t reflect your expertise, your distinct brand, or any of your competitive differentiators, then it won’t be able to answer that question.
I don’t mean to dump on host agencies here. They’re just responding to the needs of their travel agents — who are probably so overwhelmed by the process (and possibly the price) associated with getting a website up and running.
But since your website is the foundation of the rest of your marketing, it’s worth getting it right.
And that means connecting with professionals who are willing to build a website around YOU, and not the other way around.
Build a Travel Agent Website on Your Terms
If you’re still using a generic host agency-supplied website, I encourage you to start drafting your “exit plan” now.
I put together a breakdown of some common associated costs related to marketing and running your travel business here — including website, logo, and copy related costs, so you can start saving up for your investment in an upgrade web presence. Plus, grab your free travel agent website checklist, below, that outlines what you need to include to attract your dream clients with your website.
Once you graduate past your generic, templated website, I have a hunch you’ll see a HUGE difference in the kinds of trip requests coming through!