How Travel Agents Get Bookings From Consumer Events

Have you ever attend a consumer event to look for leads & clients for your travel business?

Did you feel overwhelmed with all the possibilities and ways to prepare for the show like I was?

You know, I remember doing my first bridal show and I was like, "oh my gosh, what do I do?"

We've seen people handing out little chotchkies, giving out postcards, drawing for  prizes, signing  people up for their email newsletters and so on... and it CAN be really overwhelming to sort out what COULD be done vs what MUST be done.

I got so confused that it almost stopped me from participating in ANY events altogether!

But I knew that NOT participating would be automatic "failure". So I didn't give up.

And after researching, preparing for and participating in many, many consumer event opportunities, I'm MUCH more confident about how to choose appropriate events, how to plan for them and how to get the best return from my investment.

(Cuz they ain't cheap - let me tell ya!)

Normally, I do a month-long module on this in the Travel Biz Impact Membership Academy.

But today I want to give you 3 basic "rules of thumb" to help you CRUSH consumer events so you can just get going TODAY! 

3 Ways For Travel Agents To CRUSH Consumer Events

WORD OF CAUTION: I did my first bridal show thinking that somebody would actually come and BOOK their honeymoon with me.

Like, right there on the spot.

Um...I kind of got a rude awakening coming back from my first show empty-handed.

Now if your thinking along those same lines, that's okay. We probably all thought that at one time - expecting to get a booking from going to a consumer event...

But I'm here to tell you, just get that out of your head. Don't focus on that at all while you're at an event.

Actually, I've heard many students say:

"Oh, I did an XYZ show before. I didn't get any bookings, so I'm not doing those shows again".

And I'm like, "No! Wait! Stop!"

And I ask them to think about this:

Let's say you're participating at a bridal show. If you put your mind into the mind of the consumers, they're coming for a purpose, whether it's to get information, whether it's to go find a DJ or whatever it may be.

They're not necessarily saying, "Hey, let me look for a bridal show or a consumer event where I can go book a honeymoon or book my family vacation".

That's not what they're there for most likely, right?

So we need to figure out WHY they are coming and then meet that need to start building relationships with that audience.

Rule #1 to CRUSHING CONSUMER EVENTS: Let it go. You're most likely not going to get any bookings right at the show. Have a goal instead.

Yes, think of just ONE GOAL you want to achieve at the show.

If you're like most of us who feel overwhelmed already, chances are you're thinking:

"Okay,  I want to book consultations...

I want to get them on my email list...

I want people to know who I am...

I want to talk to people...

I want to meet people...

I have to hand out business cards...

I have to bring supplier brochures..."

You know the drill.

It can get overwhelming...and it IS overwhelming both for you AND the people coming to your table.

They don't want to "drink from a fire hose" and get blasted with too much information.

So you need to get really clear on what you can do to make that event successful for both you and your prospects.

My #1 goal is to get email addresses of the most ideal clients there.

I usually do that through a lead magnet - just like we talk about in the Travel Biz Impact Academy or even in our free Facebook group and you know, just something saying, if you give me my email address, I'll give you this.

Or I've also done a prize giveaway where I gave away something related to travel.

The only word of caution with that is that you'll likely get people just signing up to get the prize and they're not really interested in you. A specific informational lead magnet is most likely to attract a more QUALIFIED audience, but will be maybe "less" by way of number of emails.

So you can choose how you want to do that, but you need to decide, okay, "Here's exactly what I'm going to do to collect emails/contact information while I'm there", and that should be your goal. 

Rule #2 to CRUSHING CONSUMER EVENTS:   You want to focus on the HOTTEST leads.

So how do you find the "hottest" leads?

Have some questions ready to qualify them!

Yes, you're going to do some qualifying when you're at this consumer event, meaning when they come to your table you're going to see if they're there just for the free stuff or if they're actually INTERESTED in talking to you.

And if they're INTERESTED, are they actually interested in YOU or just "picking your brain"?

You need to be ready with a set of questions that you can ask these people to really tune in to who they are and if they would be somebody that you would like to work with. 

I recommend giving five questions ready and they can be just simple little things. For instance, for me at a bridal show, because my table will be all-inclusive themed, I'll say, "Are you looking to go on an all inclusive vacation for your honeymoon"? And then they'll either say something like, "oh, I don't know, I haven't thought about it" and then I'll, that will prompt another question or "no, we're kind of, you know, planning a road trip across the country" and I'll be like, "oh, okay, well good luck with that. I don't really specialize in that". And I move them through. Yup, I'm no-nonsense."

(When I find out they're not my ideal client, it's not that I don't ever want to work with them. But in that moment I'm paying for that booth so that I can get a return on my investment as soon as possible. And I want the brides that are ready to book their honeymoons to an all inclusive, a spot in the Caribbean or Mexico.)

So you need to get really clear on who you want to talk to, decide your questions to qualify them, and then move people along quickly that are not your ideal clients. 

Then lastly, you're doing all this for a purpose, right? The last thing you want to do is come home with all these emails and have nothing to do with it. "Oh, okay, great. I got these emails, now what?"

Rule #3 to CRUSHING CONSUMER EVENTS: You need to have a follow-up plan in place before you go to that consumer event.

So I personally have at least 4 emails (now I have a whole slew of them because I've done so many of them. I just keep adding to them.) So at least FOUR emails to go out as soon as possible after the event.

What I'd recommend including in the first one is a photo of your booth saying, "Hey, we met at the bridal show, here's my booth and we chatted about this", whatever.

And then you have four emails ready to go out about your business and how they can benefit from being part of your business!

THE FORTUNE IS IN THE FOLLOW UP - you'll hear it a million times, but it's true!

SUMMARY:

1. Don't look for bookings, look to collect emails/contact information with some type of appropriate lead magnet.

2. Qualify them to find & focus on the "hottest" leads.

3. Have a follow up plan with at least 4 emails ready to go!

 

BONUS TIP: If you want to look like a freaking Rockstar, be the very first one who sends out an email to them.

Listen, if there's other travel agents at the event, I want to be the first one in their email.

So I have all those 4 emails already to go and I sit down at the end of the show AT MY TABLE after I've torn everything down and I input those bad boys in ASAP whenever possible! Even if I've been there 8 hours, I will sit at that table and I will input them into my automated email sender, put them in my phone right away.

That's the reason when I land in their inbox some people are like, "oh my gosh, I just met this person today and here's an email like two hours later". Then they feel SPECIAL and that's my goal is to make them feel special!

So if you need more help figuring out how to do things like:

"I'm a Newbie, how do I do this?"

"How do I get leads?"

"How do I create a lead magnet?"

Hop into our Facebook group for NEW travel agents at:

http://www.Facebook.com/groups/TipsForTravelAgents

If you're not there already, it's for new travel agents about 2 years or less in the business.

Again, go to http://www.facebook.com/groups/tipsfortravelagents.

We'd love to have you there!