Esprit De Corps – Creating a Travel Agency Newsletter (I of III)

A newsletter is an effective means of communicating with your clients. When circulated widely, it can extend your client base and potentially add to your profits. As a product of the agency, the newsletter helps to establish your identity as a substantive organization. Directed to specific market segments, it can help improve your product mix. Ten factors should be addressed in making your newsletter an effective marketing tool.1. Audience: Carefully decide who the target audience is. Basically, there are two choices: corporate and leisure travelers. Before deciding which type of newsletter to produce, define which business is most profitable and desirable to obtain. Direct your newsletter to this business. Some agencies may wish to produce separate newsletters for their corporate and leisure clients. Corporate travel agencies may also wish to create a separate newsletter for leisure travel in order to increase personal travel spin-off.2. Goals and Objectives: Have a purpose in writing the newsletter: to extend your client base, create client awareness of your services, or promote new travel bargains. Inherent in everything you do, of course, is your overall goal: to increase sales. Be sure that your newsletter accomplishes these goals. Define specific objectives for reaching each goal. A sample goal might be to increase leisure travel business. One objective then would be to distribute the newsletter regularly and in a timely fashion, e.g., by the first of each month. Your readers will look forward to regularly receiving your newsletter.3. Readership: “Quality” names including e.mail addresses are those that bring profitable business to your agency. Collecting these e.mail addresses should be a continuous task in your agency. Non-beneficial names create extra work, bring no business, or add unprofitable business. A little market research can yield substantial results. This requires deciding on which business you are after and how to reach the audience that fits into your business plan.One method of obtaining names is by “computer prospecting” – sort the travelers using your agency by destination, class of service or amount of business during the previous year. A pattern will develop and you will be able to quickly identify key people for your mailing list. The ability to sort names is important since some newsletters may only apply to a limited market.Your most valued clients should be included on the mailing list: the frequent traveler, key decision makers with corporate accounts, corporate officers, travel arrangers and others who make your agency successful. This will keep them apprised of your agency’s activities and thwart the marketing efforts of your competition.Other sources which can generate readers for your newsletter include:o Suggestions from your employees
o Referrals from your valued clients
o Input from corporate contacts
o Your sales department’s target contact list
o Suggestions from vendors
o Outside qualified mailing lists (e.g., cruise company trade magazines)
o Prospective clients in your area.Names can be entered via most travel agency accounting systems. These names can be coded to indicate numerous bits of information. This is especially helpful if your agency does a specialty mailing other than the newsletter. Basic codes include type of traveler (corporate, leisure, group) and status (traveler, arranger, VIP, contact, etc.). A reference list of these codes should be kept by at least two employees to prevent misplacing them.An ambitious goal is to develop a mailing list by customer habits. It can yield a much higher return than normal mailing lists. This mailing list is coded by buying habits and patterns. Sample categories can include cruise clients, single travelers, adventure travelers, special interests, non-smokers, sports enthusiasts, etc. This list enables your agency to better market specific items and reach these individuals.Updating the mailing list is an important and continuous task. Contacts change, retire, relocate, etc. A corporate mailing list should be checked at least every six months to ensure that the names are accurate. Returned newsletters should be processed to delete and/or replace names. A folder where employees can leave corrections to the mailing list is helpful. For leisure lists, it is important to delete returned envelopes.Your first readers should always be your agency employees. They will then be better able to handle client calls and close sales resulting from the newsletter.Coming up next – Newsworthiness, Relevance and Regularity

Working Online From Home As a Travel Agent

If you take a look around when you’re walking downtown, you won’t find that many brick and mortar travel agencies anymore. The reason is that most travel agents are working online from home – and so can you! You may think that there is a lot of work to get started working online from home as a travel agent and get your business off the ground, but it’s actually not that hard. In this article you will get some guidelines that will get you started working online from home as a travel agent.There is basically two ways you can operate as a travel agent working online from home:

Booking and selling agents – Book tickets directly with hotels and airlines.
Referral Travel Agents – Working online from home under a hosting agency that books the tickets.
Booking and selling agents need to be ARC/IATA accredited in order to be allowed to sell airline tickets. An ARC/IATA card is an industry identification that allows you to book any kind of travel product. This identification is very expensive and you need to meet certain minimum standards in order to be qualified for it, so the smartest way to go if you’re inexperienced in the travel business is as a referral travel agent.As a referral agent you do not need ARC/IATA identification, because you’re basically working under an accredited hosting agency. You promote the travels, the hosting agency books the tickets and you will get a commission.When working online from home as a referral agent you normally do not need any kind of travel agent license or certification. Some states/countries require it though – so make sure you check with the local authorities before you start your business. It may be smart to get one anyway – a certification or license will gain trust with your customers.One of the most important decisions you will have to make when you start working online from home as a referral agent is which hosting agency you want to work with. It’s been a “working online from home travel agent”-revolution and there are a lot of hosting agencies online. Make sure you put in the time and effort to research for a good company.There are hosting agencies that you can join for free, but some of them will charge you a monthly fee. In return, if the company is good, you will get a lot of great marketing tools that you can use to promote your business. A good company will also give you training to make you a better agent working online from home.A good place to start researching hosting agencies is at Professional Association of Travel Hosts (PATH – and National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA – They are both reliable sources for serious hosting agencies.Then you need to decide what kind of travels you want to sell. You can specialize in charter trips to specific locations, only sell luxury cruises or bus tours for elderly etc. It’s all up to you. It is a good idea though, to specialize in one specific area – at least in the beginning.To sell your travels working online from home, you should set up a website and start promoting your business by internet marketing, local advertising, and word of mouth and so on. A good hosting agency will give you all the necessary help you need to get you started.

Health and Fitness – Alcohol Does Serious Damage!

Life is a precious gift and all through our growing years parents lovingly tend and nurture life, giving us strong healthy bodies that are bursting with vitality. Then we grow up and go off to do our own thing that includes being hell bent on destroying the health and fitness we enjoy. Alcohol is a killer, make no mistake about that! It is wonderful to party and get drunk and we tell ourselves that we are young and life is to be enjoyed. This article covers the repercussions of serious drinking on well being.Medical research has indicated that a glass of wine or beer or one hard alcohol drink every day is good for the body. Who really stops with one drink? The reason being, alcohol is extremely addictive and once you get caught in its grip, getting out takes some serious effort. Society is plagued by alcoholism, even the young and the saddest part is that the numbers are on the rise, even among pre-teenagers.You would be hard pressed to find few if any parts of the body that are not negatively affected by the effects of alcohol. Going into the details of every one of the side effects caused by alcohol on health and fitness will take forever; this article covers a few of the scarier aspects of alcoholism. There are short term effects of alcohol like ruined relationships, dysfunctional family life that involves abuse, driving impairment and negative reactions to prescribed medication. In the long term the problems that develop affect health in myriad ways by breaking down the body’s defenses and organ functions leading to serious and even fatal health consequences.The liver is one of the primary organs that is affected by alcohol very negatively. Inflammation of the liver leads to Hepatitis which includes abdominal pains, fever and jaundice. Prolonged abuse unfortunately can be fatal, the good news however, is that when you stop the effects are reversible. Cirrhosis of the liver, which is scarring of the organ is the ultimate result of the abuse and cannot be reversed and may require a liver transplant as a last resort.The pancreas is the organ that regulates your body’s blood sugar levels through the production of insulin and it also helps in digesting the food you eat. Inflammation of the pancreas through alcohol abuse leads to severe abdominal pains and weight loss that can eventually result in death.Alcohol heightens the risk of various cancers attacking the body and the correlation between alcohol and cancer has been medically proven. Women can develop breast cancer in addition to cancers of the mouth, throat, liver, pancreas and colon.Now that you are suitably enlightened on the dangers of alcohol abuse it is best to stay away from something that can fatally damage your health and fitness.