An effective travel agency newsletter requires careful attention to ten key factors. We have already addressed the first six: target your audience, determine your goals/objectives, identify your readers, and make sure the newsletter is newsworthy, relevant and regular.
Finally – consider promotion, quality/style, response and distribution.
– Promotion: Readers often respond to specific calls to action – but make sure the calls will result in profitable business. A $45 fare between New York and Boston will generate calls but may adversely impact your agency. Or, a special APEX rate in conjunction with a departure may kindle reader interest.
Choose news items by first defining your market niche. Select items that fit into your agency plan and benefit the client. This doesn’t exclude promoting heavily discounted fares, but does require that the newsletter’s content be evaluated for its potential impact on the agency from a financial and operational standpoint. Exclusive services unique to your agency create an image of difference. Highlight your uniqueness. Your identity in the community will improve as a result.
The style of newsletters varies. However, a few rules apply. Keep items short: Most readers read brief items. Bullets, bold type and spacing enhance readability. Maintain a consistent format even if the editors of your newsletter change. Your logo, color of paper, type-setting style, etc., are key to creating a newsletter style. These will also help in establishing your agency’s identity.
Finally, and importantly, have the newsletter proofread by at least one other employee. Readers have an uncanny ability to find spelling and informational errors. Because your newsletter reflects on your agency, be sure that it is always a high-quality publication. Many agencies find that one employee is a natural newsletter editor. Other agencies assign the editor as part of a job description for someone in client relations, sales or leisure travel. Whoever you choose, be sure that your newsletter editor realizes the importance of the job.
– Response: Many agency managers wonder if anyone reads the newsletter and, if so, does it benefit the agency? A response card for drink coupons, luggage tags, drawings and so on, creates audience participation. Use your imagination to create a method to gauge reader interest and participation. It is also helpful to tabulate results from your newsletter. They will indicate reader interest and buying patterns.
Your mailing list of “quality” names should serve as your main distribution network. The newsletter can also be distributed at certain excellent locations:
o Corporate account cafeterias
o Company reception areas
o Professional offices of doctors and lawyers
o Public areas such as restaurants and retail stores.
Permission to use these areas is usually easy to obtain; some corporations are happy to distribute a newsletter to their employees as an employee benefit. Wider distribution can produce incremental business with little distribution cost.
Many factors need to be considered in preparing a newsletter. But the benefits from producing a newsletter can be great:
o Better agency image
o Improved identity
o Larger client base
o Increased business
o Improved project mix
A careful approach to writing and distributing a newsletter will make it a successful marketing tool for your agency.