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Analia R asked:

I have been running a home based online travel business, specializing in trips to South America for about 3 years now. I am still trying to find out the best way to spend the money I set aside for marketing/advertising. I found out that trade shows are too expensive and do not produce results I’d hoped for. Is it worthwile hiring a PR/Marketing consultant?
Thank you
Analia Rupar
Eureka Travel



ibu guru on 6 August, 2009 at 10:24 pm #

1. You must have a website.
2. Few people use travel agents anymore. They book online after comparing the cheapest prices. That means that you have to market specialty tours to affinity groups. Who is your target market? Without knowing your target market, its demographics, etc, you have no way of knowing how to reach them.
3. A PR/marketing consultant cannot do a bloody thing for you without knowing your target market and what makes your service unique. They’ll charge you at least $5000- 10,000 just to help you figure out your target market. If you cannot figure out who your target market is and then how to reach them, you probably should not even be in business.

Norm Jones on 7 August, 2009 at 9:11 am #

Hello there,

You probably do not have the resources (working capital) to compete directly against the major players in the general market. You will need to identify a niche in the travel market in which you can compete. Being a small business means you can adapt to the needs of a specific niche in the market much better than a large business can. Use that strength to your advantage. Find a market niche and exploit that.


Kevin Salwen, SBAC Expert on 9 August, 2009 at 8:56 am #

Analia, you are right. Trade shows are an antiquated method of pitching a business, unless your audience is a bulk buyer, i.e. someone who might purchase dozens of tickets for executives traveling to South America. But if your customers are either companies that need travel arrangements less often or consumers you should be looking online for your best sources of marketing.

You might consider writing a travel blog about great finds in South America. You might consider filling your site with amazing photos of special, out of the way places. You might consider generating some top 10 lists: best small hotels, best shopping markets, biggest rip-offs. Be creative. The point: Buyers who don’t travel to South America all that often are looking for help in planning the best trip for their investment. The good news is that all travelers are terrified of wasting their time and money. You can use that fear to your advantage by guiding them with your services.

In addition to your own website, I would urge you to create a Facebook page for your business and to consider search marketing on various sites. These days, most vacationers start their journeys with a search. Find the key words that will help your business stand out — this will take testing — and use your marketing dollars more wisely that way. If you’re squeamish about your own online abilities, there are plenty of firms that have built expertise in this area. But there are also scams, so be sure to meet them face to face.

Esteban on 9 August, 2009 at 5:12 pm #

It looks like you have a special niche if you have been in business for 3 years now. You need to identify that niche then invest in search engine optimization strategies for that niche. For instance, if you target market is local to your area then you will want to use SEO strategies that focus on your local market place (Google local, Yellow pages online, etc.). If you are able to do business nationally, then your SEO strategy would focus on organic search results for very specific keywords that focus on your niche. Don’t try to compete with the large online travel sites, you will never succeed.

You other strategy would focus on marketing directly to existing customers. Hand written notes and personalized service are a great way to retain existing customers and turn them into repeat business.

David on 11 August, 2009 at 11:48 am #

ya, i never have done off-line before, but as an on-line marketer i know the challenges have to be the same. If a budget is in place go on line and go hard. Theres tooo many free advertising there, you tube, ezine. Become an internet american. Drop me a line.

Jhon P on 11 August, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

Absolutely look no further:

Manuel on 12 August, 2009 at 6:13 pm #

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