During an in-depth Q&A webinar, KNOT members were invited to ask Chappelle their toughest questions as they related to his first two presentations: Get Your S.H.I.P. together: the C.R.A.P. that's stopping you from achieving your sales goals and Kick-start your sales: Strategies of top-selling agents. In this case, the posed question was about consortia marketing programs. Here's what Chappelle had to say.
KNOT member-submitted question:
“Which types of consortia marketing programs are my best bet to invest in so that I can keep my focus on sales? And, how do I follow up on these efforts to make the most of them?”
Answer: Figure out your specialty and go from there.
Editor's note: A consortium is an organization made up of independent travel agents and agencies which join forces to increase their buying power, commissions and more.
Chappelle prefaced his answer by explaining that your consortia and your host agency are going to offer a plethora of marketing strategies, since suppliers are paying them to market their products. So yes, the options can be very overwhelming.
Before diving into the options, Chappelle instructed advisors to first acknowledge their niche.
“I would focus on what my specialty is,” said Chappelle. “Then I would look and see what [the consortium] has available for that. The best ones are going to be those that you can pick and choose from.”
Chappelle reminded advisors that consortia work on their behalf. Suppliers pay big money because it generates significant returns.
“It’s worthwhile to participate in those programs,” Chapelle explained. “Is everything in it going to be what you want? Probably not. But if you've got a client who's a Crystal Cruises, Seabourn or Tauck [type traveller], you don't want to be sending them Carnival, Globus or Royal Caribbean. So you pick and choose based on who your client base is and what's relevant to them.”
Chappelle advised combing through the list of à la carte offerings, building out the strategy that works for you, selecting the suppliers you prefer to work with.
“Pick and choose based on your niche,” he explained. "After that, you can take a more generalized approach."
When it comes to follow up, Chappelle suggested that direct mail is the most effective. His physical mailbox is filled daily with marketing from Viking, AMAWaterways, Crystal and Regent. “People are bombarded by e-mail,” he pointed out, “but [direct mail] works.”
Before closing out the topic, Chappelle stressed the importance of consortia.
“By all means, please participate in those programs. I know a lot of people tell me, ‘Wow, they don't do what I want.’ You know what? They may not be exactly what you want to do, but they work. They're put together by professional marketers, so they know what they're doing. Participate in the ones you think are going to be the best bet for your clientele. I would do it at least twice a month if you have the opportunity. Don’t be afraid to pay for some of it if you have to, because it's definitely worthwhile.”
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