A Roadmap to Successful Sales in the Tourism and Hospitality Market
Travel is an enormous industry in the U.S. The U.S. Travel Association reported that in 2016, the U.S. travel industry generated $2.3 trillion dollars. That covers both business and leisure travel. That’s quite a chunk of change, right?
So, what does this mean for you, a promotional products distributor? Is this our sly way of telling you to quit and start a travel agency? No way. It is, however, our way of saying that there’s a goldmine of opportunity for selling to clients in the travel and hospitality sector.
This is because travel and hospitality clients are so diverse, and just about any type of products could work for different clients. Think about it: Airlines could use neck pillows and earbuds, hotels could use candy and robes, travel agencies need brochures and pens, and so on. Seriously, we could go on for miles.
But don’t take our word for it. We spoke with Bethany Bannister, marketing specialist for Hirsch Gift Inc., Houston, about what kinds of products clients in the travel industry are looking for, what distributors can do to maximize success, and where to begin in a marketplace that has so many opportunities.
So, where do you start this journey? According to Bannister, that really depends on your client’s need.
“Cellphone accessories, power banks, backpacks, headphones or earbuds,” she said. “Anything that makes the journey more enjoyable, easier and provides some comfort will always find a place in the tourism [and] hospitality industry.”
Think about when you travel. What are your own must-haves? Is it a sweatshirt for chilly airplanes? Is it earbuds so you can listen to music or watch the in-flight movie? How about a good duffel bag to fit everything you need in the overhead container?
From there, most people have their own allegiance to certain brands. They like backpacks that fit a certain way or have certain features. They like headphones that are comfortable and sound good. Bannister said that distributors should look into companies, like Hirsch, that carry name-brand products.
“A lot of people are not aware of this, but Hirsch Gift carries Targus backpacks, rolling cases and messenger bags,” she said. “They’re terrific for the tourism industry, because they offer a secure place to carry things with you when you’re out exploring.”
Now let’s get to the destination. What do you expect in a hotel, resort or cruise ship? What amenities would you be disappointed to not get, and what surprise might give you that “wow” factor? Bannister said to look toward these types of clients with ideas to really impress their own customers. She specifically mentioned cruise ships, hotels and wineries as places that potentially offer getaway packages and would be looking for promotional items.
Finally, you need to think about what you like to do to relax. What keeps you calm on a train ride or helps bump up the enjoyment of a vacation, and how can you monetize that? Bannister mentioned audio accessories, like headphones and Bluetooth speakers, as great traveling companions in addition to useful marketing tools.
“Music makes a journey,” she said. “Whether road-tripping, travelling by train, flying or sailing on the seas, music will become this soundtrack that brings you back to that location when you return to the office and daily grind. Not only will the imprint quality be important to a distributor’s client, but the sound quality should make their customer want to use the product.”
Traveling can be stressful, but selling to clients in the travel and hospitality industries doesn’t have to be. It’s just like when you’re embarking on your own journey. Have a plan from the get-go, and you’ll be fine. It’s the same as sales. Know your destination (clients), your plan (the items you want to pitch) and how you’ll get there, and you’ll have a blast.