Laura Del Rosso
Laura Del Rosso

InsightA “flyer letter” that comes out of the blue to a potential customer might just trigger that important piece of group business that you've been after. That's one of the messages from Mike Marchev, an industry consultant, who recently spoke during a seminar on selling tips conducted by the Travel Institute.

In an email interview, Marchev elaborated on his “flyer letter” marketing and selling tip. He recommends that once a week travel agents who are looking to develop group business send someone in their community a handwritten letter through the mail suggesting a meeting to discuss a group trip, whether it's a cruise or tour.

LauraDelRossoThe provocation behind sending the letter could be a recent article in a local newspaper or magazine about something the church, community organization or social club is doing. If a club or group has gotten together for a community event that's showcased in a local newspaper article those people involved might be interested in traveling together.

“The flyer letter is nothing more than an idea stimulator. Because people are so busy today, this letter received out of the blue is designed to have them thinking of the possibilities.”

Marchev said agents should get in the habit of sending a letter a week and not be put off by rejection. The letters themselves typically won't generate business, but once in a while they will work and agents will receive a phone call from a new and interested client, he said.

“This is a marketing tactic that goes under the category of nothing ventured, nothing gained. You have everything to win and nothing to lose.”

An added benefit is that a response from the “flyer letter” could be the start of an ongoing business relationship with a new client and much more. The head of a community group or a local club such as a horticulture society, for example, might agree to discuss a themed group trip to a flower show. That could lead to the arrangements for the group trip, which then can generate individual vacation bookings from group members pleased with the agent's services.

“It's the domino theory,” said Marchev. “One event … leads to another opportunity.”

Marchev has scheduled his annual sales training conference on Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas departing Fort Lauderdale Jan. 11. For more, see www.mikemarchev/annual-cruise.

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