Customer referral programs are a simple, low cost and effective marketing strategy, which many travel agencies utilize to grow their business.
There are many kinds of referral programs, but the main criterion is that they generate new customers from existing customers. The growth especially comes from the fact that each referred customer may become a referrer too.
The main benefit of customer referral programs are better leads. People feel more comfortable when a product or service is recommended by someone they know and trust. This is especially true if the product or service is expensive like travel can be! Referred customers are typically less price sensitive. A prospect that comes to you via a referral has already been told about the quality of your services. You will find that most referrals can be sold at higher prices because they have been presold on your trust and credibility. A good referral marketing system can quickly multiply, giving you plenty of interested prospects. This will allow you to choose who YOU want to work with instead of having to take every inquiry that comes your way. You will be able to focus on high-quality customers who are most profitable for your business. Additionally, customer referral programs can be implemented with little or no cost, so you can benefit without making a huge upfront financial investment.
While it is best business practice to ask all of your good customers for referrals, certain clients warrant extra attention. Influential people who are likely to inform others of their experiences can really help bring new customers to you. So who are these influential people who can propel your business by extolling the virtues of your travel agency?
People who regularly lead and engage with community associations, service clubs, religious and other organizations and can evangelize your agency, expertise and ability, to broader networks.
People who are looked to by others for their advice and opinion. Focus on them, so they mention your agency as the place to book travel.
People who want to be on the front lines for anything new and innovative. Got a client who just returned from a fabulous vacation to Bhutan? Get them to spark a Bhutanese travel boom for your agency.