We're often asked about how a mostly leisure-focused travel pro can begin adding corporate travel clients to their book of business. Now that we seem to be in the golden age of "bleisure" travel, that jump may not be as difficult - or even a jump at all, really. It's really just as simple as experimenting with your marketing messages.
One way that we've seen CCRA agents successfully begin adding corporate clients to their roster is to focus on a destination that they're already comfortable with. That allows you to leverage contacts, suppliers, and resources that may already be right in front of you. This will boost your confidence, and in-turn, allow you to handle this new business like a pro. So, for example, let's choose Mexico as our destination of choice. It's a great destination for meetings, and odds are, if you've booked your clients into any of the major resorts lately, you've already got an in.
The first step I would take is to reach out to your BDMs in the major Mexico destinations. Let them know that you're going to start seeking out opportunities to manage more corporate travel, and ask them for access to resources that can make that happen quickly and with the best possible chance to grab the right prospect's attention. This could mean asking for access to a library of images that feature a property's meeting spaces, a list of planned team-building activities that you can offer to a corporate group, and even some suggestions on making the most of meal functions.
You should end up with some GREAT talking points as well as some ingredients for a standout campaign on LinkedIn or your social network of choice. You're going to want to make it very clear what you're offering, and utilize the assets that your suppliers can provide you. For example, you could create a LinkedIn post that reaches your network:
Pair this post with an image of some fantastic corporate meeting space. I'll choose one of my favorites, Central Hoteles. They are located in the historic district and most beautiful sections of Mexico City, with a quick ride from the airport. So right off the bat, business travelers will be enriched by experiencing such an incredible cultural area and some sights they wouldn't normally get to see. These are the kinds of things that increase employee engagement and satisfaction! But I digress... anyways, I reached out to Central Hoteles (they had no idea who I was) and within an HOUR received some beautiful photos as well as an expert within the hotel that was ready to help me put together compelling offers that would attract new business for me. See some of the samples below!
This is the kind of marketing you can do RIGHT NOW without yet having a single request. Start putting these things out there, and you are sure to attract some poor HR manager or marketing person who has been asked to put together a meeting - and doesn't know where to start (yes, this has happened to me many times). Position yourself as a resource for them, and show them the kinds of options they have for an incredible experience - from meeting space photos to options for local cuisine and activities.
Let's continue on with this hypothetical group and say that you get a bite from someone looking to book 50 employees for 3 nights. And they need help planning activities. And ordering their A/V, breaks, meals... the works. Again, I'll focus on Central Hoteles, and tell you that they provided me with sample pricing and guidance on how best to present the options. This, in turn, helps YOU position yourself as an expert, and deliver the kinds of information that will keep this company coming back for all of their employee travel needs. And guess what? These employees also go on vacation. And they all just met you and your incredible service. Who do you think they're going to call to plan their next vacation? That's right. The line between being a successful corporate and leisure travel pro is pretty blurry - which is a beautiful thing when you want to be building a diverse, exciting book of business for yourself!
So if you're looking to start adding corporate clients to your portfolio, we can help you do that. One of the great benefits of being part of CCRA is the access you get to our sales and marketing teams, our chapter directors, and more. We love helping our membership thrive and build their dream agencies. You can come to see us in Orlando next week at PowerSolutions, in February at our big 3-day blowout in DC, PowerSolutions National, or you can reach out to little old me any time and I'd be more than happy to give you some pointers.
Chief Marketing Officer
PS - If you're ready to jump in, you can also contact Mr. Luis Gonzalez (email@example.com) and he can provide you with a wealth of knowledge, assets, and ideas to get you started! Give it a shot!
Images for Marketing Corporate & Business Travel: (Thank You Central Hoteles!)