Top 4 (Free) Travel Agency Marketing Tools
I’m gonna take a stab in the dark and say that you didn't get into selling travel for your love of marketing or graphic design. I’m also going to guess you aren’t a bajillionaire (yet!). Or maybe you're just a tried and true DIY aficionado who has great design ideas, but just wants a few tools to help make them happen.
Whether you're just starting a travel agency or trying to diversify your free marketing tools, this article will offer you a rundown of the free travel agent marketing tool we here at HAR have grown to love. These tools will help you design branding, logos, and keep your travel agency social media marketing engine humming.
DIY Travel Agent Marketing Tool #1: Canva
I'm going to go on record to say that if we could use only one design tool here at Host Agency Reviews, we'd probably use Canva.
One of the huge pros of Canva is that it's versatile. You can use it to create social media images, blog images, ads, or you can even just use it to edit photos. It’s fairly user-friendly, and if you have brand colors, you can save those to your Canva profile (HUGE bonus). It's a quick program to learn, and the results are professional-looking.
Among other things, April uses Canva to create all our featured blog images:
But she also uses it for social media images, blog images, cheatsheets, downloadable resources (and everything else under the sun).
The cons of Canva? In our experience, it's not great for data-heavy graphic images or infographics. Also, if you embed Canva images onto your site using an iframe, you can't remove their branding, which is a bummer for a paid plan.
Canva has a robust free version. But if you become a frequent user, their paid plan for $119/year is worth it for the access to (loads) more images, the background remover, and their brand kit.
DIY Travel Agent Marketing Tool #2: MailChimp
If you are signed up for our newsletter, then you have an idea of how much we rely on MailChimp! And if you’re not signed up for our monthly newsletter, for goodness sake! Stop reading and go sign up right now! We’ll wait right here . . .
Okay. You’re back. That was quick, right?
Mailchimp has user-friendly and simple templates you can use for mass emails or newsletters you might want to send to your clients. However, we design our own newsletter template to make it look uber-customized. Here's an example of one of our more recent newsletters:
If you want to get all fancy, you can do things like segment your clients by type of travel, demographic, or whatever floats your boat! That means, if you see a deal come in for Karisma Resorts that would be great for couples with upcoming anniversaries, you can send out an email via MailChimp to that particular segment.
Mailchimp is especially great if you're just starting out. Don’t be discouraged if you only have 25 subscribers. We all start somewhere. In 2012, HAR started with 0 subscribers and has since grown to 18,139 . You can do it!
Cons of Mailchimp? In my mind, there's room for growth when it comes to segmentation and automation. I also wish you could respond to campaign replies directly from our Gmail Workspace account.
Mailchimp is free until your subscriber base grows beyond 2,000 email contacts. Not too shabby! From MailChimp’s free plan, you can always upgrade as your business grows. One bonus about Mailchimp is its pricing agility, regardless of how many subscribers you have. They offer three tiers regardless of how large your subscriber base is. Starter plans beyond their free program range from $99/mo to $270/mo and their premium plan costs run between $299/mo to $1,190/mo.
DIY Travel Agent Marketing Tool #3: Piktochart
At HAR, Piktochart is our number one go-to for infographics. If you’ve browsed the site, you’ve likely experienced firsthand our fondness for infographics. Here's one (of many) examples of how we’ve used Piktochart on the site:
The nice thing about Piktochart is you can embed images directly to your site without any high jinx (or watermarks if you invest in their paid plan).
What does this mean? It means that if you change some of the data to your Piktochart file, it will automatically update it on your site too. Not only that but your embed can include multiple links to other pages on your site, unlike a static image. (This is why we'll turn to Piktochart over Canva from time to time.)
What are some ideas for infographics you can make as a travel agent?
- 5 Things Most Destination Weddings Forget
- How Much Can a Travel Agent Save You
- The Best Cruise Lines for Families
- 7 Tips to Make Your Next Group Booking a Breeze
But it can also be used for printable marketing materials if that strikes your fancy. 🙂(Psst! Don’t forget to add a call to action, as well as a footer with your agency name and a link to your contact information!)
Con's of Piktochart? We use Piktochart specifically for our survey reports and graphics. For that use, nothing else compares. Beyond that, there are diminishing returns. The learning curve for Piktochart is steeper than a program like Canva. It's a bit more finicky and takes more time/patience to get things looking fabulous.
- Piktochart has a good free plan however, they only remove their watermark on the paid plan. Their pro plan is $14 per member, per month.
DIY Travel Agent Marketing Tool #4: Noun Project
Besides the cool name, The Noun Project can be a great resource for developing a logo or any other kind of graphics. Typically I’ll use The Noun Project for larger projects rather than a standalone. It’s also a great place to look if you need some icons for your website or marketing materials.
We use The Noun Project fairly often to make article images. The agency and computer icon below are from the noun project:
Noun Project's Costs:
One thing to note about the above image is that we paid for their ProNoun plan ($39.99/yr) to be able to use the icons royalty-free, meaning we don’t have to give credit to anyone, and you can customize icon colors to match your brand.
Wix Websites & Logos:
If you want to DIY your travel agency website, HAR highly recommends Wix. Wix is user-friendly, professional-looking, and has a great free option. If you're just starting your agency, you can get a great-looking Wix website up in a matter of minutes. (Keep in mind, that we're referring to their ADI plan, where you use their templates).
Another thing we like about Wix, is that you can also use it to DIY your own travel agency logo for free if you're on a shoestring budget.
Wix has a free site, but if you want to upgrade for a custom domain (we highly recommend this, at some point) and to remove their logo, their personal plans start at $14.99/mo. If you want to add credit card processing to the mix (for your travel agent fees) their introductory business plan starts at $23/mo.
If you’re looking specifically for a logo design and don’t mind shelling out a few bucks, these are a few affordable online resources recommended by various travel agents in our 7-Day Setup Support Group on Facebook.
- Upwork: You can use Upwork to find all kinds of freelancers, whether it be for graphic design, web developers, or writers. Their freelancers can be hired for an hourly rate of $20 and up.
- Fiverr: Fiverr also has a cache of freelancers who will design logos for a little as $5 (hence the name!).
- Deluxe Logo Design: Running at $200, it has a higher price tag compared to Fiverr and Upwork, but creating a logo is like getting a tattoo right? You’re stuck with it forever :)
- A local Art College/Community College: This was recommended on the 7-Day Setup as well! I think it’s a great idea. A logo will likely run about $200 minimum, but you also get the satisfaction of feeding a starving artist.
Need Some Marketing Inspiration?
It’s easy to get a creative block when figuring out how to market your own business. Happens to us all, I promise! Here’s a solution for you, though. Take a peek at our $100 Marketing Plan video. Discover multiple ways to promote your agency without emptying your wallet:
What’s Your Take?
What kind of resources do you like to use to help with your DIY marketing efforts? Let us know in the comments below!
*Editor's note: This article was originally published on November 4, 2017. It was updated and republished on publish date listed.