Written By: Joanie Ogg CTC, MCC
Dovetailing off our feature in this publication about Travel Agency Marketing Channels, let’s spend some time researching the reasons why joining a local Chamber of Commerce can be a boost for your travel business.
If you are like me, I often realize I am so busy working “in” my business that I find it difficult to make time to work “on” my business. I truly believe that travel professionals can really get some great ROI by becoming part of their local chamber, Lion’s Club or other community networking groups. It may mean a little extra time spent out of your office but perhaps the results will far outweigh the added efforts. You might even find you enjoy the social aspect and make some new friends too! Here are some points to consider about the benefits of joining in.
Nothing sells your business better then you. That is a simple fact and one that cannot be argued. The enthusiasm and passion for your agency and what you do is probably your very best sales tool.
You ARE your business and the brains behind the operation. You make it all happen for them. Chamber meeting and other local groups are typically non-transaction based and are not-for-profit organizations. They work closely with governments to provide a representative business voice when needed. So not only are you being seen, you are also being heard.
This is about relationship building and making connections for your business. It is about building on relationships and possibility even gathering new supporters for your local business. Look at this as an investment in your business and the opportunity to meet and mingle with a larger group of individuals who may in fact have influence on your business success. This will make better relationship building aptitudes that can hybrid to enhance non-business parts of your life also.
Using Promotions & Marketing
Chambers and local networking groups can offer a variety of sponsorship and advertising packages that could be useful for your business. Your agency can sponsor programs and events as an added way to build exposure. There are also many opportunities to get free marketing through these channels. Many groups have regular newsletters that offer advertising opportunities as well. Some even offer the option of providing a free landing page online for a business with certain levels of membership.
News is big and typically chambers like to share good news. Member-related news is something they want to share through their own advertising networks and social media. You can be the beneficiary.
Attending Programs & Events
By being a member or participant in the chamber or other local networking group allows you access to their many programs and events. These can be business training breakfasts or luncheons, network specific events, award ceremonies, sports tournaments, local city or town community events and so many more. These are typically planned to build your business in some way or another, be it through promotions, community service and networking.
Utilizing the Educational Opportunities
While our business has some terrific online training opportunities such as our regular Travel Professional Community Webinars and other industry focused training events, the chamber and other local groups also offer some inexpensive options for continuing education. Those looking for business training and not specifically travel trade training may find some great options available.
Based on member surveys and ongoing member communication, chambers and networking groups can provide speakers at events or links to expert articles through emails and newsletters that members specifically request. Business leaders are essentially enrolled in a continuing education course in business management provided through the chamber — they simply need to attend.
Needless to say there are probably many more reasons to get involved in your local chamber or other local networking group. The key is to GET INVOLVED and ATTEND. Just being a member and not being an active and participating part of the group is probably a waste of your money. Commit a year to membership and or participation and hopefully the results will be well worth your time. You will never know till you try!