A homeworking company and tour operator have joined forces to use online video as an innovative way to boost agents’ product knowledge.
Somak Holidays and Midlands-based Holidaysplease got together through the Truly Independent Professional Travel Organisation create a video promotion to go on the homeworking company’s extranet site.
“The idea of trying to get supplier videos on our homeworker extranet was something that came up when working with our web design company, as it has a video-making facility,” said Holidaysplease director Richard Dixon.
“I thought it was a good way to showcase suppliers’ product.”
According to Somak, it can be much more difficult for an operator to communicate with homeworkers through traditional means, so video was an ideal solution. Whereas lists of ABTA addresses can be used to send out brochures to high-street shops, homeworking companies list head office as their ABTA address, not the workers’ home address, making bulk mailings more difficult.
“Some of the things we do traditionally, such as posters, are irrelevant to homeworkers, but they might be interested in our e-letters, which they can overbrand and forward to their customers,” said Somak marketing manager Louise Newton.
“It’s very much a question of thinking cleverly about how we can communicate effectively and efficiently with homeworkers.”
When two of Somak’s senior sales staff went to visit the Holidaysplease head office, Dixon took them down to a studio where the video was made. It took about 45 minutes to make and was totally unscripted.
“The sales representatives talked about what’s new for Somak and a few key selling points,” said Dixon. “Then the production guys did some editing so it looks professional. The finished video lasts about four minutes.”
The final cut was posted on the company’s intranet for its 25 homeworkers to watch when convenient. According to Somak, the initiative should boost their business from the agency by at least 10%.
Newton said: “We have a lot of business from homeworkers, especially those who have their online sales and marketing sewn up. We’re encouraging and supporting agents who have strong online networks of people.”
Now Holidaysplease is hoping to film other key suppliers. “It’s a perfect way for our suppliers to communicate to our homeworkers. Communication can be difficult when you have people all over the country, whereas if you are in a shop, suppliers can come and talk to you face to face.
“The initiative is about product knowledge more than anything. We’re hoping other suppliers will work with us to produce videos for our homeworkers to highlight brochure launches, special offers or new flights.”
TIPTO chairman Nigel Harris agreed: “The concept is great. For me it just shows what good communication between an operator and an agent can achieve. One of the main things TIPTO tries to do is give agents knowledge so they can increase their sales.”
Dixon said the reaction from homeworkers has been “fantastic”. Now the company is looking to add front-end videos to the Holidaysplease website, which consumers will be able to watch.
Other ways the travel industry is using video
Last year a MyTravel video posted on youtube.com got more than 24,000 hits, giving the tour operator massive publicity.
The video showed a mock press conference of executives erupting into a fight. MyTravel also used its YouTube page to encourage holidaymakers to send in their own videos. See more at youtube.com/pimpmytravel
It’s not just operators who are making the most of video, agents are too – look what happened when Travel Weekly sent a reader and cameraman around World Travel Market for the day. Future Travel agent Martin Owen let us follow him as he completed the Passport competition. See it at