Radio advertising for travel companies: TIPTO case study

Can travel companies benefit from radio advertising? In the latest of Travel Weekly’s TIPTO Partners in Profit series, Lisa James speaks to two companies who ran a successful joint radio campaign

When Delmar Worldchoice business manager Lynne Swinerton decided to sign up to an annual advertising campaign with her local radio station, she had no idea how successful it was going to be.

Lynne, whose branch is based in the village of Gresford, near Wrexham, said: “We used to do radio advertising a few years ago but stopped because it wasn’t really generating the enquiries we wanted.

“Last year, we decided to give it another go, so I signed up with MFM (now known as Marcher Sound), which covers the North Wales and Cheshire area.”

For an annual fee of about £8,000, Lynne was guaranteed a certain number of slots on MFM and its sister station, which she used to solely advertise the agency.

In addition, the deal gave her access to a certain number of extra slots throughout the year, which she offered up to travel suppliers as a joint advertising promotion.

First Class Holidays, P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, United Vacations and Bales Worldwide all signed up to do joint campaigns last year.

Lynne said: “It has been more successful than we ever thought, so much so that we have re-signed for this year. Our branch is in a small village between Wrexham and Chester, and we were finding that print advertising was not having the impact it used to.

“A lot of clients are too lazy to look in the Yellow Pages, which is why we turned to radio advertising. MFM has two stations: a mainstream station and one that is geared towards older people. We advertise on both, so we are heard by all age groups.”

Lynne has been able to track which sales were generated through the radio advertising.

“There is no doubt it has increased our business and we have expanded our catchment area throughout mid-Wales and Cheshire.”

Sometimes it is not always the person making the booking who has heard the advert. “Clients tell us that their daughter or colleague heard about us on the radio.

“It’s good for staff morale too, when they hear the advert on the radio. And the fact they are seeing the rewards coming through the door has helped to motivate them.”

The radio campaign gets the thumbs up from Truly Independent Professional Travel Organisation chairman Nigel Harris.

He said: “It’s a great example of tour operators and travel agents working in partnership, looking at a target market and making it mutually beneficial.”

Radio advertising tips

1. Don’t be too specific. If clients think the deal is only available for a certain date or a certain product, they won’t investigate further.

2. Be consistent with the message so the penny drops. It takes several times of hearing an advert for it to register in the listener’s mind.

3. Carefully check the contract with the radio station to make sure it’s the right one for you. For example, is it going out at the right time for your target market, and is it going out often enough?

4. Have a review system in place so that you can track sales and see whether the advertising is working.

5. Make sure your staff are fully trained in the products you are advertising.

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