Hays agents generate ‘scroll-stopping’ content to boost bookings

Hays Travel shops made almost 21,000 bookings in the past six months after responding to messages on social media.

Social media manager Natalie Heatlie told delegates at the agency’s retail conference in Portugal that the shops had generated 209,000 pieces of content this financial year, running from May 1, which meant 61.3 million people were engaged – resulting in 1.4 million comments.

A total of 127,000 messages were generated which resulted in 20,887 bookings, said Healie.

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“You have nailed ‘scroll-stopping’ content,” she told delegates.

She urged agents to make the most of those messages that had not yet generated a booking, encouraging them to reply to comments and be conversational.

“Without engagement, social media is just media,” she said.

“Show that you care and ‘smile’ through the screen. Post less, connect more.”

Heatlie said agents can save time by using services on the Emplifi social media platform, such as templates and AI generated text.

Paula Barrett, head of retail, also offered tips about making the most of sales opportunities as preparations are made for the busy peaks booking period.

She said there is less discounting now than last year but urged managers to use discounts even less in order to boost profitability.

Most sales are still short-haul but cruise and long haul are “quick wins” as they are more lucrative and offer better margins, she added.

Beccy Rayner, foreign exchange head of sales, advised managers to focus on Hays’ ‘Buy Back Guarantee and exchange rates in order to boost their profit margin.

And Liane Young, foreign exchange national sales manager, suggested asking clients about their holiday plans to make the most of currency sales.

“Are we engaging with travel money customers or just taking orders? Do we build excitement by asking them where they are going and what their plans are; make suggestions to take a bit more money,” she commented.

Louise Winter, ancillaries business development manager, said the chain had “come a long way” this year in sales of insurance, car hire and other add-ons.

She cited research showing that 82% of customers on overseas holidays will book an excursion so the challenge is to encourage them to book in advance with the branch.

Winter also noted how younger holidaymakers are starting to book experiences before they travel.

“Seven out of 10 plan tours and attractions at the time they make their travel arrangements,” she said.

“We need to engage with these customers at the booking stage and throughout the customer journey.”

• Maria Tokely, Mastercard account director for Hays, unveiled the top performing and most improved branches for sales of the Hays Travel Mastercard.

She also gave the top prizes of a holiday to Thailand, Hong Kong or Singapore to two agents: Catriona Good, manager at Leeds White Rose [Outstanding Contribution], and Natalie Lowcock, Colne manager [Most Improved].

Agents also played a game of ‘Play Your Cards Right’ which saw Colin Burns, manager at Washington, win a Dyson Air Wrap.

Six hundred delegates are at the Tivoli Marina Vilamoura hotel in the Algarve (pictured) for the annual retail conference.

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