Thinking of setting up a marketing department in your agency? Your Travel’s John Stephenson talks to Abra Dunsby about taking the plunge and his hopes for the venture
Maidstone-based travel agency Your Travel is putting marketing at the forefront this year, so much so that it has set up its own marketing department.
It will be headed up by employee Jade Scammells, who has been promoted from junior account manager to digital marketing manager.
“Jade will concentrate on social media, Google and Facebook advertising and video,” says agency managing director John Stephenson.
At 24, Scammells is the youngest member of the team, which Stephenson says puts her at a huge advantage.
“Young people know lots about social media as they use it so often. Jade is a creative person and has many ideas when it comes to creating content and thinking outside the box. She’s also very organised and is great at scheduling social media posts.”
Scammells studied art and design for A-level, and previously ran her own business creating paper wedding flowers.
“I really had to market that idea to get it off the ground, so that’s where my experience comes from,” she explains.
If the department proves successful, Global Travel Group member Your Travel hopes to further tap into the creativity of the younger generation by taking on apprentices.
“We’ll be looking into schemes and what the government can offer,” says Stephenson. “The plan is to grow the marketing team and have at least three people on board by the end of 2019.”
Stephenson explains that a major motivation behind the creation of the marketing department is to learn: “As a business owner, you can end up just Googling stuff when you’re short of time. Having a marketing department and a digital focus is about forming our own opinions and finding out how to do things ourselves.”
Stephenson has also signed Scamells up to a number of different courses to boost her marketing knowledge.
“They’re mainly practical or technical courses as we want to invest in our own experience rather than learning from someone else’s,” affirms Stephenson.
Scammells has plenty of marketing ideas, from creating infographics for social media to writing blog posts. “At the beginning there’ll be a lot of trial and error and experimenting with new things,” she says.
One area of focus is video: “Jade recently came up with a great idea which she sketched on paper. Then she got in touch with an animator and we turned her drawings and script into an explainer clip,” says Stephenson.
The video has been promoted on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Your Travel’s website. It explains the agency’s concept – corporate travel with a concierge style service – in a fun, creative way.
“We’ve had great feedback on it,” says Scammells. “We hope to also promote it on our homepage and via Facebook advertising.”
Additional video content is also in the pipeline, with Scammells set to hire out a studio to create a series of explainer videos featuring Your Travel staff, which will be posted on its website.
“Each person will explain the small details we offer that potential clients might not understand, such as airport codes, flexible tickets and lounge access.”
Stephenson says the main challenge will be budgeting and keeping advertising spending down: “We could spend £25,000 this year but really learn from it, making us rich in experience. Hopefully it means we won’t have to spend as much the following year, either.”
His advice for other travel agents looking to take his lead is to find the right team.
“Find a Jade,” he says. “If you have the right person who’s passionate and wants success, you’re in a good position. Don’t get pulled in by companies offering tech that doesn’t work. Ultimately with the right minds and plenty of planning, you can monitor marketing activity and make it work yourself.”