An online lead-generation platform giving independent agents a national audience will go live this month.
Professional Travel Advisors (PTA) has been set up by former agent Tony Godley, who now runs hotel marketing company Godley Read Consultancy.
PTA is aimed at independent agents lacking the funds for internet marketing.
Godley said he had spoken to many agents “just doing the same old thing” in the hope they could stay in business until they retire.
“I was thinking there must be something we can do to give them more of an online presence,” Godley said.
He stressed PTA also tackled another issue for agents. “We researched 50 millennials – not one knew what a travel agent did. I’ve asked hundreds of agents how many clients they have under 40. The answer is usually none, or a couple sent by their parents to sort an issue for them.”
Godley said agents had to move to being advisors using tools like PTA. “We’ll give them [agents] reasons to do the package themselves,” he said. “If agents aren’t going to become obsolete, they need to engage with millennials.
“This will generate new business now, as well as safeguard the future of the independent.”
PTA concentrates marketing efforts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. “We put a lot of blogs out. When you click on them, you find yourself on our site,” explained Godley.
There are three levels of membership costing £299, £499 or £999. Key differences between levels include the number of destinations and search terms that can be specified. Videos, blogs and reviews can also be uploaded.
PTA already has 13 agents signed up, and Godley added he was aiming to get around half of UK and Ireland independents onboard.