Remember the days when you used to call a travel agent to book that annual family vacation, your business trips or just a quick get-away? Your favorite travel agent knew you, your preferences and would even call you with that occasional “great deal.”
Where is that travel agent today? Well, the traditional travel agent is an almost extinct species. Between 1996 and 2006, travel agents saw commissions from air travel, their historical “cash cow”, all but disappear; going from 61% of their revenue to 7% of their revenue . Why? The Internet and do-it-yourself websites such as Travelocity.com and many other similar sites. Travel agents that didn’t adapt went out of business. By the way, that agent that called you with the special offer or got you the seat in the exit row is still in business.
Today, with the increasing number of online insurance quoting and information sites, insurance agents are about to fight the same battle for survival that travel agents faced – and lost – 10 years ago. Fortunately, insurance agents still have time to reach out to their customers and buyers to avoid the same plight that awaited the travel agent. However, between regulatory changes, government mandates and, most important, buyers that want to handle more of their interactions online, insurance agents have a relatively small window to proactively establish their online presence.
We know customers of all ages are online – buying, researching, banking and networking. We also know that the ‘silver tsunami’ – the massive wave of boomers retiring within the next ten years – is becoming more comfortable conducting more of their activities online. If insurance agents don’t adapt quickly, they will lose a major opportunity – communicating with customers and prospects online. Why is this so important? Because trending research shows that buyers are going online to validate with whom they’re doing business. As a result, if an insurance agent doesn’t have a high-quality website, there is a good chance they will also lose the customer.
One of the best solutions for independent insurance agents, small agencies and insurance brokers is a website-building platform that allows you to build, launch, and customize a professional website in minutes. The advantage of such a platform is that the agent doesn’t have to have any technical expertise and can begin to direct customers and prospects to his or her website right away.
Agents that don’t have a solid Internet strategy in place today are at risk of losing their customers in the near future. Simply putting your logo on a quoting engine is not enough. Having a high quality website is a critical piece of the toolkit that agents need to succeed.
By John Vaughan