Today I have the absolute pleasure of speaking with Brianna Glenn of Milk + Honey, a boutique travel planning agency based in California that specialises in completely customised trips. As you’ll hear in the episode, I originally learned about Milk + Honey on Instagram. A friend of mine shared her experience of traveling with them and I was blown away by the personal touches and attention to detail. I reached out to Brianna right away and was thrilled when she agreed to chat to me.
This episode is jam packed with tips on digital marketing as a travel brand. Brianna is an absolute hive mind of knowledge on everything related to personal branding and social media. If you want to hear her strategies for finding clients through Instagram and attracting her ideal customer avatar, then you won’t want to miss it.
After 10 years traveling the world as a professional athlete, Brianna decided it was time for a change. So, she asked herself an important question: “What do I do already that I love and how can I make it a business?” Thus, Milk & Honey was born — a boutique travel agency that combines Brianna’s passion for planning with her decade of globetrotting experience.
However, don’t think of Milk & Honey as your run-of-the-mill, traditional travel agency. Brianna doesn’t sell pre-packaged trips or work with big chain suppliers. Instead, she specialises in completely custuomised vacations that are designed with each individual client in mind. “I love creating personalised itineraries and trips that focus not necessarily on what TripAdvisor says are the 5 best things to do in a destination, but the things that really light you up.”
In order to deliver the ideal itinerary for each of her customers, Brianna get to know them through an extensive consultation process: “It’s about understanding people first, and then pulling out who they are and what they are looking for.” The result is a perfectly curated vacation that she describes as existing “where luxury meets authenticity.”
Importance of Personal Branding
In the early days of Milk & Honey, Brianna focused primarily on building her brand. “When you’re building a business from nothing, nobody knows who you are, what you do, or how you help them,” she explains.
Therefore, she felt that it was super important to develop a clear brand identity to attract her ideal clients and repel those who weren’t a good fit. “I wanted people to know: this is who it’s for, and this is who it’s not for,” Brianna says.
She knew from the beginning that she could never compete with the brand identities of big corporations like Condé Nast or Travel & Leisure, so she focused on sharing what was unique about Milk & Honey — herself. Brianna explains, “I intentionally create a more personal brand experience online and through my Instagram account because then people do feel like they know me and they can decide for themselves if we’re a good fit.”
Playing the long game on social media
Many of Brianna’s clients discover her through Instagram. Her beautifully curated profile does an excellent job of showcasing her personality, as well as the types of trips she plans.
However, she is very quick to acknowledge that this didn’t happen overnight and that winning at social media is all about playing the long game. “I have people who have followed me for 3 or 4 years before they ever reach out,” she admits.
But for Brianna, that’s all part of the strategy. “Sooner or later, all of that work does pay off and you do get to see the ROI with the time spent on it.”
Creating ‘Mini Marketers’
In addition to clients booking trips directly with her on Instagram, Brianna points out 2 other indirect ways that the social media platform brings in business for her.
The first is through what she refers to as ‘mini marketers’. These are people that have never booked your services, but follow you on Instagram and love your brand. So much so, that when their coworker or friend who doesn’t follow you says they are planning a trip, these mini marketers will refer them to you. Brianna explains, “they can vouch for you to people you may not be contact with yourself.”
Another indirect way Instagram brings in business is through people who follow her for other reasons, but are constantly reminded of the services she offers because of the frequency in which posts. These might be old friends from college or a colleague or a new friend you made in line at the supermarket.
In any case, they are people that don’t follow you because you are a travel advisor. However, the more often you post, the most often they are reminded of your business and therefore the more likely they are to get in touch if they ever did need a travel planner.
More from this episode
How has she managed to scale her business in the last 5 years? What questions does she ask to get to know her clients during the consultation process? How has she pivoted during covid? Tune in to learn more from Brianna Glenn!