What is a profile sheet?
The profile sheet is one of the core pieces of collateral you’ll need when promoting your product to tour operators.
The profile sheet is a single 8.5 x 11” two-sided document that you will use to pique operator interest in your product. In the event that your profile sheet will be used at an industry trade show, it may also need to be three-hole punched to fit in the operator binder.
Other names for a profile sheet: one sheet, basic flyer, retail sheet
What are operators looking for?
When an operator first hears about a new product, they are focused on the following questions.
- How would this product fit into itineraries I’m already selling or those I plan to suggest for the coming season?
- Would this product provide an experience that my customers would enjoy?
- How would I describe this product to my customers?
- What would this product cost, are there any incentives or stipulations I should be aware of before I book?
- How would I book this product if I do need it?
Profile Sheet Core Components
- Striking image on the front; 2-3 supporting images for the reverse
- Brand image (logo)
- Concise descriptive text
- Rate information
- Added value or special features
- Contact Information
Choose The Right Images
The images you choose are as important as the text you use to describe your product. Here are a few helpful tips when deciding which images to use on your profile sheet.
- Photos should be clear (at least 300 dpi)
- Photos should represent the guest experience with your product.
- Photo Tips/Examples:
- An image of an empty gallery is not as engaging as photo that shows visitors appreciating a work of art.
- Guests enjoying a hot breakfast shows the guest experience better than a photo of a plate of eggs.
- Savory food photos may make the operator want to sample the food whereas a photo of an empty dining room is uninspiring.
- Cityscapes are wonderful as long as they show a human element. Avoid images of empty streets.
- If you’re promoting an outdoor product, be sure to capture a moment when the weather is most cooperative.
- When possible, add captions so that operators can imagine how they’d create a similar memorable moment for their guests.
- Map – the map should show where your venue(s) are in relation to the major highways servicing your area and other regional products they may include on an itinerary. More map tips…
- Most operators are familiar with tier 1 destinations like New York, Orlando, Washington DC, LA, Toronto, Boston, etc. In these areas your map should be somewhat localized, showing the proximity of your product to other neighboring products an operator may include in their itineraries.
- For suppliers and destinations outside of the biggest metropolitan areas, operators will be looking at your map to see how they’d get to you, how you may be en route to an area they already service and their driving time from base markets. In this case, your map should show cities and major highways within a 100-200 mile radius.
The text you offer should help an operator envision your product as part of their itineraries. Here are the 5 basic questions and a few tips when writing each….
1. What is your product/service?
Define your product in terms of the visitor. How will visitors use your product to enhance their travel experience? A great starting point would be to complete this sentence, “At xyz, we invite your visitors to _____.”
2. What makes your product/service a memorable experience for guests?
What is unique about your product? What do you offer that no one else can? What do you do better than your competition?
Be sure to explain what your product does, not just a list of what you have.
3. Are there any special inclusive offers, activities, events or exhibitions that could enhance the guest experience?
Attractions should note the highlights of their permanent collection and information about exhibits/activities that may be scheduled for the upcoming 1-2 years. Do you offer a guided tour?
When an operator chooses to visit, will their guests experience any priority benefits, added value or personalized experience? If so, what are those perks?
What languages are you able to service?
If your product is located near other popular tour options, note their proximity. Ex: Our hotel is close to xyz attractions and popular restaurants like ___.
4. How much would this product cost and what might be some of the incentives/stipulations I need to know if I choose to include it?
Be sure to note both your retail and your operator rate or commission offer. This will help operators better visualize the value you are presenting.
Note your comp policy, group minimum and general deposit/cancellation guidelines.
Keep policy information basic (Ex: Reservations required.) This will encourage operators to call for more information.
5. How can I book it?
List your contact details and keep it professional. You're not a real estate agent, nor are you posing for glamour shots. Unless you're including a photo of your "helpful" team, try to avoid photos of staff members on your collateral.
For organizations that tend to have a higher turnover rate and those with multiple staff members who are able to service the operator, be sure to use a generic email address and dedicated telephone line or extension. Ex: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call to Action
Here are some of the most successful call to action items we’ve seen recently…
- Call today for exclusive operator rates.
- Free gift for each guest with advanced reservation.
- Free coupon book worth $xyz for each guest
- Book by xx/xx/xx and receive a gift card. Hint: Operators prefer cash value cards as opposed to cards that can be used at only one merchant that may not serve their area)
- TRADE members save $xx, call for details. Use the name of the association through which you’ve met the operator
Final Check List
- Tell your graphic designer to deliver two finished versions of your profile sheet:
- Print ready file with a minimum .1” bleed and crop marks
- Web ready file in PDF format that you can email to interested operators
- Have you left space on the front left & rear right sides of your profile sheet so that the three hole punch does not cut off any important text?
- Have you included your contact information?
- Does your sheet include your website, address and logo?
- Will your profile sheet inspire a conversation between you & the buyer?
- Is your profile sheet clean, attractive and uncluttered while delivering compelling, relevant information to the buyer?
- Is your font easy to read? Are your images clear & crisp?
- Have you had it reviewed by a seasoned travel & tourism professional?
- Participants in Fire Starter Brands’ quarterly direct mail program qualify for complimentary insert review and receive a collection of great examples. Call 646.736.1305 now for more information on how you can receive free expert feedback while sharing your message with the 700 highest volume tour operators in North America.