Contributed By; The Travel Institute
There is a great trend towards specialization in the industry. If you are new to the industry or are considering branching out, it is important to pick a specialty area — one that you are passionate about! The Travel Institute has lots of tips on specializing. The following are from our Certified Travel Associate (CTA) program:
It’s a big world, and you don’t want to be a jack of all trades, master of none. When you try to generalize, the whole world is your potential market. Aiming to please the whole world is not reasonable or practical, or even very fun! Focusing on a specialty or two will give you a great foundation to build from and it will allow for your clients’ to gain confidence in you.
And the good news is that special interest travel is on the upswing. There are people who enjoy all things Disney or love Harry Potter. Others collect coins, love to golf or enjoy haunted castles. More and more people are gravitating to the experts who have intimate knowledge, experience, and passion in those areas.
There are many benefits to choosing a specialty, including the following:
1. Special interest travel creates identity in the marketplace. When you specialize, you give clients reason to pick your agency out of a crowd. For example, if you promote yourself and are known as an Australian golf specialist, potential clients will have a reason to call you for this special interest.
2. Special interest travel is a value-added product. The unique features or services you provide give you a competitive edge. This puts you in contrast to mass-market programs in which volume counts, and the competition is intense. Suddenly, you’re not competing on price but on service and product, and you can attract travelers willing to pay more for that added value. Note that most travel products are available anywhere, but you provide a unique service that makes you irreplaceable. Your value lies in offering what the customer lacks: expertise, support, your network, clout, and assistance if something goes wrong. It’s important to remember your value when promoting your luxury travel specialty.
3. Clients will appreciate your specialized knowledge. Clients for special interest travel will be looking for a trip with features not found elsewhere and will count on you to know a destination or the special interest well. Clients see this special knowledge as worth paying for.
4. Special interest travel generates client loyalty. Clients looking for the lowest price have little loyalty to agencies. But those looking for a special interest feature on their trips may be more likely to return because the agent possesses proven knowledge, service, and product in a niche that is not commonly served.
5. Special interest travel may be easier to promote. Not only will it be easier to target clients with special interest travel, but it will be easier to get the attention of travel editors and the media with unique travel products not in the mainstream.
So, how do you select a specialty area? It all starts with finding your passion. You can get ideas by looking through your client database to see what kinds of trips you already have designed. You may have been booking clients for destinations or activities that you enjoy and in which you have experience. You also can narrow down the options by filling out The Travel Institute’s Find Your Passion Worksheet.
Remember that the word “specialize” has the word “special” in it. So, be special! Be unique! Be YOU!