Written By: Joanie Ogg CTC, MCC, Co-founder and Editor – Travel Professional NEWS®
Branding is not just for big companies like Starbucks, Apple and other mega companies. Your personal brand as a travel professional is you, what you stand for and the values you stand for and express. This article is going to focus on the one-person travel business and why and how important it is to communicate your value to your clients and prospective clients.
Your personal brand is almost like your personal story. It should highlight your strengths and build trust in your abilities and credibility for your travel knowledge and expertise. You want to communicate a unique identity and a clear value to your customers and potential customers.
So how do you develop or and build your personal brand? It sounds easy enough, but it does take some soul searching and introspective thought to reflect your personal and professional abilities the best you can. Here are some tips to help you secure and solicit your unique and personal brand as a travel professional.
Who are you?
Now that is a loaded question for most of us. Where do we even start to answer such a complex question? It really only requires that you ask yourself some basic questions and this will help you to uncover the real you.
- What are you passionate about?
- What are your best attributes and personality traits?
- What are my strengths?
- What are my weaknesses?
- When other people compliment you, what characteristics to they talk about?
- What parts of your business do you just love to spend hours and hours doing with little or no effort?
- What parts of your business do you really dislike doing and find drain your energy?
If we look deeply at ourselves we can usually answer these pretty easily. It just takes some introspection and being very honest with ourselves without passing judgement on our possible shortcomings. If you have trouble with some of these, just ask your family and friends how they might best describe you.
It is important to remember that your brand can also change over time and as your business grows and evolves. Start out with the areas you would really like to focus upon and try to be as specific as possible so that you are not going in too many different directions.
Who will be your target audience?
It is important to figure out well in advance of crafting your personal brand who you are trying to reach as a customer type. Will you be focusing on selling travel to seniors, millennials, families, adventure seekers, yoga enthusiasts? Knowing your audience will help you design your brand and story around who they are and what they will be looking for in you, their travel designer.
Who are your peers and mentors?
People are typically very genuine and generous to share their stories and successes. In travel you have the opportunity to get face to face with fellow travel professionals, colleagues, suppliers, educators and industry leaders who can help you see the industry from their perspective and help you better craft your brand. The more knowledge and information you can garner, the better prepared you are to really know what you want your branding to say about you. Remember that is all about your personal brand.
What is your elevator pitch?
This is honestly one of the most important things you have to do and yet it I can be one of the most challenging things to accomplish. It needs to be a 30 to 60 second story about who you are. Who you are is your branding so this has to be not only very succinct but powerful.
Keep it brief and hon in on the key points that you should emphasize about you. Your elevator pitch needs to frame your attributes concisely and with passion. Oh, and remember that sharing your pitch should be fun for you. If you are not enthusiastic about your statement, then your passion for your personal brand will not shine through. So have fun with it and share your enthusiasm in a short and concise way that shouts you.
Your successful personal brand creates a consistent, targeted impression that helps you achieve your personal and professional goals. It lets you live authentically because your brand is honest; it’s you and you cannot fake your way into being a brand other then your personal brand! If you are the face of your travel business, then building your personal brand is one of the most important steps you can take to your success.