Five Ways to Build Your Brand 

We are starting to see positive signs indicating that travel and tourism are on the road to recovery. And there still is time to rejuvenate your agency and be well equipped to go back to doing what you love to do: designing trips of a lifetime for your clients.

A good thing to focus on right now is the image you present to the world and how that image reflects your uniqueness. The key to that is your brand.

An important aspect of your uniqueness is your education and training, and there is no better way to hone your skills than becoming certified. And now is the perfect time to upgrade your skills because, once again, The Travel Institute’s 7th Annual 50% Scholarship Program is providing the opportunity for agents to use scholarship funds to bolster their skills.

To apply, you must complete The Travel Institute’s scholarship application formavailable through July 31st. 

To get you thinking about how to enhance your brand, we wanted to share an article written by one of our amazing grads, Gwen Kuebler, CTC, who says there are five ways to build your brand.

Here’s what Gwen has to say:

Differentiating yourself from the competition is vital in a marketplace where there are many choices. What does it take to pull you out ahead of the pack?

1. Analyze your clients’ needs. Determine what it takes to meet those needs. Write them down and articulate them to yourself and to your staff. Post constant reminders of their importance. Build your business around the fulfillment of client needs.

2. Model your core attributes. Even if you aren’t the owner—or even the manager—of a business, you need personal attributes that set you apart from others. Is it your follow-through? Your timely and accurate communication? Your attention to detail? The solutions you provide for clients? These become your signature brand—qualities that differentiate you from everyone else.

3. Use stories to reinforce your brand. In the travel agency business, we’ve worked on New Year’s Day to get humanitarian workers overseas for tsunami relief efforts. And, certainly, every one of you has been a superhero in the past few months by helping clients return home, handling cancelations and rebookings, and so much more. Your stories need not be dramatic; every business delivers some type of extraordinary service that becomes folklore in the company. Did you rescue a client at the eleventh hour? Did you solve a particularly difficult problem? Render incredibly wonderful service? Build your unique brand by telling these stories to your clients and prospects! Providing employee names and dates gives your stories even more credibility.

4. Be a partner not a peddler. Do your clients perceive you are consistently looking out for their best interests? Or do they think you are just eager to sell them something? Research their businesses and take a genuine interest in your clients. Come up with ways to assist them with their company goals and mission. Without becoming intrusive, take a personal interest in their lives. If a business contact has a favorite hobby, send him news articles he may find interesting. One of our clients loves railroads. When I saw an article about the Baltimore railroad museum, I sent him the clipping. He was impressed!

5. Develop your own brand. Coca Cola. Ritz Carlton, Nordstrom—What do you think of when you see those names? Immediate recognition. Predictable quality. Great reputation. What do your clients think of when they hear your company name—or more particularly, YOUR name? Do they think…

  • responsive
  • thorough
  • problem-solving
  • reliable
  • trustworthy
  • professional
  • knowledgeable
  • friendly
  • expert source
  • or whatever attributes for which you and your company should be known.

Conversely, what can harm your brand?

  • over-promising and under-delivering
  • breaking a promise
  • not following through
  • failing to acknowledge and apologize for a lapse

Significant lapses in service or delivery, although not irreversible, can damage your company or personal brand. So be vigilant!

Get ready to build your brand! How does your ideal client feel about you? This is the starting point to:

  • determine your most important core attributes
  • live your core attributes and model them for your clients, your staff, yourself
  • articulate those attributes through compelling stories