How to Find Your New Passion
The travel industry is currently experiencing a giant reboot. And, just like a reboot of a cell phone or laptop, this process often results in more clarity and efficiency.
While rebooting your business—maybe even reinventing it—you may have found your previous focus will not satisfy you going forward. And, if you are new to the industry or are a seasoned agent considering branching out, it is important to pick a specialty area—one you are passionate about.
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 solid foundation to build from and will allow your clients to gain confidence in you.
The good news is that special interest travel is on the upswing. Current and prospective clients are finding they want to spend more time outdoors and to pursue healthier lifestyles. Or maybe, because they were forced to miss a year’s worth of vacations, they are willing to spend more money on their upcoming trips. And, of course, many honeymoon trips were postponed by necessity but are ramping up now.
Therefore, we want to help you catch up on some of the most popular specializations, so you are prepared to meet your clients’ needs. This month is Specialty Month, and, in the upcoming weeks, we will give you sneak peeks into our Golf, Luxury, Wellness, and Honeymoons and Destination Weddings courses. All of these, and dozens more, are included as a free benefit to all those travel professionals having Premium Access. If brushing up on destinations is a goal of yours, we encourage you to subscribe to the Premium Access Lounge today!
Additionally, to help you combat your clients’ tendencies to book trips through OTAs, Dana Zificsak, CTIE will share many valuable insights in Travel Agents vs. Online Booking Engines: Three Key Advantages We Have and How to Promote Them. Join Dana TOMORROW at 2:00 pm (EST) for this lively and fascinating webinar.
So, how do you explore special interest travel? You can begin by understanding some of the many benefits, including the following:
- 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 a golf specialist for the United Kingdom, potential clients will have a reason to call you for this special interest.
- 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—which travelers certainly experienced in 2020! It’s important to remember your value when promoting your travel specialty.
- 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 something worth paying for.
- 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.
- 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.
You also will want to select a specialty area, but how? It all starts with finding your passion. You 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!