As a travel agent, you’re in for the career of a lifetime, and you know it. You probably grew up dreaming of adventures, of exploring new lands, of climbing mountains, seeing sights, and just simply embracing the world. You can’t imagine life in an office building, trapped indoors from 9-5 five days a week.
Travel, freedom, and adventure literally is in your blood, which is one of the main reasons you chose to become a travel agent. Your career allows you the freedom to work from anywhere, whether that be home, a cafe, beach-side, or even off on your own adventure. It also provides a creative, world-focused outlet that lets you engage in exciting planning and dreaming of amazing trips and adventures, even when you’re just staying home.
This is why you’re here. This is why you’re determined to build a business that you can do from anywhere and that keeps you focused and enmeshed in one of the true loves of your life; travel. Nay-Sayers have said that with the advent of the internet, the industry of travel agents would slowly fade away. Yet in actuality, the abundance of technological advances have increased the capabilities of travel agents.
You’re in an exciting, rewarding profession that is continually progressing and evolving. Modern trends keep travel agents in high demand as traveling evolves and the abundance of opportunities in every destination grows. The demand, reward, and success of being a travel agent mean that there can be quite a bit of competition out there. In fact, one of the hardest parts of starting your own business as a travel agent is that it can be difficult to differentiate yourself and make your business shine highly over the others.
Personalization is the name of the game these days. Consumers want to feel a connection with the businesses that they work with and utilize. They want to feel valued and as though they are building relationships, not just spending their money.
There are a number of ways that you can step out from the competition, and make your business a force to be reckoned with, crafting a business that builds personal connection with each potential client.
Find Your Niche
You need to really step back and consider your target market and the way that you will market to and connect with them. A great way to do this is to first, think about your passions, your interests, and what your values are. Having a niche that reflects who you are as a person ensures that you will be authentic with your leads, which is something that matters greatly to consumers today.
Branding yourself with a particular niche that showcases who you are, your values, and how you can best serve clients, will put you ahead of the game. Your business will not only seem professional, but also passionate and full of honesty, which are two top values of Millennial’s, who make up the majority of traveling consumers these days.
The other thing that determining your niche does is help you to better market to and serve your target demographic. Research and learn things such as whether there is a specific type of travel agency that is most needed among your community, whether locally or online. Do you want to specialize in honeymoons, beach destinations, adventure trips, or bucket lists? Do you want to support a specific cause, country, or community with your business, and make your mission part of your branding?
The possibilities for a specific niche are endless, and will help you in your quest to stand out as a top travel agent. You simply need to focus on your passions, the needs of your community, and the values of your target market.
Another way that determining your niche and target market helps you, is in the creation of your brand. Your brand is what you are going to use to market yourself with. It is what consumers will think of when they think of you. It is basically your make it or break it creation.
While we already talked about values, passion, and mission, there are other aspects of branding that need careful consideration, such as logos, slogan, colors, fonts, and name. These are all brand identifiers, and can quickly turn potential customers away if they are not carefully thought out and crafted with the target market in mind.
Not only can they turn people away, they also have the power to draw people to you, as well as to make you an oft-recommended travel agency. Those who appreciate and connect with your logo or slogan, are sure to take the time to reach out and talk with you.
If your logo is something memorable, people will recommend you when someone is looking for a travel agency, even if they have never used you. Your memorable logo or slogan will make you the travel agency that sticks out for people, causing them to offer up your name whenever the question arises.
Build a Relationship
When a potential client reaches out to you, it’s imperative that you immediately begin working on building that connection. If they don’t feel connected to you pretty quickly, they’ll likely move on and work with someone else.
Some simple ways that you can begin to connect with leads is to just open conversation and start talking with them. Ask them about their lives, their passions, where they’ve traveled before, where they would like to go, what they would like to experience. Utilize the tool of active listening to let your potential client know that you are paying attention to them and that you care about what they have to say.
Listen to them and respond accordingly. Make sure that the questions you ask are able to spark conversation and won’t just let leads answer with one word. Standing out in business is built on connection, connection creates relationship, and relationship consists of open and honest conversations. That means that if you’re going to convert your leads to clients, you need to connect with them by means of conversation.
The other benefit of connecting through a personal Q and A session is that every answer your potential client gives you is helping you to be able to craft their perfect, personal dream trip for them. You will be able to narrow down specific options and tailor your suggestions uniquely based on their answers. This will ensure that the trip you plan for them is exactly what they would want.
Make Your Clients Feel Special
Even once you’ve converted leads and you’re planning trips, you should continue to pursue connection and make yourself a travel agent that stands out by always seeking the best for your clients. That might mean adding a little something special into their trip or making sure they have the best of everything. Little details like upgrades, VIP-seating, or even specialty knickknacks and souvenirs, can mean the world to your clients and help them to continue to feel that special connection with you.
Remember, you certainly don’t build a business by serving a client once and then being done with them. Your goal is customer retention, as well as customer referral. The way to get that is to continue to connect, build relationship, and legit spoil your customers rotten. Make them feel special. Make them feel like they’re one-of-a-kind.
Your customers will be so amazed at the top-notch, specialized service that you gave them, they’ll get home from their trip and call you up to start planning the next one. Who wouldn’t want to make a friend, take a dream trip, and be spoiled beyond measure?
It’s the little things that matter, so fill your clients up with special little thing after little thing. Go the extra mile for your clients and they’ll come right back, with a whole bunch of new potential clients in tow. It’s a win-win situation.
You can make yourself stand out easily, bringing you visibility, clients, and success. Just focus on being authentic, making connections, and treating your customers with a bunch of special little details.