Well over three years ago, TRO identified having a niche component to your business plan as being one of the characteristics of top travel agents. But, the concept of niche marketing is often misunderstood. Niche marketing is a way of helping you focus on locating new clients, not a set of restrictions on your business offerings. Niche Marketing is not necessarily about gearing your entire business to a particular type of travel. It is about segmenting your marketing efforts to focus on particular groups of people, however.
Niche marketing refers to the process of focusing a marketing effort on a particular theme or destination. Many travel consultants avoid it as a concept out of fear of having to turn away business outside the chosen niche, or being too closely identified with the niche. Properly executed however, niche marketing is a terrific way of locating and marketing to a group of potential clients in a highly effective and cost efficient manner.
One great advantage of a niche market is the way in which it helps you locate potential clients. When you are marketing general travel, everyone is your potential market and you lack focus. When your market is “adventure travelers”, however, you know where to find them. When your market is “golfers”, you know where to find them. Once you have located your market, it is much less costly to reach out to them as opposed to using much less efficient “shotgun” approaches. As you learn more about your niche, you will better understand the people involved, their preferences and their needs.
When you focus on a niche, you very quickly become an expert. You will be able to speak with authority on your topic and marketing will be a matter of speaking directly to those who share an affinity for your niche. As an expert in a niche, your ability to generate referrals and word of mouth advertising will be amplified as those who have used you in the past tell others interested in similar travel experiences. You will also develop deeper and richer relationships with the suppliers that you use as they come to understand your devotion to their area of business.
The lesson of effective niche marketing is this: It is important to be clear about the market you are addressing and to address that market clearly. This might require you to have one marketing brochure or presentation for adventure travel and another for senior escorted tours and yet another for golf travel. You do not have to devote your practice exclusively to any of these niches, but you can devote some of your marketing tactics to the niche. Then, choose the appropriate marketing tools and pitch for the market you are addressing.
Exercise – Choose a niche market for which you have some affinity. Decide to devote some major portion of your time developing your niche as a specialty in your travel practice. Set up a FAM trip or visit to the destination if possible. Next, study the suppliers for your niche destination or theme. Set Choose several to decide on the best ones to work with on your project. If you need assistance, use the TRO Community to ask other agents for suggestions on good suppliers with which to work.
Open a file to aggregate information. Spend some time on the internet studying the marketing of others in similar niches. What are their unique selling points? What elements seem essential? What is missing from their marketing?
Finally, spend some time figuring out the demographic of your selected niche. Where do the people who are in that niche market congregate? How can you best reach them? What will be your best approach to the market? Chances are, you will quickly realize that not far out of your reach is a group of potential clients just waiting for you to grace them with your presence.