Brutal honesty in the travel industry

Posted on September 2nd, 2013 by in Editorial Musings

Often, brutal honesty is bad. Most people ask for opinions to reaffirm their own thoughts . But, sometimes brutal honesty is just what is needed. President Obama needs someone with brutal honesty to advise him. The Chairman of any major corporation also needs someone like that as well. And yes, even the small town travel agent can use a dose of brutal honesty now and then. Last week a colleague asked my opinion on some wording for a website revision. I read it. I cringed. Then I let him have it with…you guessed it, brutal honesty.

Here was the proposed improvement.

We are a full service travel agency with a focus on customer service while providing personal and professional travel planning. We will find the best trip or vacation for you and we are ready to take care of all of your travel planning needs.

What makes us different from the others?

• We are available! You can contact our office by phone, email or text message.

• If desired, we can come to your home or meet you at the local coffee shop, or you can come to our office.

• We are focused on your satisfaction!

Contact us today for all of your travel planning needs!

Honestly, what in the above excerpt gives me any reason to do business with them.  The only positive thing is that “lowest price” was never mentioned.

Full service—what does that mean to the consumer? Air, car, hotel? Or does it include, private sightseeing, dinner reservations, theater tickets, and dog walking while you are away? Get the drift?

We are different—phones, email accounts, and cell phones are modern technologies that every agency has—this certainly does not set you apart. The fact that you are able to meet on your turf, their turf, or neutral turf only includes your agency with every home based agency in operation. What does “focused on your satisfaction” mean? I think this is a goal that every business has—not so unique. In fact you are no different.

To survive today, it is essential to set yourself apart from the crowd. You don’t sell vacations, you create memories or experiences. You need to be available to your clients on whatever platform they prefer. You don’t want satisfied customers, you want wowed customers!  Focus on the value you bring to your client’s experience which could include dollars, experiences, services, and more.

Here is a challenge for you. Take a very critical look at your website or brochures and see if they really define who and what you are—I did and I have already made some corrections. What does your collateral look like? Will it wow your prospects? Will it make them pick up the phone or mouse and get in touch with you?  If not, you have some work to do!

 

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