Authentic Marketing for Travel Agents – Who are You? Why are you Here?
Why are you a travel counselor? Can you provide a short, succinct answer to that question? It is almost a trick question, because if the answer is about your love of travel, your passion for travel, the many places you have been, then we are probably on the wrong track. Your love and passion for travel are certainly important reasons for being in the travel industry, but those qualities don’t speak to why you chose to assist others in their travel ambitions. The more clearly that you can define your core mission, the values you represent as they relate to your clients, the easier the task of representing your travel practice authentically. Your mission is the touchstone for all of your client communications and corporatedecision making – its value cannot be overstated.
Is there something that makes it different from all other travel consultants? Is there any quality about your business that is so unique that customers would do business with you based on that one quality alone? Many times that key element, or a unique combination of elements, is at the heart of a mission statement. Fortunately, most travel agencies do indeed have a very valuable asset that distinguishes them from all other retail travel companies or online travel agencies – people. Your travel agency’s human resources are not duplicated anywhere else. Somewhere in your personnel – whether you are a 500 person agency or a one person home based business is very likely the asset that provides your agency with a unique benefit to your clients.
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You have a big story to tell. It’s the story of who you are as a travel consultant, of the company you work for, the people you work with. It’s the story of the professional resources you have at your disposal and the associations to which you belong. You tell the story in a lot of different ways, in your marketing literature, on your business cards, in your advertisements and your one-on-one encounters with clients. That story is the basis of your mission statement and will set the expectations of your clients. If you mission statement focuses on price, so will your clients. If your mission statement focuses on a particular segment of travel, perhaps a destination, disabilities or cruising, clients will come to you for that niche. A mission statement is a promise, a terrific opportunity to position yourself uniquely in the market. But a mission statement is also the benchmark by which the public will judge your performance. A disjuncture between the promises inherent in a mission statement and the results in reality will resonate poorly with your clients.
Can you state is a brief summary your company’s mission? Can you describe in a short, clear fashion what you do as a travel consultant? How your clients benefit from your services? What your unique selling point is? Can you communicate your company’s most important characteristics clearly and concisely? Can you do it without resorting to industry jargon or cliché? Spend a few moments writing your message down and improving your ability to communicate it. Read it aloud and practice it until it is a creed that you can easily and naturally repeat.
Clarity in your mission statement is the absolute requisite to authentic marketing.