No doubt, you have a local coffee shop that you absolutely love and that serves better coffee than Starbucks; and I know, friends don’t let friends drink Starbucks. I get it. Starbucks is a mega-chain, an 800-pound gorilla masquerading as a quaint neighborhood establishment. There is a lot of truth in that, except for one thing: Starbucks manages to be both a national chain and yet, at the same time, very local. Read the rest of this entry »
If you have been reading The 365 Guide for any length of time, you know that I feel the concept of a Mission Statement is important for a travel agent to understand and employ. A mission statement is a clear and succinct statement of the aspirations of a travel agent as those aspirations relate to clients. Underneath the mission statement is a set of core values that are important to the agent. The moral and ethical underpinnings of the agent, their way of relating to clients, their expectations of performance are all encapsulated in a single statement. It’s a statement to the world of the principles for which the travel agent stands. Below, you will find tools to help you build your own. Bonus -it will be the foundation for your 2014 marketing plan.
Reason # 4: To be really effective, marketing needs to have two important qualities, consistency and constancy. In short, you must always deliver the same message to your clients in every encounter they have with you and you must deliver that message with enough frequency to remain top-of-mind. Without the quality of consistency, your clients will be confused with regard to your identity and ethic. Without constancy, they won’t hear your message often enough to develop an association with your brand each time they think of traveling.
Clients want to know what you and your travel practice stands for as a matter of company ethic and values. We tell ourselves we are consistent, that we always deliver the same message to the market. But do we really? For example, if your website indicates that your travel practice is all about the quality of each individual travel experience and the premium you place on value, but each of your tweets on Twitter is about travel specials, Read the rest of this entry »
“Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.”
~ Thomas Paine
You know what your company stands for, what ethic you live by and the manner in which you deal with your clients. You have spent time building a business persona, crafting the image you want your company to project. You have invested vast, precious resources developing your logo, your sales collateral and training your business associates on client relationships. You are all dressed up with somewhere to go.
Then, someone posts a negative review of your business online. Suddenly, online searches of your company name generate the negative review as a top result. What are your options and how can you counter the adverse publicity? Read the rest of this entry »
Consumers look for authentic products and services that deliver on promises. It really is that simple. Except travel professionals sometimes promise the wrong things. They promise the lowest prices. They promise hassle-free travel. They promise across the board expertise. Sometimes the promises are implicit rather than explicit, but the travel agency either intentionally or by omission sets the expectations of the client. To the extent that those promises are met, the client is happy and the agency’s brand is secure. When the travel agency makes the wrong promises, however, reality falls short of expectations and problems ensue. The client does not perceive the travel agent as authentically representing their services. Read the rest of this entry »
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. Read the rest of this entry »
Travel agents can surround themselves with all of the accoutrements of a travel planning practice, with plenty of supplier product and subscriptions to periodicals, memberships in consortia and posters on the wall. But unless a travel consultant also develops a solid sense of their own brand, they will forever struggle to market themselves appropriately.
Every travel agent needs a unique selling point (USP) that differentiates them from the competition. The unique selling point may be the agent’s familiarity with a destination or a theme, it could be the agents’ contacts, tenacity, enthusiasm or passion. The travel agent’s USP might be some business practice that in some way ensures the success of their travel planning activities for clients. Read the rest of this entry »
Let’s state definitively we are all the owners of our own brand, our own “company” called “me, myself and I”. This was the insight of Tom Peter’s famous 1997 article “The Brand Called You.” The success of social media platforms like Linkedin was largely presaged by the notion of the individual as a brand. With that in mind, we need to consider how we promote and monitor our individual brands. Read the rest of this entry »
The list of qualities that makes Google a unique company would be a long one indeed. Like the other companies we have examined this week, Google is an organization that views itself as a citizen of a larger world. It’s mission statement (To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful) is styled in terms of its impact on its users. Google is ranked #4 by Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. It’s products are excellent, innovative and visionary.
Globally, Google’s revenues are over 22 billion each year. What can a travel agency learn from a company of such mammoth proportions? A lot. Google’s corporate philosophy is summed up on its Ten Things Page. Below are a few of those Ten Things with considerations for your travel practice. Read the rest of this entry »