What makes a travel professional successful in their travel planning practice? TRO’s research reveals 7 characteristics shared by top travel agents. Some traits are emphasized by the agents we interviewed more than others, but this distillation of common characteristics may well assist you in forming the basis of a marketing plan for your own practice.
The first characteristic of each of the top travel agents, without exception, was their passion for travel. These are people for whom travel is not a mere hobby or pastime. Travel is a major, inseparable part of their life. These agents completely identify with a love of travel. They walk, talk and breath travel. Anyone encountering them for even a short while soon learns of their travel obsession. Some have been lifelong travelers, beginning in their early childhood with parents. Others had to wait until they could finance their own journeys. In either event, their love of travel is so immediate, observable and real that it’s contagious – it informs everything they do and thus communicates immediately to their partners and clientele.
If you share a passion for travel, if you see travel as an integral part of your life, then you are well on your way to being a top travel agent. Because, of all of the characteristics we studied, only this one could not be learned – it was innate.
Let your passion for travel infuse your marketing. Encourage others to talk about travel and to join you in conversations about favorite beaches, destinations and activities. Open yourself up to the opportunities to speak about travel locally and to write about travel for your own or other’s newsletters and publications. Become known as “that travel person.” You want the association between you and travel to be so strong that when people think of you, they think of travel…and vice-versa.
Exercise – write down your top 10 destinations with a short paragraph about each destination. When did you first visit? What makes it special to you? What do you do when there? What are your best memories of being there? Write a first draft and set it aside, close at hand. Tomorrow pick it up and re-visit it again. Polish the writing. Put your logo on the top of it. You have the beginnings of a great article, presentation or marketing flyer. Make your list a piece of marketing collateral. Share it with your clients and invite them to do the same and to give you their lists. Share your passion.
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