One of the most important aspects of a SWOT analysis for travel agencies is very simply the act of planning: the analysis makes you take a good look at your positioning in the market. Your Strengths are those aspects of your business profile that give you a distinct market advantage and upon which you can capitalize in your marketing plan. The category of Strengths goes to those qualities internal to your travel practice, not to external factors like the economy.
Pull together into a list those qualities which are unique to your travel practice as well as those which you might share with your competitors. Strengths build upon one another and a set of qualities in combination may contribute more than a similar set with a key element missing or in differing proportions. Begin with your unique selling point: why do clients turn to you as opposed to your competition? What is unique about your agency? What qualities set you apart? Perhaps it is your niche in the market place. Perhaps it is the personality of your agents. Your strength may be in your legacy – the reputation you have built over the years. Treat your SWOT analysis as a brainstorming session. Participants should feel free to name any quality that resonates as a strength.
Each component of the SWOT analysis bears a relationship to the others. Each of your strengths will give rise to opportunities or the capacity to exploit an opportunity. Likewise, your strengths allow your travel practice to better confront the threats on the horizon or compensate for weaknesses.
Be candid and honest in your assessment. Only list those qualities that are true strengths. For example, listing your “website” as a strength is only valid if indeed it is a real asset to your business. A poorly constructed or conceived website could in reality be a weakness, projecting a poor image and costing you business.
Here is a sample listing of possible strengths for a travel agency:
- Niche destination knowledge of Africa
- Over 100 countries visited by combined agents
- Excellent supplier relationships
- Strong consortia membership
- Reputation in marketplace is strong
- Well placed in community civic organizations
- Good press contacts
- Adequate financial resources
- Good location
- Excellent customer list
- Destination Specialist designations
Note that this is a list of features of the agency. A good additional exercise with this list is to translate each feature in a list of benefits – what does each strength mean to clients? In fact, that will be a key exercise when we look at the company’s opportunities. But first, we must do an good job at assessing the less pleasant aspect of the travel agency’s weaknesses.
Tomorrow – Analyzing your weaknesses