An analysis of the weaknesses of any travel consulting business by its owner requires an extraordinary degree of both honesty and humility. It is not easy to admit where your program has weaknesses. Further, from the perspective of an insider, it is often difficult to even detect some weaknesses. For that reason, the input and constructive criticism of outsiders is an invaluable asset. It is likewise important to allow your insiders, employees and associates to openly point out deficiencies during the SWOT analysis. The customer or associate who provides constructive criticism is doing you a real favor, so be prepared to accept critical input in the spirit in which it is given!
Every travel agency has inherent weaknesses. Being too small is a weakness – there are some opportunities that cannot be taken on by a one or two person office. Being too large can be a weakness if the size of your travel agency results in slow decision making or too-rigid policies. Too few personnel, a poor location, outdated collateral can all be considered weaknesses. A lack of experience is a weakness, as is a lack of capital. Remember that in the context of a SWOT analysis, weaknesses refer to internal issues, not to externals such as a local competitor (we will address the competition under “Threats”).
With reference to the other components of your SWOT analysis, weaknesses make it harder to capitalize on Opportunities and makes the travel agency more vulnerable to Threats. Weaknesses drain the inherent power of Strengths. It is easy to see the need to correctly identify weaknesses and to find a remedy in as speedy a manner as possible.
Here is a sample listing of weaknesses in our hypothetical travel agency:
- No experience with niche cruises.
- Only four agents – two of whom are new to the industry
- Aging website with little traffic
- Irregular company newsletter publication
- No understanding of social media
- Small historical emphasis and budget for marketing
- No substantial group leader program
- Low year-on-year growth patterns
The identification of the travel agency’s weaknesses naturally will be followed on by a program to shore up and remedy the issues as identified. Immediately, it is apparent that growth will be a key target area and that assets need to be put toward marketing and product knowledge, perhaps with some fam trips with niche cruise companies.
Next, we will turn our attention to the opportunities in the marketplace, and identify how the travel agency’s strengths will allow the company to exploit them while shoring up some of the agency’s weaknesses.
Tomorrow – Analyzing your Opportunities