Specialization-A giant step in differentiating yourself and your agency | TravelResearchOnline

Specialization-A giant step in differentiating yourself and your agency

As an industry, we are continually looking for ways to increase the visibility of our our agencies and our position against competition, especially on-line travel companies. The tool that  gives us the most visibility and competitive edge is specialization. The definition of a specialist is “one who concentrates on a particular activity or product”.  When you specialize in a particular area of the travel industry, over time you to develop a reputation as the expert in your area of specialization. As an example, our own travel agency specializes in up-scale all inclusive resorts. After specializing in this area for over 7 years, we now receive 5 – 10 calls a week from people who state they were told to contact us by friends or relatives because we were the experts in up-scale all inclusive resorts. By specializing, your business might experience a slight dip in the short term but will experience large growth in the long term as your reputation grows.

If you are going to specialize, you certainly can do it in more than one area but you need to make sure that you are an expert in all areas of specialization you select. It is much easier to begin specializing in one area, become the expert and then add another area of specialization

The day of the generalist in the travel agency community is coming to a close. With the advent of the online companies and the amount of research information available to the public, you as an agent or agency owner must know more about the products you sell than your clients. They are looking for the expert to help them and you cannot be the expert on every facet or type of travel. You can tell a prospective client, “I don’t know but I will find out” only so many times before they start questioning whether you know any more about their vacation than they do. This also is the area that the online companies are weak in. To get the amount of traffic they need to have to be successful, they have to be able to sell a multitude of products and most of these companies work from large call centers using people who are not experts in anything except phone sales. This is the time to take our industry back and specialization is a major tool in the effort.

We continue to compare ourselves to Doctors and Lawyers. Do we realize that these two industries were the first to specialize? When you go to your lawyer and tell them you need help with a legal real estate issue, the first thing they do will be to refer you to a real estate lawyer. Doctors are the same way. Family doctors are now known as Internal Medicine Specialists and when they detect a heart problem they will refer you to a cardiology specialist. As we can see both these industries have turned to specialization to survive and grow.

If we are going to compare ourselves to doctors and lawyers, we need to do it in more ways than just charging fees.

Geoff Millar is the Co-Owner of Ultimate All-Inclusive Travel Inc., specializing in All-Inclusive Resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean for Honeymoons, Weddings, Families, and Groups. www.ultimateall-inclusivetravel.com

  3 thoughts on “Specialization-A giant step in differentiating yourself and your agency

  1. Rosemary Danielsen says:

    Geoff,

    Love the way you compare the specialization of doctors and lawyers to travel agents! That comparison really makes your case more compelling and “real” for me. Great article!

  2. To me the price we charge tourist might not to be trimmed. However, agent/tour operator should have some abundance in a price one charged to any tourist.
    Part of the trip proceed alloted aside for some extravaganza, or valuable surprise.
    I tried these surprises, I found the effect tremendously great. Consequently, I gain good reputation, as end tour operator and in the same time it kept some gain for the sender tour operator abroad?
    On top of that with good price I charged, I hired excellent guide, used top stars hotels and I gave the group some ease. In another word, I don’t have to squeeze expenses to make the ends meet.
    I really, have to laugh at any tour outlet when he/she tells me: your price is high?
    From my experience little bit higher price better than squeezed price, because costumer, always, looks to what kind of service he/she will get?
    Soon he/she paid the cost, no matter how high or low it was, he/she want excellent service in exchange? It is a reason, when a tour operator charges low,low price, one can’t deliver a good service, the client become unhappy, and the results, of course, drastically reverse??

  3. Fantastic article! You are so right about specialty travel gaining momentum and consequently the falling by the wayside of the general travel agent.

    As the president of the Specialty Travel Agents Association (www.specialtytravelagent.com), I have seen an increase in demand from consumers who are looking for a higher level of travel and a more in depth experience. This means great news and increased business for the travel specialist. By making a commitment to specialization, you can make a difference in your clients travel experience and gain a larger base of clients traveling within your market.

    For those agents who in the past have had difficulty marketing themselves or drumming up business, specialization provides an easier way to marketing yourself directly to those interested in what you have to offer. The majority of potential clients coming to you as a specialist will already know what you do and for the most part what they want to do. It is then up to you to sell yourself and your knowledge and turn your lead into a sale, which for a true specialist should not be a difficult task.

    Specialization is the key to differentiating yourself as an agent and to increasing your bottom line.

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