The rather glib question above is vitally important to your travel practice. Knowing the answer demonstrates a key understanding of your mission. Most travel agents think they know the answer to the question but, when put on the spot, have trouble articulating a coherent response. Here’s the thing – if you cannot produce a easily understandable and memorable reason for the existence of your travel practice, the chances are pretty good that your clients cannot either. On your first day back in 2011, I cannot think of a more important topic for you to consider.
Developing a mission statement is a fundamental exercise for any travel company. A mission statement anchors your practice to an ethic and becomes a compass for every other decision you make in business. If your mission statement is clear, you can use it as a guide for the types of niche travel you choose, the clients you seek, the advertisements you run and even the topics you choose for your blog. Your entire practice will orient itself around a core raison d’être – your reason for being. Your clients will “get you” and therefore remember to come to you more easily. When they think of travel, they will think of you.
To be really memorable, to be important to your client, your mission statement must be client-centric. A strong mission statement relates to a need and the way in which your travel practice meets that need. Clients have a lot of needs when it comes to travel. Just read the horror stories in almost any travel ombudsman column and you will see the many mistakes people make booking their own travel or booking through one of the large “do-it-yourself” travel sites. Finding a need and meeting it well is the surest way to create a business with a built-in audience of enthusiastic followers.
Once you create a mission statement, don’t just stick it on a shelf. Write it down, print it out and post it for all to see, especially yourself. Then, live it. Make it the first thing you think about as you begin your business day. Ask yourself how you will meet the challenge of living up to your mission. When you write your blog post, ask yourself if the topic and tone align properly with your mission statement. When you advertise in the local paper, ask yourself the same question. Align your every business action to your mission and you will be forever on-track.
If you remain true to your vision, clients, both existing and potential, will better understand your reason for being and will find a way to your door.