Last week I attended the Home Based Travel Agent Forum in Atlantic City and had a fantastic time learning a bunch of new stuff, rehashing some old stuff, and connecting with new and old colleagues. There is nothing like a trade show to re-invigorate you and your thought process. A common discussion over the three days centered around the question of “why?” Why should a customer use you? Why did you get into the business? One of the most popular answers was “because I am passionate about travel.” I heard it time and time again and to be honest…that is the biggest cop out ever. It is like a personal ad saying that they are either male or female! For crying out loud, we are all passionate about travel and passion does not set us apart any more than the color of the doormat on our front step.
Another great line I heard when asked about why someone wanted to do business with a particular agent…”because I give great customer service.” Again, this is a huge cop out. Everyone gives great customer service—at least they say they do. Have you ever gone to a store that promotes their mediocre or poor service?
The competition is tough out there. We are competing against ourselves, and against the customers who will give themselves great service. Unless you are your only customer, you are going to need to up your game a little bit.
When people ask me why I am in business, I tell them that as a single parent, traveling can be difficult at best and worse than miserable at worst. I love (ok, I’m passionate about) travel and know how enriching it can be for children of all ages, so I decided to do something about the inherent difficulties of traveling alone with kids. Isn’t that a lot better than “I’m passionate about travel?”
When I am asked what sets me apart from others, I tell them that I offer a service that is not for everyone and to my knowledge I am the only agency specializing in meeting the travel needs of single parents. There is no mention of my great customer service. The fact that I am in business, in a tough industry, during a recession, probably speaks to that. The weak will die; the strong will survive.
Don’t be like everyone else. Set yourself apart and stand out from the crowd. Take a few moments and figure out what truly sets you apart. Take some time and find out why you got in this crazy business.
If you need some help and some “no holds barred” critique, shoot me an email and I will try to help.