Travel Agents and Blue Ocean Strategy | TravelResearchOnline

Travel Agents and Blue Ocean Strategy

This week, the 365 Guide is going to re-visit our series on Blue Ocean Strategies.  Next week, we are going to use what we have learned to develop five marketing campaigns that beat the competition by eliminating all competition.

The competition is everywhere: other travel agents, the big online agencies, suppliers selling direct. All about you, sharks swim and the water is red with blood.  Everyone is after the same clients, and you want your share.  So you circle with the pack, waiting for another traveler to drop into the water. You hone your competitive advantages, distinguish yourself from the competition and wait.

But just over the horizon is a vast blue ocean. Not but a few miles off-shore, hard as it may be to believe, there is no competition. There is an entire blue ocean of uncontested market space.  Is that even possible?

Blue ocean theory indicates it is possible to create products and services in which a company can view the competition as irrelevant.  Why?  Because there isn’t any. In an industry as ancient and worn as travel, is it really possible to create products and services that have no alternatives from the buyer’s point of view? Is it possible instead of continually dividing up the existing market space to create new markets in travel? Could it be at least possible that there is a strategy that involves creating demand rather than focusing on the competition?

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This week TRO’s 365 Guide is going to embark on something of an academic exercise. We are going to examine Blue Ocean Strategy as it might apply to the travel industry. We are going to do a walk-through of the book Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne and apply the lessons there to our own profession.

We are going to examine a number of case studies of real importance.  In their book, Kim and Mauborgne open with the story of Cirque Du Soleil.  In an age of television and Wii, where Barnum & Bailey was an existing but struggling giant, how did an upstart spectacle like Cirque Du Soleil not only appear, but flourish? The authors point to the early tag-line of the troupe: “We Reinvent the Circus“.

Here’s what we will look at over the coming week and some of the possibilities we will explore:

  • The life cycle of a travel product – how travel products become commodities
  • How to revitalize your travel product by adding value
  • How to make money by better understanding your market
  • How to create your own markets

Here’s a blue ocean case study that I will leave you to ponder until tomorrow: everyone in America has a coffee pot.  So why will they stand in line to purchase a $4.00 coffee at Starbucks? There were hundreds of thousands of breakfast places selling coffee when Starbucks launched.  How can Starbuck’s success be understood in terms of Blue Ocean theory, and what can the travel professional learn from a caramel macchiato?

Join us this week in an attempt to render competition irrelevant.

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