Limiting myths are the stories we tell ourselves to justify a timid approach to building our travel practices. Most limiting myths have a small truth somewhere in their origin that over time takes on a far greater importance than their reality suggests. By examining these myths, you can greatly diminish their influence in your travel practice. Here’s the first limiting myth we will tackle: “You cannot compete with the big online travel agencies.” The actual situation is, the online travel agencies (OTAs) cannot compete with you either! Let’s take a look and see why.
My father once told me “Never play the other man’s game.” Everyone builds around their inherent specialties and strengths. If you try to compete with the OTAs playing by their rules and imitating their tactics, you will quickly find yourself out-matched. So don’t do that. Instead, compete with the online travel agencies using your own set of tactics geared to and fueled by your own strengths.
Take the time today to go to Travelocity and look at the site with a critical, professional eye. By their very nature, OTAs specialize in price. Practically every message on the Travelocity site is dedicated to a pricing issue. In order to do so, the online giants must deal in commodity travel. For the client that is absolutely sure of what they want, Travelocity has an answer.
The high volume, low margin strength of the OTA however, is also its weakness. The fact is, most clients do not know exactly what they want. They have questions and special circumstances and needs. They don’t want exactly what Travelocity offers, or they don’t know the value of one hotel over another. That is your strength. Don’t compete on price, compete on accessibility, compete on customization, compete on attention to individual needs and detail. That’s where Travelocity cannot compete with you.
What about pricing? Even in that instance, many travel consultants use tour operators that provide price matching or find that the prices offered are so limited as to not pertain to the client’s needs. However, price is not value. When you can properly relate your value to a client, the online travel agencies will be worrying about competing with you.