Annually a company needs to be reminded of the need for a SWOT analysis. The SWOT acronym indicates Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The traditional SWOT looks at Strengths and Weaknesses of a business (internal factors) and tries to thereby ascertain the relationship with Opportunities and Threats (factors external to the agency). Doing an annual SWOT analysis is a good pre-requisite to a marketing plan and assists with developing the appropriate goals for your travel practice.
Generally speaking, your travel practice has certain strengths that justify its existence. These strengths give rise to opportunities that your competition may not be able to challenge. On the other hand, your agency probably has weaknesses that provide an opening to your competition where they are better capable than you of taking advantage of the market. A SWOT Analysis makes each of these factors clear and provides a guideline for approaching each in your planning. Our SWOT Analysis Worksheet will assist you in performing your own analysis.
In isolation, a SWOT analysis is of limited benefit as it is too often performed as a perfunctory exercise with little input from sources outside the agency. Strengths tend to be over-estimated and weaknesses glossed over. However, if the undertaking is approached as a real opportunity for better crafting a strategy, then it can be an invaluable tool for planning purposes. In particular, if the travel agency will view the SWOT not as a static picture but as an organic process, the analysis can enhance the overall performance of the travel agency.
One of the best ways to prepare for a SWOT is to gather information from your co-workers and clients – the internal and external consumers of your services. Ask for an honest assessment of the real strengths and weaknesses of your travel practice. Gather together customer feedback over the past year and look for both positive and negative commentary. Next, do a competitive analysis. Look to some of the large, online agencies and determine what they are doing very well. What are they doing poorly? Likewise, how is your more immediate, local competition faring? Where are they advertising and how? What are they stressing in their marketing efforts? How accomplished are they in their public relations?
Finally look to the larger market. What factors are currently influencing travel? What has been the impact of the economy, international politics and terrorism threats? What factors in pop culture are currently influencing travel? What have recent articles in TRO’s Travelgram indicated about the “zeitgeist” in the world of travel? What’s in the air?
The high and lofty aspirations of a mission statement, if they are to be realized, have to be effected in the context of the real world in which the travel agent operates. An honest evaluation of the possibilities inherent in the mission statement will require the travel agent to closely examine his or her weaknesses and the threats the economy and other external factors pose. Likewise, the strengths of the agent, and the opportunities that present themselves, need to be clearly contemplated and prioritized. From that perspective, the agent can more realistically create goals for their practice, develop strategies to realize those goals and make the most effective use of assets. A SWOT analysis plants the goals of the agency firmly in context and presents the possibility of realization.
Now, we have some reading to do…
Read these articles to remind yourself of the parameters of a SWOT analysis and what’s involved.
- SWOT Analysis for Travel Agencies – Strengths
- SWOT Analysis for Travel Agencies – Weaknesses
- SWOT Analysis for Travel Agencies – Opportunities
- SWOT Analysis for Travel Agencies – Threats
With the above materials gathered together and openly discussed with your business associates and advisors, you are ready to commence on a thorough SWOT Analysis.