I recently moderated an adviser panel at the Travel Agent Forum in Las Vegas. In my closing remarks, I mentioned to the audience that before they started advertising, they needed to be able to answer this simple question: “Why should a prospect buy from me?” I suggested that they look around, because each person in the room was their competition and those who can answer the question will win.
After the session concluded, two of the four panelists made it a point to tell me that they didn’t consider the people in the room to be their competition. Well, I asked, who is? They both made it clear they were competing with Costco, Vacations to Go, and other agencies – but not those travel agents in the room.
I was asked at the same event who were my competitors. I rattled off a few well-known names. We each have our own specialties and are often up for the same jobs, be it speaking or clients for our educational programs. We are all friendly and, in fact, we often work on projects together but make no mistake – we are competitors.
This a big problem in this industry, especially with the resources available to the traveling public today. To say another agent is not your competitor is like saying Royal Caribbean is not in competition with Carnival, Globus with GoGo Vacations, or Costco Travel with Vacations to Go?
If other travel agents are not your competitors, what qualifies?
Remember, doesn’t matter if it’s Travel Leaders, Flight Center, Delta Vacations (yes, that Delta), a home-based agent with the Travel Agent Next Door, or even Ru La La – they all offer virtually the exact same products, at a similar price, to many of the same prospects which may currently be your clients. So, forgive me for being a little slow, but I would think every seller of travel in the world, large or small, are in competition with one another. Here’s why.
Statistically, client retention is less than 30%. That doesn’t mean the customer stops taking vacations, for whatever reason, roughly 70% will book with a different seller of travel or direct for their next trip.
Travel Agents are just one of multiple sales channels your suppliers utilize to sell their products. If you want to be the consumer choice, you must be able to effectively communicate “why” a prospect should buy for you.
Dan Chappelle is a sales performance coach, professional business advisor, and best-selling author. His training and consulting firm helps develop sales focused business leaders and entrepreneurs in the travel and tourism industry. His book, Get Your S.H.I.P. Together: The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales, is available on Amazon.com.
For information on the Wealthy Travel Agent Academy’s business building programs, visit: www.DanChappelle.com
©2019 Dan Chappelle, CCI Inc.