Why are You So Special? | TravelResearchOnline

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Why are You So Special?

Torstein Hagen, founder and chairman of Viking Cruises, said in a recent interview about the success of his company, “We are focused clearly on what we are and the number of things we are not.”

As a travel professional, the message is clear. In order to stand out among the plethora of booking options, get clear on who you are and who you are not. Ask yourself, “What makes me special?” and “What do I want to be known for?”

These are powerful questions I often ask of my students and audiences. Usually, the response is an awkward silence.

If a company as large and complex as Viking Cruises knows exactly who they are, why is it so hard for retail travel professionals to gain this clarity?

I am an avid hiker. As anyone who has served in the infantry will tell you, the most important piece of hiking equipment is a good pair of boots.

I buy my boots from REI. I can get them cheaper online; but like others serious about the sport, I seek out Pete Smith who has been fitting boots at REI’s flagship Seattle location for over 25 years.

Intentional or not, Pete has become a star in the hiking world. Because of this, he attracts customers who will wait for hours to have him fit their new boots (I can personally attest to this).

So, what do you want to be known for? What is it that you are so good at or want to be good at that prospects will wait in line to see you?

The key? Less is more. Drill down to the minutia. Pete doesn’t sell tents or sleeping bags, he fits boots. You have so many options, requiring specialized knowledge, that you must go deep to establish your expertise in specific brands or regions.

Condé Nast, Travel & Leisure, and Wendy Perrin all publish “World’s Best“ lists. The lists are not “Best Travel Agent,” they are “World’s Best…Specialist.” Those who make the lists are known for their expertise of specialized products and destinations.

Hagen’s statement helped me gain clarity in my own business.

I am “The Wealthy Travel Agent.” “I help busy travel professionals take control of their businesses; so they can travel more, earn more money, and recognition; so they can better serve their clients. Unlike those who focus solely on marketing, I help my clients with a wholistic systemic process so they can enjoy the lifestyle they envision for themselves.”

Like Viking Cruises, I am also clear on what I am not – my services are not for everyone.

What makes you special? What do you want to be known for? Something so specific that prospects will seek out your services. You do this, and you will have no problem standing out from the tens of thousands of travel agents competing for business.


Dan Chappelle is a sales performance coach and professional business transformation advisor. His training and consulting firm help develop sales focused business leaders and entrepreneurs in the travel and tourism industry. His bestselling book, Get Your S.H.I.P. Together: The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales is available on Amazon.com. Begin your journey today to becoming a Wealthy Travel Agent. To learn more, visit www.DanChappelle.com

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