40 years ago travel was expensive and difficult to arrange. Travel agents existed to make booking tickets and accommodation easier.
Around 15 years ago, with the internet, everything changed. Travel has become a commodity. Go online to compare fares, find hotels, Air B&B and book.
Travel Agents faced with airlines slashing or entirely removing commissions went to the wall.
Faced with this, how would you survive and even prosper?
One answer is to apply a blue ocean strategy, creating a market that hadn’t thought about using your type of service before. And marrying that into a “done for you” convenience package where you bring your expertise to the table and get your clients results they can’t on their own.
For example, Swiss travel agency, Kuoni defied predictions that the internet would kill the travel agency business and carved out a niche with their Concierge Service aimed at high end travellers who want a unique travel experience. And they’re doing very well, thank you!
Locally, TravelManager is following suit, with a twist.
The company aims squarely at people who don’t have either the time or inclination to visit a travel agent in their local shopping centre. Nor do they want to trawl through the web looking for deals.
So they offer Australia’s largest network of “mobile” travel agents who offer you a personalised service where and when you want it.
Forget walking into your local travel agent and having to wait in line. These “specialist mobile travel agents” come to you at a time and place that’s convenient. Or you can deal with them over the phone, email etc.
The individual agents all have particular specialities and travel interests, so rather than dealing with a generalist travel agent who may never have been to the location you’re interested in, you pick and deal with someone with local knowledge who knows the ins and outs of the destination. Someone who can tailor the package specifically for you.
Now you would be forgiven for thinking, “Besides the home visits, surely this is what any good travel agent would do?” And you’d be right.
But most travel agents don’t showcase their expertise, tell prospects and clients about the depth of knowledge they have and the lengths they go to, ensuring you have a great trip.
They mainly sell themselves on getting you the cheapest price.
Don’t believe me? Do a Google search for “travel agent” and look at the first page of results most of which immediately shout about their lowest price deals.
Visit the sites and they all have the same functionality that allows you to search for flight/accommodation packages with the latest specials. There’s nothing that differentiates one from the next. So as a consumer, why would I come to you over the next guy offering a similar deal?
The TravelManager site is quite different. There are no deals to be seen. You can’t search for flights or prices. So effectively you can’t compare them to the competition.
What you can search for is a Travel Manager with expertise in a particular destination or category such as cruises, shopping, culinary, golf… you name it. And you can read individual bios of Travel Managers to see if you relate. It’s all about personalisation and building up a sense of familiarity and trust.
And as their pricing is competitive why wouldn’t you use them as you get a superior level of service?
Which once again proves a point. In an industry which the pundits have doomed to failure given the ease of using the internet to make travel plans, here’s a company that has found a market within a market and carved out a niche.
And there is something else. You may have noticed the similarity to the mortgage broking industry where specialist brokers come to you. Jay Abraham, one of the most brilliant marketers of our time always expounds the virtues of looking at other industries to see what’s working and then applying it to your own.
So the obvious next step is how could you go about carving out a niche in your industry if you haven’t already done so?
Stuck? Getting an outside perspective is one of the smartest things we can all do. Call us on 0414-913-334. We’ll work together to analyse your business and come up with new ways to grow your business in a competitive market.