Branding Your Travel Business
by Cheryl Rosen
Branding Your Travel Business

How do you want to be thought of in the minds of consumers?

Whether you want to be a cruise agent or a corporate agent, a specialist in Africa or in Latin America, an expert in Tauck tours or in Silversea cruises, the first step to building a loyal clientele is to choose a brand that differentiates you.

That’s the advice offered up by Mark McMullen, who today kicked off The Travel Institute’s 10-part Advice from the Experts webinar series with a session dubbed “Branding Your Way to Success.”

Having a brand “helps you differentiate yourself from companies selling similar products, particularly where there is a perceived sea of sameness about companies selling the same thing”—as in, notably, the travel industry, McMullen said. “Are you perceived to be different from the agency down the street or an online retailer? It’s important to put your stake in a brand that differentiates you.” 

A brand makes it easy for customers to understand how to think about you, and defines their expectations from the time they start to consider a trip through the purchase, the post-purchase, and the re-purchase phases.

Finding your brand
To come up with the brand that’s right for you, consider the niches and the suppliers and the products you sell that make you unique, be they luxury, affinity groups, escorted tours, or corporate business; exotic travel, luxury travel, or adventure travel. (To grow your list, talk to BDMs at supplier companies and ask for their help to make you an expert in their products.) 

Consider what really stands out about your expertise, what’s marketable, what differentiates you. Then list your customer targets in those niches and come up with a brand position that will resonate with them.

Once you decide on a brand that fits, market it everywhere. Slap your tagline on your business cards, make it prominent on your website, be sure everyone uses it when they answer every single call: “Hello, this is XYZ Agency, your adventure travel specialist.”

“Don’t be afraid that it will niche you” to choose one brand, McMullen said. “You can continue to sell everything, but having a brand will drive more consumers to think about you in a certain way and get them in your door.”

The Travel Institute’s 10-part series is designed to help travel agents get into the business and build successful careers—and there are nine more to go. For more information, go to the Travel Institute's website.

Tip of the Day


Best place to buy leather gloves in Rome? Best pupusas in San Salvador? Where to rent bicycles in Hoi An? This is the "gold" you offer your clients. Send them the links that will connect them to the destination and to travel bliss.
Steve Gillick
Daily Top List

Best Things To Do In Hamburg

1. Gastwerk Hotel

2. Miniatur Wunderland

3. Brachmann's Galeron restaurant

4. Atles Madchen brewhouse

5. Flohschanze market

Source: The Guardian

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Forbes Travel Guide Announces 2017 Award Winners
Forbes Travel Guide Announces 2017 Award Winners

As Forbes honors top hotels, spas and restaurants, Bali, Puerto Rico and Manila rank among top rising luxury destinations.

What Kind Of Fool Am I?
What Kind Of Fool Am I?

TMR columnist Scott Koepf suggests taking the song’s approach of self-analysis and applying it to business.

Travelport CEO Says Merchandising Moves Are Driving Agency Share Gains
Travelport CEO Says Merchandising Moves Are Driving Agency Share Gains

Airline customers have implemented Rich Content & Branding, which provides travel agents with 'state-of-the-art abilities to show and sell all of their products, fares, fare families and ancillaries.'

Seven Ways To 'BE' My Travel Agent
Seven Ways To 'BE' My Travel Agent

'Being' the travel profession is very different from just working at a job in the travel industry, says Steve Gillick.

Warren Buffett Mulls Buying An Airline
Warren Buffett Mulls Buying An Airline

The chatter on Wall Street has turned into a fascinating prospect: that Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Group will buy an airline outright.

ACTA Restructures To Improve Effectiveness
ACTA Restructures To Improve Effectiveness

President Wendy Paradis outlines the future of the leading association for Canadian travel agents.

News Briefs
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: TRAFALGAR