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.

  3
  0
Tip of the Day
Daily Top List

Best Paris Tours

1. Paris Charms & Secrets Tours

2. Wego Walking Tours

3. Blue Fox Travel

4. Bike About Tours

5. Fat Tire Tours Paris

Source: Trip Advisor

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Autism Awareness Month: What Travel Agents Need To Know
Autism Awareness Month: What Travel Agents Need To Know

Autism affects more than 3.5 million Americans, but programs from suppliers help keep them traveling.

Headquarters Happenings: Dominant In Canada, Expedia CruiseShipCenters Targets U.S. Market
Headquarters Happenings: Dominant In Canada, Expedia CruiseShipCenters Targets U.S. Market

“We have a system and the system works,” says the president of the cruise agency franchisor Expedia CruiseShipCenters. It’s a system that drives growth by attracting new entrants with strong leadership qualities.

10 Top Cruise Trends For Travel Planners To Watch
10 Top Cruise Trends For Travel Planners To Watch

As a travel professional, you know the benefits of cruising for leisure travel. But if your client asked you to research options for a meeting or incentive travel program, would you consider a ship? Jo Kling has some reasons why you should.

Targeting Travelers With Special Needs: Agents Can Earn Loyal Repeat Customers And Do Good
Targeting Travelers With Special Needs: Agents Can Earn Loyal Repeat Customers And Do Good

It’s Autism Awareness Month, and so TMR spoke with Jim Smith, who will share the professional and personal benefits of targeting travelers with special needs at our Travel MarketPlace show in Toronto in June.

Six Tips For Travel Agents Trying To Build A Business
Six Tips For Travel Agents Trying To Build A Business

Drew Daly, general manager of network engagement & performance at CruiseOne and Cruises Inc., sat down with TMR to offer up some tips for building your cruise business.

NY Times Praises Travel Agents
NY Times Praises Travel Agents

In an article about how to choose the right agent, the Times promotes the qualities that make a difference.

News Briefs
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Melia Pro