Are You Hiding Your Services?


Ruthanne Terrero
Vice President—Content/Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero

“Do you sell hot dogs?”

The guy behind the street cart on 47th Street and 3rd Avenue laughed at me. “Yes, that’s what we sell,” he said, pointing to the franks, sauerkraut and buns in front of him.

My question wasn’t that far-fetched since the signs on the awning of his cart advertised knishes, Jamaican patties, sodas, gyros, gum and candy. No hot dogs. He was hiding his core product. Relieved, I ordered up one dog, sauerkraut, no mustard.

Shortly afterward, my Android let me know it had automatically updated The Weather Channel app I had downloaded before and use often. Can I bring my sandals on that business trip to Amsterdam or are we still wearing shoe boots? Is it wise to get my hopes up about sunning in Miami, or has it been raining there for a week? I love it—jump in, jump out and no information overload.

When I clicked on the newly updated app, however, I couldn’t determine how I could find out what the weather was like in any given destination. There were several new features, videos on hurricanes and a geo-locating service that provided layered maps of where you were. I was on a train going home and the app was showing me a detailed map of Jamaica, Queens, which I happened to be passing through. But, hello, what was the temperature? Did I need to bring an umbrella to work with me tomorrow?

I was reminded of these two experiences, of being witness to so much clutter 

that I was unable to get to the core product of a vendor, when I visited the websites of a few travel agencies recently. In each case, there were so many travel partner logos on the homepage, it all seemed like logo soup. It didn’t feel like any of the agencies were differentiating themselves from any other since all they had were the monikers of a whole lot of other travel companies all over them.

Of course, what each agency was selling were the travel products of those suppliers, but is that what they were really selling? How do you cut through the noise and tell potential customers that what you really provide is a high level of service, a consultation that will enable them to have a great vacation?

Are you selling logos or experiences? I suggest you take a look at your travel agency’s homepage and try to imagine what a consumer is seeing when they come upon it. Will they be tempted to go through the front door because you’re drawing them in with images that will make them want to be a part of what you are all about delivering? Or will they turn away because there is so much 

clutter in your front window, too many sales signs that make you look no better than an online travel agency that has no human customer service? 

In this issue of Travel Agent, we feature those folks who are all about the experience. Our Top Supplier Sales Reps issue was launched several years ago to pay homage to those people who come into your office and make you smile as they tell you about their company’s latest offerings. They are able to break through all the clutter from those who want your business, and tell you why you should work with them. And then they deliver exactly what they promised.

Please join us in congratulating this year’s Top Supplier Sales Reps and keep reading to find out just what it is that makes them special.

Virtual Event

Pivoting Back to Travel | The Destination Weddings & Honeymoons Edition

2020 put the nuptial plans of thousands upon thousands of couples on hold, but with the promise of widespread vaccine distribution in the near future, it’s time to get back to planning and ensure your clients live out the destination weddings & honeymoons of their dreams. Hear from top suppliers and destinations on wedding venue & ceremony options, romantic destinations & resorts and more when you watch the event on-demand.