If you’re in the travel agency business, there is a good chance that you’re dealing with the issue of consolidation. Perhaps your competitors have rolled up into a much larger entity and now have more buying power from suppliers than you do. Or maybe your business was part of a mega-merger and the name of your agency is now the same as many others across the country.
If you’re facing either of the above scenarios, I have two words for you: Stay unique. Don’t let a new brand name on your storefront lure you into changing, or watering down, the exciting dynamic you’ve got with your clients. Use the tools that your new network provides to free you up to spend time on the “people” part of your business. That includes both your staff and your customers.
Take the training your new hosts are providing, enjoy that you’ve been liberated from back-office drudgery and get back out on the front lines and start crafting those magical itineraries you’ve always been known for. If selling was never your game, put a new spin on marketing to your local constituents and immerse yourself once again into your community as the travel expert that you are.
If your agency network hasn’t changed, but your competitor’s has, take a look at the tools you’ve been given and be sure you feel up to snuff in this changing marketplace. There’s no reason for you to feel like you’re lacking in resources in front of your clients.
I’m telling you this because all of the industry executives I’ve spoken with, on both the supplier and the travel network sides, are incredibly excited about how dynamic the travel agency distribution channel has become. In fact, that’s an old-fashioned term; they’re really seeing you as incredibly successful entrepreneurs and I’m hearing that everyone is very keen that travel agents continue to evolve, making money in innovative ways and servicing their clients as only they can. No one is looking for you to fall into place and become part of a sea of sameness with other travel advisors. If anything, there has been no greater time for you to be able to use tools that automate the more mundane aspects of your business while making you look smarter and providing even more value to your clients.
The reason that the travel agency community has become so attractive to investors is that you’re profitable, you’re smart and you have tremendous potential to become even more successful. All age groups, from Millennials and Xers to Baby Boomers and Matures, are learning of the benefits of working with a travel agent, so take this time to shake off the worries you’ve had over the past few years about surviving, spread your wings and be as creative as you can. There’s never been a better time to be a travel advisor.