You may be thinking,“isn’t it a little early to try and define what my value proposition will be?” The answer is an absolute “No!”. If you are starting a new travel business you need to understand why consumers will choose you over other travel agents and express it in a way that is easy to understand. While it is obvious that your value proposition is likely to change and morph into a new reality, you should define your UVP as early as possible while starting your business. This will help you make decisions that are conducive to better defining your UVP as your business grows.
Your UVP will give you the focus that you need to make decisions regarding all aspects of your growing business. It will allow you to narrow the focus on investments in promotions, advertising and other marketing efforts so that you are reaching the right profile for potential new clients.
A Unique Value Proposition (UVP) is a short statement that shares the reason that clients should choose you to book their vacation with. Some marketers use the term Unique Selling Proposition, or USP, which is exactly the same as a UVP. A UVP accomplishes the following;
Your UVP answers your client’s question of “What’s in it for me?” It shares a quantifiable value in specific terms.
What problems do you solve for your clients?
Your UVP differentiates you from your competition and sends a clear and concise message to your client.
In a nutshell, your UVP statement clearly shares with potential clients how they will benefit from using your services, how your services will solve their needs and problems and what makes your services the correct choice for their travel needs and why your services are better than the competition.
While your UVP may be completely unique and not fall into any of these genres, it is important to consider each.
Do you have an advantage over your competition based on your physical location? If you are selling surf tours to Punta Mita, Mexico and also reside there and all of your competition reside in the U.S. you have a very distinctive UVP. What does your location convey to potential clients?
What areas of specific knowledge do you possess? It can really be about any topic. So if you have specialized knowledge in any area you should be able to leverage it into a major element of your UVP.
Your experience can also lead you into another interesting area that might be an element of your UVP. If you are selling Baltic cruises and have taken just about every ship into every Baltic port numerous times, your experience can help guide clients to their best cruise ever.
When I was escorting groups of travel agents I was armed with advanced first aid knowledge, CPR, conflict resolution and martial arts. Agents knew if they got into a problem I could generally get it resolved quickly and safely. This, along with my travel knowledge and experience is why agents chose to cruise with me over and over again. What special service attributes do you offer clients?
You can parley your special interest into a travel UVP by focusing your marketing on niches where your knowledge and interest become your UVP. There are literally hundreds of special interest niches in the travel industry and specializing in one (or more) is a surefire addition to your UVP.
If you have achieved a level of fame and notoriety, you can easily turn that into your UVP. As an example, Gerry Lopez, aka Mr. Pipeline, is a surfer from the 1960s and 70s who was an exceptional surfer and is looked up to by every surfer out there. Gerry runs SUP clinics at Punta Mita that includes surfing with Gerry, yoga every morning and one night of “Talk Story” about surfing throughout the last 50-years. Since there is only one Gerry Lopez, he is his own UVP.
So let’s talk about UVP’s in a simplistic way and once you read this you will realize you knew all along what they were and you were (or are) probably using them in your marketing activities already. Hopefully, this will help you recognize how very important they are and allow you need to dig deeper into the science of UVPs to watch your business soar.
What are the demographics and psychographics of consumer who are buying the product or services that you are going to offer. Define your target market as specifically as possible.
What problems does your target market need solved? What is their motivation for making purchases in your niche? What is it specifically that they want from their purchase?
Start by focusing on solving your target market’s largest problems. As an example, if you are specializing in selling surf travel to Punta Mita, Mexico, the biggest problem for surfers is finding the surf and bringing the right equipment. If you have a high level of expertise in the area of surfing in Punta Mita, you solve the largest problem by being the expert on Punta Mita Surfing.
Let’s say that your competition are the surf travel companies that sell all over the world and do not have the same level of expertise in the Punta Mita area. Your expert level is a critical difference between you and all of your competition. Find as many differences as you can.
What are your clients and potential clients probably asking themselves each time they make a buying decision? The answer is in its rawest from “What is in it for me”?
The basic challenge is to discover and communicate a concise statement of what is the most compelling reasons and benefits why someone should book their travel with you. It has to be delivered in such a way that a potential client can automatically answer the “what’s in it for me” question. That is it pure and simple. Sounds pretty easy to figure out, right? What do you do and how can you do it different, or better than anyone else. Why you?
Some people view small businesses like commodities. They think that any accountant is like any other or a dry cleaner is like any other and so on. Well, I can tell you that our accountant is “OUR” accountant. I think he really cares about us and making sure we keep our records straight. We benefit from whatever (if any) tax advantages there may be. I believe he sincerely wants the best for us. He is competent and probably has the same credentials as any other accountant but, he is our accountant. Actually, I now consider him a friend after many years of working with him.
Our Dry Cleaner is Yumiko and she is the best. Sure the process she uses is the same as any other cleaner in town, but she cares. She knows we travel a good deal and she works with us to be sure we have what we need in a timely fashion. She always asks where we have been and is genuinely (or I want to think she is) interested in us as people, not just clients. She is appreciative of our business and I believe would stand behind her service with conviction and pride.
Both of these small businesses offer dependable service. They do the job that is expected of them and are honest. However, these are not points of differentiation from other similar companies. I expect the basics, but what I get are the extras. The extras are their UVP for me.
An effective UVP communicates your unique ability to fill a void in the marketplace or to define why clients should select you. Your UVP shouts your unique qualities that are the reasons clients should award you their business. Your UVP can be your single most powerful marketing weapon.
To craft a UVP for your business, make a list of all the benefits of doing business with you. Don’t leave anything out.
1. What things on your list are unique to you specifically?
2. Which of these UVPs is most important to your clients?
3. Which of these would be difficult for others in your industry to duplicate?
4. Which of these can be easily communicated to potential clients?
5. What problems do clients have that your UVP resolves?
Now that you have your list, you can narrow it down to the top one to three benefits why someone should do business with your agency. After that, you simply begin to use this chief benefit, or your UVP in everything that you do. Come up with statements that promote your UVP.Put a statement on your business card, your email signature, your website, your social media and on every piece digital and print marketing material that you use. The goal is to promote your UVP as if it is almost second nature.
I think that if you try this exercise you will find that “you” is likely your most important UVP. Your customers, like me, will want to do business with people who sincerely make a connection with them and make the buying experience a truly memorable and positive experience.