In today’s travel agent environment the most successful travel agents tend to specialize in a specific niche where they build their level of expertise to an expert level. By focusing on a specific niche agents can process more complex transactions more effectively than generalists.
Here are some reasons you may want to focus on a travel niche.
Become the Expert – By becoming an expert in your travel niche folks will seek you out on the web, in social media, online resources such as Yelp and so on. Being the expert for a travel niche makes targeted keyword marketing much more effective.
High Internal Yields – Complex travel niches tend to create high internal yields. The ability to process complex transactions quickly because of a niche specialization makes earning a large income much more likely and manageable.
Stronger Supplier Relationships – Because of your travel niche specialization, suppliers generally treat you as a top account. This means more commissions, overrides and cooperative support. Suppliers will bend over backward to help you succeed.
Large Growth Potential – Once you have established your travel niche, you may be able to recruit other agents to help close leads that you are generating. By focusing on complex transactions you are in a position of vertical growth in your market.
Scalable Growth Management – Once marketing and operation costs are established you may well be able to control profitable growth for the long term. You are also in a position to aggregate revenue from other agents that specialize in your niche to dramatically impact your relationships with suppliers.
Agents new to the travel industry tend to try to be every thing to everybody. And, nothing will sink a travel business faster. So it is imperative that newer agents discover their travel niche and focus on it in order to grow their business. Finding you specific niche is really quite simple.
Here is how to do it.
What are you Passionate About? Everyone seems to get into the travel industry because they are passionate about traveling. But, what specifically is your passion? Identifying your passion is critical to finding your niche.
What are you Knowledgeable About? If you already have expert knowledge on a subject related to travel, this might be an excellent area to develop. If you are an expert photographer and love to shoot African wildlife then perhaps putting together photography safaris to Africa would make a ton of sense.
What Fits Your Desired Lifestyle? Many people that enter the travel industry see themselves traveling the world. Your travel niche should be entirely consistent with your desired lifestyle. If going on 15 different cruises each year is your objective, then specializing in promoting cruise groups might make sense.
What Makes Financial Sense? Of course, your travel niche should have the capacity to generate revenues and profits consistent with your business plan. Generally speaking, the more complex your niche is the better the opportunity to generate a rewarding income.
What Education and Experience Will You Need? If you are not currently an expert in your desired travel niche, what education do you need and how are you going to get it? The same is true for experience. The best way to become an expert is to focus on one product and experience it with the focus on developing your expertise.
So let’s take a look at some of the more obvious travel niches that exist in the travel industry.
Accessible Travel: Agents specialize in travel for all types of disabilities including wheelchair travel, sight impaired, hearing impaired, mentally challenged and so on.
Adoption Travel: Eastern Europe, Asia, South America and domestic are areas of specialization dealing with adoption travel.
Adventure Travel: Biking, mountain biking, bird watching, exploration cruises and travel, fishing, hunting, mountain climbing, photography, safaris, SCUBA diving, skiing, snowboarding and surfing are just some of the sub niches available for agents.
All Inclusive Resorts: Sub niches include Luxury, singles, clothing optional and groups.
Business / Corporate Travel: domestic and international business travel is a huge niche and represents a good amount of opportunity for agents.
Cruising: Barges, dive, freighters, luxury, mass market, river cruises, sailing, small ship cruising, And, by destination Asia, Alaska, Africa, Baltic, Australia / New Zealand, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, Middle Eastern, Pacific Islands, South America, Western Mediterranean. There is abundant opportunity in the cruise niche.
Culinary / Foodie Travel: Domestic and international travel abounds with opportunity in this niche, especially if you are a well know chef or author.
Disney Travel: Disney cruises, Disney parks, everything Disney is a niche many agents pursue.
Eco Tourism Travel: Volunteerism, rain forest preservation, geographic and cultural preservation are all appropriate niches,
Faith Based Travel: Pilgrimages and religious tourism make a great travel niche.
Family Travel: Specializing in family reunions, multigenerational cruises and travel and family oriented vacations is a niche for many agents.
Group Travel: Affinity groups, conventions, escorted cruises and tours, incentives, meetings, motor coach groups, senior groups, singles groups, woman’s groups and special interest group travel are all great niches.
LGBT Travel: Cruises, resorts, all inclusive, gay and lesbian friendly destinations are all available for those that select the LGBT niche.
Luxury Travel: Cruises, Resorts, boutique luxury hotels and villas are just some of the niches for those specializing in selling luxury travel.
Motor Coach Travel: Escorted motor coach tours that are both domestic and international is a great niche.
Rail Travel: Domestic Amtrak and international rail travel is a great niche.
Resort Travel: Specializing in resort travel niches such as beach, golf, spa, tennis, special interest or destination makes a ton of sense.
Romance Travel: Destination weddings, honeymoons, vow renewals, couple’s getaways, baby moons, proposal travel and events are all popular niches that agents earn excellent incomes from.
Senior Travel: Cruises, tours, groups, woman’s travel and motor coach tours are all favorites for senior travel specialist.
Singles Travel: Cruises, groups, all inclusive, resorts, destinations and adventure travel are all of interest to singles and those that specialize in these niches do quite well.
As you can see there are many different potential niches and yours may not even show up here. The trick is to think specifics and not in broad general terms. You should be able to define your niche in just a few words and in one sentence. “I take senior widowed women on cruises and provide them with quality gentleman host dance partners” is a great example.
So let’s recap the most important points that we have covered.
Follow Your Passion. This will lead you to the right niche every time.
Become the Expert. You expertise is what will make you successful in your niche.
Focus on Your Travel Niche. Your focus is what will continue your success.