If you want to make more money in your group travel business, then you have be a specialist. And the way to be a specialist is to have a clearly defined niche and/or target market.
A niche is defined as a distinct segment of a particular market, and your niche is what is really going to establish you as an expert in the travel industry. Not only will YOU have a clear understanding of your travel business, but your clients will too, which instantly gives you permission to say “NO” to business you aren’t comfortable with or business you just don’t want because every group is not worth your time. It is so refreshing when that burden to research vacations for people who are just testing your travel agent skills just to see if you can find a cheaper price than they did is lifted off of your shoulders.
And sometimes it’s good to say NO to well-intentioned customers too. I remember when a friend of a friend told me she wanted to travel to Africa but she didn’t know where to go or where to stay. As a new agent, she was giving me a chance to plan this trip for her but I didn’t know the first thing about travel to Africa. When I told her that I didn’t know the first thing about Africa or how to plan travel to Africa, my credibility with her was ruined forever and that’s what I don’t want to happen to you. Another alternative would have been to do my best with the booking and pretend that booking her trip was easy, but that could have turned ugly very quickly. I would have had her in Kenya when she really wanted to go to Tanzania. If I had had a clearly defined niche, she would have had a clear understanding of my business and I wouldn’t have been so embarrassed when I wasn’t able to meet her needs.
I know, you’re probably thinking, who turns away a client, right? Surprisingly, a lot of people think that identifying a niche and narrowing your focus means that you won’t get as many clients because you’re not casting your net as wide, but the opposite is actually the case. Have you ever heard the saying “there are riches in niches?” Well, that’s true. Specialists make more money and that’s why you got into this business right? To make money!
Think about other professional service providers outside of travel industry with regard to this concept. For example, what type of doctor would you want to perform heart surgery on you if you needed it? Any medical profession, a general practitioner, a general surgeon, or a heart surgeon. Definitely the heart surgeon because all they do is study the heart, in great detail. And which do you think makes the most money? Definitely the heart surgeon because he or she can charge more for their expertise. And on top of that, while the general surgeon may have to reach out to find patients, the heart surgeon probably survives strictly on referrals and patients who seek him or her out for his or her expertise. I know if I have to have someone working on my heart, I want the best of the best. This also holds true for other professions such as lawyers, real estate agents, accountants and the like. And the same holds true for travel professionals.