Your key strengths could be knowing yourself
Every month or so one of my friends contacts me and asks “you work in travel so can you get me some cheap airfares to…”. When I explain we are wholesale, we just do hotels, and then recommend them on to a travel agent, they say “Why don’t you go straight to the public, you would make more money.”
We explain we are good wholesale, but we don’t have the skills required to go retail. We feel validated in it because our competitors have tried and failed and that our customers like the fact that we only service them. Some say missing opportunity. I say being realistic.
Put more simply, we say it’s playing to our strengths. We know how to do wholesale really well, we know the important ingredients and when it comes down to doing good business, wholesale is our strength and so that’s what we do.
Travel is massive, I challenge the notion you can be an expert in every aspect of it. Some people suggest it’s missing out on opportunities to focus on one thing. I see it more as creating a strength and owning a niche.
Here’s some thoughts.
- Know thyself
Honest self appraisal across an individual or organisation is the start of any improvement. After all you don’t improve what you are brilliant at, you either avoid or you strengthen them. Some find it tough to be honest with themselves, the same goes for some organisations. So get an external perspective. Athletes have coaches for a reason.
- Find a niche, own a niche.
“But I don’t know how to make a niche!”. Maybe you are just making the question to tough. You can make an excellent living by
- Being the best travel agent in your suburb
- being the best travel agent in your shopping will
- being a widely regarded expert on a specific destination
- being the best at combining complex itineraries
- having the best marketing strategy through the strongest engagement with your customers
- Big fish or the small fish
Personal development comes from loss, introspection, surrounding yourself with people better than yourself to be challenged and develop. But once you get there, you don’t want to keep going through this pain and loss and so on, you want to start being profitable.
Work out how big the pond you need is to make money in, work out if you are ready and if not, hit the gym! If you go into a pond that is too small, you will run out of food and never get as big as you want. If you go into a really big pond with lots of other big players, you’ll probably get eaten.
But there are hybrid models. You could swim in a school. Modern day schools are franchises, or if you need a bit more freedom, think ATAC or Magellan.
Be the best
I continue to struggle with this one. I assume that if I say we have a great product, great customer service that people will take me for face value, investigate and prove to themselves that 70% of the time our prices are better. That 95% of the time you will never find better customer service.
Truth is, that’s not always the truth. Some people only take notice when you say you are the best. Sure, they may try and succeed in disproving you but at the same time, you may just win them over.
Our bullshit monitors are very sensitive. Australians and New Zealanders have an unparalleled skill of telling people how it is. I think it’s one of the things I love about ourselves as much as anything else. One of the last things you want to do is be caught out telling Porky’s.
Be honest, consider these steps, workout what you can do in travel that brings it all together. If you can’t find that balance it’s time to look for another job.