By Kelly Monaghan
Here’s an article worth reading. The New York Times, the “Grey Lady,” the “Newspaper of Record,” which has long been a cheerleader for the “you can do everything faster, better, cheaper on the Internet” crowd, has finally discovered what a lot of us have known for years: If you want good information and the best deal possible, contact a knowledgeable specialist travel agent.
The article, by Seth Kugel, is called “Is the Best Travel Search Engine Around the Corner?” Check it out. It deserves some commentary.
You will notice that Kugel just didn’t consult any old travel agency. Instead, he sought out agencies that specialized in his intended destination. The result was predictable. He got better prices than he could find on the big Internet booking sites. Even more important, he got far better information and on-the-ground intelligence from these agents. And that is a point too often overlooked by reporters (who should be a little more intelligent) when they flack for the alleged superiority of the Internet in travel planning.
In the Home-Based Travel Agent Success Course, I stress the importance of specializing. Surprisingly, many people resist this advice. They think that specializing limits them or “leaves money on the table.” Far from it. If anything, specialization frees an agent to become the best he or she can be.
Here is a story that illustrates the point. One of my earliest students took specialization to what many people would consider an extreme. She sold only one product — an upscale all-inclusive resort chain. Then she went a step further. She sold it only to honeymooners!
Had she painted herself into a corner? Did she live to regret it? Far from it. She became that chain’s number one producer, negotiated a splendid commission arrangement (she obviously had no need for a host), and financially she did very well indeed.
Specializing means you know your product line inside out, you are the undisputed expert. It means the suppliers you work with get to know you and will extend themselves on your behalf. It means that you know your target market every bit as well as you know your products. Because you have clout with the supplier, you can get deals and benefits for your clients that other agents can’t. That, in turn, means your referral business goes through the roof.
So if you’re wandering in the wilderness, selling a bit of this and a bit of that, please avail yourself of my course and consider the considerable benefits of specializing.