Torstein Hagen, founder and chairman of Viking River Cruises, said in a recent interview, “We are focused clearly on what we are and the number of things we are not.”
Wow! If you want to know why Viking is so successful, I think this statement sums it up nicely. As a sales professional, the message is clear. In order to stand out among the plethora of booking options, get clear on who you are and who you are not. Ask yourself, “What makes me special?” and “What do I want to be known for?”
These are powerful questions that I always ask of my students and audiences around the world. Usually, the response is an awkward silence. In an environment where everyone from Costco to Sea Ray Boats is selling travel, how can retail travel professionals get clear on who they are and who they are not? If a company as complex as Viking River Cruises knows who they are, why is it so hard for retail travel professionals to gain this clarity?
I like to hike, so much...
Recently, an interesting post in one of the newer travel agent Facebook groups caught my attention.
A member made a public declaration (post) that she was leaving the group because she only wanted to associate and share ideas with what she considered to be “real and legitimate” travel agents.
What I found interesting is regardless of their business model, virtually all agents in this group (around 1000) are home based and many are cruise focused. This agent had particularly strong feelings about who was “real and legitimate,” and those in the group who didn’t make the cut.
When I started our cruise-only travel agency in 1993 after working on cruise ships, I knew it would fill a need. After all, I had spent almost six years onboard listening to passengers tell me what they liked and disliked about working with a travel agent.
Many of you may be cruise focused, and what you do is widely accepted, however this was not always the...