Be an expert in your travel niche
Many travel agents believe they should keep their range of services broad, appealing to a variety of clients. In the world of travel, it’s actually best to keep it narrow! Focusing on a specific type of travel niche or destination will allow you to become a true expert and help you find clients that are eager for your guidance. Whether you’re looking to venture into a new market or just starting out, here are a few questions and ideas to get you thinking!
3 Questions to ask yourself
1. What are you passionate about?
It’s much easier to build a flourishing career if you’re excited about what you do. Compile a list of your travel experiences, hobbies, interests, and favorite destinations to get your brain going. Stephanie Lee of Host Agency Reviews has created an awesome brainstorming worksheet on how to pick a perfect travel niche. You can check it out here!
2. Who are your clients?
Does your niche appeal to a certain age range or personality? Are you working with couples or families? Church or school groups? Solo female travelers? Answering these questions will help you determine where and how to direct your marketing efforts. For example, your adventure sports travelers might have a stronger presence on Instagram, while your family vacation-goers might spend more time on Facebook.
3. When and how often will your clients travel?
If building a solid customer base that returns to you year after year is important to you, then maybe honeymoon travel shouldn’t be your specialty. If you want to build a business around ski travel, be prepared to have a busy season and a really, really slow season.
10 Niche Markets to Consider
Once you have a few great ideas based on your experience and interests, you may want to do a little research and find out what is already out there. What is the current demand? What does the competition look like? As you search, you will probably discover that what you thought was a far-fetched idea actually appeals to a larger market than you realized. Here are a few niche travel trends that are captivating travelers today:
1. Adventure Travel
Adventure tourism is a hot option for the newest generation of travelers. It includes physical activities such as surfing, scuba diving, shark encounters, safaris, trekking, cycling, rock climbing and much more. You could also tap into unique, “soft adventures” such as Northern Lights trips, bird-watching, or stargazing.
2. Ancestry Tourism
This one has perhaps arisen from the popularity of websites like ancestry.com or 23andMe. There is a new wave of curiosity to find out who we are and where we come from. These are travelers who wish to visit the country of their family’s heritage and explore their roots.
The idea of a “blesiure trip” (one that incorporates both business and pleasure) has surged in popularity, appealing to employees and employers alike. These combo trips raise employee morale and keep them enthusiastic about their job, without costing a lot of extra vacation time. It is the ideal trip to plan through a travel agent, as many travelers will often need to stick to a strict schedule, but may have a larger budget if their company is funding some or all of their travel expenses.
4. Bucket List Trips
Help your clients plan the trip of their dreams! This might include a multi-stop trip, checking off their top destinations. Others might prefer an activity-focused trip such as “skydiving, swimming with dolphins, and taking a cooking class abroad.” This niche will provide you with endless opportunities to take advantage of social media marketing. Prepare for clients who are willing to spend top dollar, but will expect a truly mind-blowing experience.
5. Destination Weddings
This would be a good fit if you’ve had any experience coordinating weddings or had a destination wedding yourself. It requires tremendous organizational skills and attention to detail. You should also be prepared to book small to medium sized groups of attendees. This might involve finding a group fare or careful coordination of multiple schedules.
6. Disney Travel
This is a market that just never seems to lose momentum. From its theme parks and resorts to its award-winning cruises, Disney knows how to make the magic happen. Planning such an experience is usually the “trip of a lifetime” for families. If you know and love Disney, you can make this process a lot smoother and simpler by helping families book their arrangements, excursions, and itineraries.
While the true gourmet might feel offended by today’s liberal use of the word “foodie,” a majority of travelers do have a strong interest in experiencing culture through authentic, locally-sourced food. The gastro-tourist will want to taste things you can’t get at home and avoid the popular tourist hotspots everyone knows. They may want to watch or participate in food preparation themselves, tour local farms, or enjoy a personalized experience at the chef’s table.
8. Themed Cruises
Take something you already love and put it on a boat! Music, food and drinks, health and wellness, and spa cruises are all great options to consider. You could also focus on a specific location such as the Mediterranean, Caribbean, or European river trips.
Voluntourism blends aspects of both volunteering and tourism into one trip. It is a way for travelers to “give back” to destinations they visit while they tour. This is a popular option for travelers of all ages and backgrounds.
10. Wellness Travel
This could encompass spa-related tourism such as visits to mineral and hot springs. It may also include those traveling with a focus on fitness, clean eating, and an outdoors lifestyle. Clients taking a wellness trip may also have a special interest in accommodations, dining, and transportation services with responsible, eco-friendly standards in place.