Should Travel Agents Be Specialized?

Before a doctor ever enters medical school, he usually already knows what field of medicine he wants to specialize in for his career.  As an attorney graduates from law school,  she has already begun to look for a firm that specializes in the field in which she is interested.  Why is that?

The human body is a complex being that requires vast amounts of knowledge to understand all its systems and how they work.   Because our knowledge of the human body has greatly increase over the last 60-70 years, doctors have begun to specialize in specific areas and focus all their study and research on a specialty in order to become successful in that area of treatment.

The same can be said for the reason why attorneys focus their work in specific areas of the law.  There is so many different areas of law and so much to know about each area that it would be very difficult to be successful in multiple areas.  It doesn’t make sense for you to go to an attorney that specializes in criminal law to handle your divorce!

Having a specialty should be no different for travel agents.  Think about how big this beautiful world is and how many amazing destinations we have to visit.  How could I possibly know everything about all of them?  I couldn’t, if I wanted to be successful.

When I chose to start my travel business, one of the first things I was told was to have something you are known for and build on it.  I have always loved the Caribbean, warm destinations, beaches, and cruises.  I was good at planning those types of trips because I had done them for my family for years.  I knew I could be successful as a travel agent that specialized in cruises and all-inclusives, so that is what I chose to be known for.  That doesn’t mean that I won’t book a Vegas trip or a trip through Canada on the train if I feel comfortable enough to do a good job for those clients, but I want to be known as a cruise and all-inclusive agent because I know I can successfully plan those trips and make clients happy.

I love being successful at my job, and the way I am successful at my job is making my clients happy.  If a client comes to me with a request for a destination I am not very familiar with,  I may not be able to make them happy, and that means I am not being successful at my job.  For that reason, I may tell clients I would rather refer them to a fellow agent instead of handle their vacation myself.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  Why would I give up my commission to another agent?    I would rather have clients be taken care of by a fellow agent who can do a good job for them than me do a mediocre job for them and lose their future business and any possible referrals.    I think my clients would agree with me.

I do a lot of training, but I focus it on the destinations and topics in which I have chosen to specialize.  I can’t be every kind of agent to every kind of client.  I would rather focus on making great vacations happen for some clients than be just a booking engine to the masses.

So what do you think?  Should travel agents be specialized?

Interested in a vacation?  Tell me about it.

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