Developing and marketing a niche area of expertise is one of the best possible ways to differentiate your travel practice from the competition. As an expert in a particular theme or destination, you can quickly establish your travel agency as the only reasonable resource to which consumers should turn when considering travel in your niche venue.
Understand, the concept of adopting a niche is often misconstrued. Niche marketing is a way of helping you focus on locating new clients, not a set of restrictions on your business offerings. Niche marketing is not necessarily about gearing your entire business to a particular type of travel. It is about segmenting your marketing efforts to focus on particular groups of people, however.
Properly executed, niche marketing is a terrific way of locating and marketing to a group of potential clients in a highly effective and cost efficient manner.
One great advantage of a niche market is the way in which it helps you locate potential clients. When you are marketing “travel” to the world at large, everyone is your potential market and you lack focus. When your market is “adventure travelers”, however, you know where to find them. When your market is “golfers”, you know where to find them. Once you have located your market, it is much less costly to reach out to them as opposed to using much less efficient “shotgun” approaches.
When you focus on a niche, you very quickly become an expert. You will be able to speak with authority on your topic and marketing will be a matter of speaking directly to those who share an affinity for your niche. As an expert in a niche, your ability to generate referrals and word of mouth advertising will be amplified as those who have used you in the past tell others interested in similar travel experiences. You will also develop deeper and richer relationships with the suppliers that you use as they come to understand your devotion to their area of business.
The lesson of effective niche marketing is this: It is important to be clear about the market you are addressing and to address that market clearly. This might require you to have one marketing brochure or presentation for adventure travel and another for senior escorted tours and yet another for golf travel. You do not have to devote your practice exclusively to any of these niches, but you can devote some of your marketing tactics and collateral to the niche. Then, choose the appropriate marketing tools and delivery for the market you are addressing.
There are three steps to developing your niche market strategy:
Choose a niche market for which you have some affinity and study it. Every niche has its own language. Vow to become an expert, to speak the idiom of your niche fluently. Open a file to curate information. What is important to the niche participants? Buy some magazines read by people in the niche. Spend some time on the internet studying the marketing of others in the niche. What are their unique selling points? What elements seem essential? What is missing from their marketing?
Create your own approach to the niche market. How will you distinguish your own approach to the market? How will you benefit participants in a way no other company does? What types of marketing collateral will you use? In what ways will you approach and engage the niche? Spend time figuring out the demographic of your selected niche. Where do the people who are in that niche market congregate? How can you best reach them? How can you benefit them in ways others are neglecting? Develop a plan.
Engage the niche. Address the niche leaders and community through cost effective avenues. Form relationships first and then begin to address their needs. Everything you do should be done in the context of authentic marketing and relationships. Become the buzz in the niche, utilizing the bonds you form with members. Develop testimonials with every success and use campaign marketing to hit the audience from many different angles. Become the only logical choice for their travel opportunities.
Chances are, you will quickly realize that not far out of your reach is a group of potential clients just waiting for you to grace them with your presence.