SPECIAL ISSUE: Targeting Your Niche 7-21-2003

Preparing to pick a travel niche requires reflection and preparation

Developing a niche market requires reflection and preparation. Following are excerpts from an outline developed by Robin Fetsch, vice president of operations for Cape Wineland Tours, Falls Church, Va., of some issues to consider.

Part One: Choosing a niche

1. What do you have a passion for and/or want to focus your energy on?

2. If you could live your dream, what type of travel niche would you concentrate on?

3. Does this niche feel comfortable and natural to you do you understand the “language” or should you take some classes, meet with groups, etc.?

4. Do you understand clearly who your target clients are for this niche? Are they people you want to do business with?

5. Once you determine who your target audience is, and what you will be offering them, how do you reach them and understand what their expectations are?

6. Is there a large enough target market for your specialty to make a profit in your community or via the Internet? Which are some of the ways you can research potential business?

7. How do you find the time to successfully develop your new niche(s) and still handle your regular customers?

Part Two: Marketing your niche

1. What do you need to do to create the image for your travel agency that will set you apart as “unique” and the only agency in town with this special-interest niche product?

2. Do you create separate identities? Do you already have a reputation that you can enhance?

3. How do you develop a marketing plan that effectively conveys your “message” and expertise to the right audience who will want to buy?

4. How can you contact local groups and associations that you can market to?

Are there articles or newsletters you can write, talks you can give, special events you can hold, advertisements you can place, charity support, or “pied pipers” that you can find? How do you take advantage of the global reach of the Internet?

Part Three: Finding tour partners to support your niche

1. Where can you find legitimate companies that you can do business with?

2. Do your partners need to be based in the United States? Can you work directly with ground operators?

3. In what ways could they support you? What do you most need from them? What can you offer them?