For all practical purposes, travel agents died years ago. With the launch of online travel booking there’s no longer much of a reason to call up the local agent to buy a plane ticket or book a hotel room. So they’ve all gone out of business, right? Wrong.
While there are only about a third the number of travel agents today as there were at the peak (mid-90’s), they still account for $95 billion in revenue. And those that remain in business have seen their profit rates, on average, double in the past 5 years.
So what happened?
When simple, transactional bookings of airplanes and hotels moved online to a self-service model, the order takers in the industry disappeared. But, the agents that focused on serving a specific niche found the online travel websites posed little threat. Corporate travel, luxury travel, cruises, exotic destinations… agents that focus on these markets have an opportunity to add value and compete in a way the self-service portals can’t match.
So what does this mean to you, the insurance agent? You may face a similar fate. The Affordable Care Act brought on huge changes to the industry. There’s a rapid rise of online quoting and sales portals. Even Google dipped its toe in the game (although they quickly pulled it out again – they don’t want to upset their #1 industry for revenue!). If you are going to survive, much less thrive, in today’s competitive landscape, you’ve got to know your niche.
Here’s a short list of the benefits of knowing your niche:
The list goes on.
So if you haven’t clearly defined who you sell to, it’s time to take a step back and think this through. And, if you are crystal clear on your market, ask yourself how you can sharpen your online marketing to speak directly to your target customer.