Becoming a travel advisor is an exciting endeavor, but finding long-term success for your business in this industry goes beyond booking hotels and planning itineraries. One of the most important pieces in starting any business is not only understanding exactly who your ideal client is, but how to speak to and resonate with that person.

In order to identify what type of person is your ideal client, you need to first look at yourself and figure out your “why.” What is your motivation behind starting this business? Everyone has a different reason for why they decided to embark on this journey, and you should keep this reason in mind as you are developing your business.

This specific topic is very near and dear to Meredith Calloway, Chief Visionary Officer at Gifted Travel Network (GTN), and she reinforces this message to both our new travel advisors just starting their business in our Travel MBA program as well as to our existing advisors who sometimes need just a little reminder.

“The reason why we do this is because almost everyone that I know, especially in this industry, gets on this journey and goes into business for themselves because they have a passion for something. Maybe you had an experience in your life where travel really uplifted you or healed you or changed you in some way. Once you take that leap of faith, it's almost impossible to not go immediately into your head, especially when you have invested money into it. But marketing has to start with the heart, because that's what makes marketing magnetic.”

One of the key components of our Travel MBA program is scheduling a “Master Your Message” session with Meredith. Prior to the call, each cohort member fills out a questionnaire to give her some context about their business and share their unique story.  

During a call with a few other members of their cohort, Meredith focuses on one person at a time and talks through their story while filling in gaps and highlighting what she feels are key points of emphasis. They discuss their ideal client’s profile, including both their pain points and what brings them joy. They identify their “brilliance” or what sets them apart and what will make them shine as a travel advisor.  

Immediately after Meredith goes through this exercise with them, she takes a few minutes to herself to start writing what she feels is that advisor’s core, compelling message as a travel advisor. This message is a few sentences that sum up who this advisor’s ideal client is, what they want from their travel experiences, and why.

This is such an important exercise for new travel advisors, as it helps them to re-center themselves and remember exactly why they wanted to start their business in the first place.

Many of our October 2023 Travel MBA cohort members just recently completed this exercise and found it to be invaluable for their business:

“While I have been running my travel business for over a year and a half now, I admittedly had never sat down and taken the time to really hone in on who my ideal client was and what would speak to them and their hearts. The process of "mastering your message" really gave me time to reflect on my past experiences with travel and the personal growth, discovery, and cultural perspectives it provided me, and how I wanted to be able to give those same experiences to my future clients. Now I am laser focused on who "my people" are, and I feel it has helped tremendously cut down the "noise" and know exactly who I'm targeting and why.” - Jenny Schuelke, Champagne Travel

“Mastering Your Message with Meredith was unlike anything I have ever encountered in my career life.  This deep dive into who we are and what ignites our passion for travel was both difficult and exciting.  This exercise encouraged me to see the travel advisor role from several angles.  First, the importance of developing an avatar to provide great insight as to who my potential clients are and where to find them.  Second, exploring my client’s pain island and how to use my brilliance to carry them to pleasure island.  Finally, my story which exposed my passion and drive to provide travel advice for others.  This process pulled these important pieces together and provided a clear picture of my destination.” -Shannon Lovdahl, Traveling Traditions

“Mastering your message helped me in showcasing my unique qualities, skills, and values to create a compelling and authentic professional identity. It's about defining who I am, what I stand for, and what makes me stand apart in a sea of talented individuals. Just as companies build their brands to attract customers, I need to brand myself to attract opportunities, create lasting connections, and carve out a distinctive niche in the travel industry. “ -Barbara Pate, Luxury Experiences

If you are trying to master your own message for your travel business, start by asking yourself the following questions:

1. What adjectives would you use to describe the trips you will be designing?
2. Who is your ideal client (ex: families, couples, active travelers, busy professionals, etc.)
3. Why does your ideal client want to take this trip?
4. What is a pain point in their life that travel can help them solve?
5. What would bring them the most joy in their trip?
6. How can YOU as an advisor serve them, solve their problem, and provide the best service in a way that no one else can?