May 30, 2019 Blog

One of the first things people do when they are starting a travel business is to pick a name. Unfortunately, that’s not the time to do it. You are too early in the process. A business name is, well, serious business. It needs to clearly convey what you do. It shouldn’t be cute or obscure or too “deep”.

But it also needs to avoid a few words that will cause you headaches later on. Here is my list of words to eliminate from your business name: Magic, Magical, Cruise, Cruises, Cruising, Castle, Fairy, Fairytale, Mouse, Dreams.

And a few more words I would be very hesitant to use: Family, Romance, Heart, Love.

Why? Because I hear from people on a regular basis who are trying desperately to get their clients to know them as something other than what their name implies. The implication in some of these words is obvious. Cruising, for example. But words like “magic” and “fairytale” have a definite Disney feel to them, even if that isn’t what you intended. Add some pixie dust and a wand to your logo and you are clearly a Disney specialist.

But the problem isn’t with the specialty, it’s just that some clients have a hard time seeing past that name. Here are two examples:

First, an agent with “magical” in their name. They started in the business because they loved Disney and that was all they intended to focus on. But after a few years she decided she wanted to expand her business to focus more on Europe FITs. She has clients who do this type of travel, but she can’t seem to get them to understand that she does a lot more than just Disney. And when she markets herself to new clients the name and branding are out of sync for the type of travel she’s promoting.

Next, an agent with “cruises” in their name. While they still love cruises, they find that clients think that’s all they can do. They have done everything they can think of to let them know that’s not the case, but it isn’t working. One of this agent’s best clients just booked a 2-week trip to Australia with another agent because he thought the agent only did cruises.

If these agents could talk to you they would encourage you to think twice about including some of these “defining” words in your business. They would tell you they spend an unnecessary amount of time “explaining” their business because their name isn’t working for them.

For many businesses being clear about their specialty within their business name is important. If you are passionate about wellness and want that word in your business name, go for it. That’s not as likely to be as limiting as some of the words shared above.

Most of you already have a business name. Some of you love your name and others aren’t in love with it. You can change it. Really! Dunkin Donuts is now Dunkin. Weight Watchers is now WW. Going way back, Nissan used to be Datsun (just showed my age there!) You too can change your business name.

The key to a successful business name is being clear about the business before you pick a name. That’s why picking a name first is a mistake. You haven’t defined what you do, who you serve, and what value you offer clients. If you spend time defining your business, a name will often reveal itself. You will find that words and phrases keep coming up over and over again.

Don’t feel like you have to come up with the most creative business name in the history of travel, because you don’t. You need a name that is clear about what you do, but isn’t too limiting. Remember that you aren’t just picking name for now, but for later too. You want a name that works for your business as it grows. You don’t want to be limited or held back by your business name. But if you find yourself in that situation, you can change it.

The bottom line: you need to put some serious thought into your business name, but it doesn’t need to make you crazy. Don’t spend weeks in analysis paralysis over it. If all else fails you can try some combination of your name and travel. Add a word like “service”, “agency” or “consulting” and you’re set! Then find a great designer to help you with your brand and you will be ready to welcome clients.

By Sandy Saburn