What Does The Travel Industry Have To Learn From Google?

Richard Earls, Travel Research Online

The list of qualities that makes Google a unique company would be a long one indeed. Google is an organization that views itself as a citizen of a larger world. Its mission statement (To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful) is styled in terms of its impact on its users. Google is ranked #4 by Fortune magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For. Its products are excellent, innovative and visionary.

Globally, Google's revenues are over $22 billion each year. What can a travel agency learn from a company of such mammoth proportions? A lot. Google's corporate philosophy is summed up on its Ten Things Page. Below are a few of those Ten Things with considerations for your travel practice.

  • Focus on the user and all else will follow – Marketing travel is about helping people meet their travel ambitions, not about selling cruises. Great travel agents are client-centric, empathetic and build their client followings based on relationships, not transactions.
  • It's best to do one thing really, really well – Travel professionals looking to take their business to the next level need to give serious attention to specialization and niche marketing.
  • You can make money without doing evil – Google once dumped a significant client – China – costing them a conservative $300,000,000 annually. Everyone is not your client. Not the mean ones, not the dubious ones, not the ones who can never be satisfied. You don't have to take on everyone to survive, you don't have to compromise your principles. In fact, you will over the long haul have more time for your best clients if you dump your worst ones.
  • You can be serious without a suit – Like Zappos, the good folks at Google know that you are supposed to have fun at what you do. As a travel professional, we should be the most fun profession in the world. Google should be learning from us! If you don't do anything else, put the fun back into your travel practice.
  • Great just isn't good enough – Strive to WOW your clients. Don't do nice presentations only for the expensive trips. Don't reserve your best for only the clients who spend a lot of money. Don't settle for “good enough" or “OK". Like our friends at Google and Apple, let's strive to be insanely great.

At one point in their corporate philosophy, Google says the following:

Even if you don't know exactly what you're looking for, finding an answer on the web is our problem, not yours.

With only a couple of minor word changes, that sounds like the beginning of a pretty good philosophy of business for any travel agency.

Richard Earls is the Publisher of Travel Research Online, an online travel industry resource dedicated to enhancing the professional lives of travel agents.





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