Travel Agents & North American Tours
Specializing in North American Travel
Specializing in North American travel has many perks and some limitations. The accessibility of the area for many people means there is a steady flow of customers. The region also covers many different climate zones so, as a travel agent, you will not be dramatically effected by changes in seasonal traffic like you would in other places. If you are based in North America, this close proximity also means it is easy to familiarize yourself with different destinations and network with different tour operators and travel companies. There are also many different conferences available where you can stay current on the latest trends and travel options.
It can be challenging, however, to encourage some travelers to take tours within the United States or Canada. If travelers have access to their own vehicle then they may not fully appreciate all of the perks that a tour has to offer. As a travel agent, it is important that you recognize and communicate all options to your clients. Once they understand the ease of travel available through a tour, they may consider this mode of travel, even in their home country.
Marketing Your Business
If you specialize in North American tours and live in the United States or Canada then you are lucky to have a large, nearby client base. The challenge can arise with convincing residents to take a tour in their home country. Many people feel comfortable enough traveling within their home country that it is hard for them to see the benefits of taking a tour. As a travel agent, it is your job to help them understand the perks and benefits of traveling with a tour company. Rising gas prices mean that group tours can actually be more affordable when compared to personal travel with a private vehicle. Tours also come with the perks of offering educational resources, tour guides, and group discounts for museums and other landmarks.
As you begin marketing your business, consider what groups may benefit from tours within North America. Consider partnering with community groups, churches, senior centers, or retirement homes. Senior citizens often enjoy local tours that travel only a few hours from home. They are able to get away from home for awhile, socialize with others, and do not have to deal with the hassles or challenges of traveling independently.
Also consider contacting groups in Europe or Asia. Many international travelers coming to the United States or Canada will see a great benefit for traveling by tour. They will also appreciate having a point of contact when they arrive in a new country where the language and layout is unfamiliar to them. Create relationships with travel agents abroad and work together to provide the services these travelers may need.
United States Tours
Tours in the United States usually focus on one specific part of the country. Because the U.S. is so large in size, many people, particularly those who do not have access to a car, choose to travel by tour. Public transportation in the United States is limited so tours are a great way to cover a large distance without paying for multiple flights.
One of the most popular activities in the U.S. is to visit the country's impressive national parks. These parks are almost never accessible by public transportation, so a tour is a great way to visit multiple parks without the hassle of driving or renting a car. Other tours travel through regions like the southeast or the northeast. Trips to the Southern U.S. often focus on the region's history and make stops in Charleston, S.C., Savannah, GA, or Atlanta, GA. In the northeast, tours often go through the larger cities including New York, Boston, or Philadelphia. California is another popular travel destination in the United States. Tours may begin in either San Francisco or Los Angeles and travel the length between the two cities making stops along the coast.
Many tours in the U.S. travel by coach bus. This allows visitors to sit back and enjoy the scenery as it passes by. Tours in the U.S. often appeal to those visitors who do not want to deal with the hassle of flying or driving themselves. Tours are a convenient way to relax and let someone else worry about the hassle of getting around.
Like the United States, Canada is a large country with many beautiful national parks and impressive cities. Although the public transportation system is somewhat more developed than it is in the U.S., many people still see the benefit of traveling through the area as part of a tour. There are many different types of tours in Canada. Some focus on the national parks in and around the Rockies while others travel through the country's most popular cities including Montreal, Toronto, or Quebec City. Another popular region worth visiting is Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. This area truly feels like you've stepped back in time. The small fishing towns, beautiful coastline, and wonderful food make it a wonderful place for all types of travelers.
Many people visit Mexico as part of a cruise. Others stay in all-inclusive resorts along the coastline. These are great options for vacationers who are looking for the beautiful white sand beaches and laid back atmosphere that coastal Mexico offers. If your client is interested in the archeological ruins, the vibrant cities, or the impressive wildlife, then a land tour of Mexico may be a better option for them. There are many impressive ecotourism offerings throughout the country. Some involve adventure sports, kayaking, or wildlife spotting. Others visit the beautiful landscapes and canyons that many people overlook in Mexico.
If you have a client who is interested in Mexican culture and food, a city tour may be a good option for them. Ideally, look for a tour that lets them visit a major festival in the country. This, of course, requires timing to line up appropriately. Find a schedule of the festivals in Mexico so you can recommend a good time to visit. This level of personalized attention and service will be greatly appreciated and will likely be rewarded with a repeat customer.