How to choose a specialty as a travel agent

May 13, 2024

As a travel agent, finding your niche is key to standing out in a competitive industry and attracting your ideal clientele. By choosing a specialty, you can develop a deep understanding of your clients' needs. While luxury travel is a popular niche, there are various other specialties to consider, such as wellness, corporate, family, adventure, and more.

Together, let's explore the process of choosing your niche as a travel agent, examining different specialties based on interest, audience, and destinations.

Interest-Based Specialties for Travel Agents

One way to define your specialty as a travel agent is by interest. Why are your clients choosing to travel? Maybe it's out of necessity for work, perhaps they're looking to relax, or potentially even looking to learn something new. By choosing a specialty based on interest, you can become an expert in certain trip categories and create a profitable niche in the travel industry.

Luxury Travel

Specializing in luxury travel allows you to curate exclusive experiences and cater to discerning clients who seek opulence and indulgence.

As a luxury travel agent, you can focus on high-end accommodations, VIP services, private tours, and personalized itineraries that cater to the unique preferences of luxury travelers. From luxurious resorts and boutique hotels to private villas and tailored experiences, the possibilities are endless.

At the end of 2022, the global travel agency network, Virtuoso, reported that "travel sales are pacing 47 percent higher in 2023 than in 2019, and that was a highwater year for travel.” According to their report, "Travelers are willing to spend more in 2023 to discover new experiences and share them with family and friends and nearly three-quarters of Virtuoso travelers value a travel experience that best fits their expectations more important than price.” At the beginning of 2023, luxury travelers were planning to increase their previous year’s spending from $20,700 per person to $27,800. The luxury travel niche is definitely worth considering!

Wellness Travel

Wellness travel has seen tremendous growth in recent years as more people prioritize their well-being.

The wellness travel niche involves creating transformative experiences that promote relaxation, rejuvenation, and self-care. From wellness retreats and spa getaways to mindfulness-focused itineraries and immersive wellness experiences, you can help clients find balance and inner peace through travel.

Even better, did you know that the Global Wellness Institute projected a 9.9% average annual growth rate, with the wellness economy reaching nearly $7.0 trillion in 2025?

Adventure Travel

For those with an adventurous spirit, specializing in adventure travel allows you to cater to thrill-seekers and outdoor enthusiasts.

This niche involves creating exhilarating itineraries that include activities like hiking, scuba diving, wildlife safaris, and adrenaline-pumping experiences. Whether it's exploring remote destinations or organizing expeditions to breathtaking natural wonders, you can offer unique adventures that leave a lasting impact on your clients.

Culinary Travel

Culinary travel is perfect for foodies who love to explore different cultures through their taste buds.

This specialty involves designing itineraries that highlight the gastronomic delights of specific regions or countries. From organizing food tours and cooking classes to recommending the best local restaurants and culinary experiences, you can help clients indulge in unforgettable culinary journeys.

Cultural Travel

Specializing in cultural travel allows you to immerse clients in the rich heritage and traditions of various destinations.

This niche involves crafting itineraries that prioritize cultural exploration, including visits to historical sites, museums, festivals, and authentic local experiences. By fostering cultural understanding and appreciation, you can provide clients with enriching and educational travel experiences.

Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Travel

With the growing emphasis on sustainability, specializing in sustainable and eco-friendly travel allows you to promote responsible tourism.

This niche involves recommending eco-conscious accommodations, supporting local communities, and organizing nature-focused experiences. By offering sustainable travel options, you can help clients minimize their environmental impact while fostering a deeper connection with nature.

Audience Specialties for Travel Agents

Another common way that travel agents "niche down" is by specializing in travel for a select audience. This type of specialty is easy to define, and by aligning your brand with your audience of interest, you can become the go-to for that group, and even create a referral network between travel agents with opposite specialties.

Family Travel

Specializing in family travel involves creating memorable experiences for families, considering the unique needs and preferences of different age groups.

This niche requires expertise in recommending family-friendly accommodations, organizing kid-friendly activities, and ensuring a safe and enjoyable journey for all family members. From theme park adventures to educational trips, your focus will be on creating unforgettable family moments.

Honeymoon and Romance Travel

For couples embarking on their honeymoon or seeking a romantic getaway, specializing in honeymoon and romance travel allows you to create enchanting experiences.

This niche involves selecting idyllic destinations, arranging intimate accommodations, and curating romantic activities. From breathtaking beach resorts to secluded retreats and candlelit dinners, you can help couples celebrate their love in the most memorable way.

Corporate Travel

Specializing in corporate travel involves managing the travel needs of business professionals.

This niche requires expertise in coordinating flights, accommodations, and transportation to ensure a seamless experience for corporate clients. Understanding the specific demands of business travel, such as efficient itineraries, convenient locations, and productivity-enhancing amenities, will be crucial in serving this audience effectively.

Group Travel

Any seasoned travel agent knows that group travel is in a league of its own, and specializing in travel for groups can be a great way to set yourself apart.

Specializing in group travel can be challenging, but it's also great for agents looking to plan fewer larger trips every year. Group travel takes more time and resources to plan, but ultimately leads to big commissions and large referral networks. As a group travel specialist, you can even subspecialize in things like multi-generational travel (think annual family reunions), weddings, corporate events, spring break groups, or something else. The possibilities are endless!

Destination-Based Specialties for Travel Agents

Domestic Travel

The United States has many incredible travel destinations, and is a niche that's not too crowded, leaving room for profit and potential for growth. 

Many travel agents focus on travel to specific countries, cruises, or islands, leaving a gap in the domestic travel space. If you love US cities, national parks, road trips, or cross-country adventures, you can pave your way as a domestic travel specialist. If you want to niche down even further, consider specializing in one region or coast of the united states, becoming the go-to expert for that area.

European Travel

Travel to Europe is always a popular inquiry for travel agents, and by specializing in European travel, you can create a range of vacations while still sticking to your niche. 

European travel agents have the pleasure of planning a range of trips from beach vacations in the south of France to vineyard tours in Italy and adventurous trips to Greece. The possibilities are wide, but the message is clear: you're an expert in all things Europe. This is an excellent niche for agents who have experience throughout the European countries, or expertise in just a few.

Caribbean Cruises

Create an agency centered around cruises and the Caribbean islands for a niche that's fun and exciting. 

If you love helping clients choose a cruise line or a resort but don't want to plan super complex itineraries, planning cruise vacations or Caribbean trips is an excellent specialty of choice. This niche tends to be more seasonal, so that's something to consider based on the workload you want, and is on the lower-maintenance end of things as far as on-trip support and full-service travel planning go.

Disney Travel

You didn't think we'd get through this list without mentioning Disney, did you? Disney is a popular niche among travel agents, but an excellent option for dedicated fans.

While the Disney travel agent industry can be competitive, there is no shortage of Disney inquiries every year from families and travelers looking for some magic. If you're ready to learn the nitty-gritty of Disney and are dedicated to providing a high-touch client experience that sets you apart, Disney travel agents can run an extremely profitable and streamlined business.

The power in positioning: combining specialties to create your own niche as a travel agent

Just like you, your specialty as a travel agent can be completely unique. The best specialists don't just choose one area of expertise - they create a combination that works for them. Consider combining specialties on this list to create a niche that fits your needs. Focus on the audience, interests, and destinations that mean the most to you.

Examples of travel agent specialties

  1. Specialize in Disney travel for foodies. Focus your marketing efforts on adults who love Disney world and are looking for new places to dine and hidden treats around Disneyworld or Disneyland.
  2. Carve out your niche in luxury travel for couples. Become the go-to travel agent for couples looking for high-end honeymoons or once-in-a-lifetime anniversary getaways.
  3. Become an expert in international family travel. If parents are struggling with planning European or Caribbean vacations with kids, you can position yourself as an expert in international travel for families with kids. This niche is ultra-specific and much needed in the industry.

Choosing your niche as a travel agent is a pivotal step in establishing your expertise and attracting the right clients.

By identifying your passion, considering your strengths, and understanding the needs of your target audience, you can carve a successful path in the travel industry. Whether you choose to specialize in luxury travel, wellness retreats, adventure experiences, or any other niche, remember that your knowledge and dedication will be key to providing exceptional service and creating unforgettable journeys for your clients. Happy travels!