Most travel niches have clearly defined market segments with fixed boundaries, but here’s one that is ultra-nichey and still offers infinite room to grow: specialized travel. Danielle Belony, owner of Eagle Exploration Travel Agency, has already made her mark in this travel sphere after just 16 months in business.
So what exactly is specialized travel? Basically, it is any tourism that is highly defined; and it is often linked to the travelers’ personal hobbies, sports, or interests. And as you will see, the possibilities are endless.
For instance, as part of her specialized travel offerings, Belony has arranged trips in Europe focusing solely on places of interest during World War II. “My first specialty tour was when I began to plan out a two-and-a-half-week trip through England, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. My clients were very specific that the only places that they wanted to visit and learn about were those relating to World War II.
“I contacted various vendors, and they all came back to me saying that the trip my clients wanted was too specific and they could not help me. That is when I decided that I would do anything in my power to give my clients their trip of a lifetime. From there, they told their friends about the trip that I was planning for them, and the word spread that I was doing specialty travel.”
Other examples of specialized trips that Belony has prepared or is currently working on include: a vacation through the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky; a train trip through the Western United States stopping at the national parks; a two-week scuba diving tour around the Maldives; and a tour through Scandinavia.
Why this niche is profitable
“This has been my niche for the past seven months, and it has been profitable because it is something that not many travel agents are willing to do,” explains Belony. “It takes a bit more time to research and put together than some other niches, such as doing all-inclusive resorts or cruises. But once clients see the work and dedication that I put in to ensure that their trips are everything that they could dream of, they become repeat clients, and also refer other clients to me.”
Since starting her travel agency, Belony has marketed her travel agency through a growing social media presence, with a Facebook Business Page and an Instagram page. She says she also finds that initiating conversations with people has been effective, and that quite a few of them have said that they did not know there were even travel agents anymore. So reaching out and talking about her travel services every chance she could has brought in the financial rewards she was seeking.
Service above all else
“There have been many things that have helped with my success,” says Belony. “If I had to give one thing, it is providing your clients with a service that they cannot find anywhere else.
“I always give my clients a timeline of when I will have their quotes done for them that is longer than I need. That way when I get them done sooner, they are pleasantly surprised. I always ensure that my clients have transfers, excursions, drink packages, restaurant reservations, and anything else that they may possibly need. The only thing that I want my clients to have to do is to pack their bags and show up at the airport.
“I have been blessed to be able to help many people during my time as a travel advisor. Hearing my clients tell me how they couldn’t have planned a better vacation for themselves and that they had the times of their lives is amazing.”
Based in Greenville, Pennsylvania, Belony is the owner of Eagle Exploration Travel Agency and is affiliated with the host agency InteleTravel. She is a solopreneur who started her business only 16 months ago. Belony is clearly doing something right, as she was named InteleTravel’s Role Model Agent Under 40 for 2022 – quite a distinction as she rose above the thousands of other agents who are part of the InteleTravel organization.
It’s worth considering for the new year, what kind of specialized travel offerings might your agency offer up to new or current clients?