Avoya Top LB HBTA Oct 17

Selecting the Right Name for Your Travel Agency

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Joanie Ogg, CTC, MCC

How important is the name you choose for your travel business? I would venture to say it is probably one of the most important decisions you will make and one that will live with you for many years to come. I guess it could be likened to naming a child. There are books, websites and more resource information available for those choosing a baby name than imaginable. It is not just about the baby anymore, but there are sites and books about naming pets, as well. It is a very important decision to choose a name as we live with it after it has been given as does the recipient or for the purposes of this article…. the business.

In the travel industry we have so many “sexy” options in choosing a name. Let’s face it; travel is sexy. Travel is exciting, educational, intriguing, fun, exploratory, thrilling, adventuresome, luxurious, relaxing and the list goes on and on. One would think choosing a name would be a pretty simple thing to do but perhaps so many choices makes it an even harder decision to make. I have been doing some research lately on choosing business names, so let me share some tips I have discovered. Some of these questions might help you with your decision or perhaps will help you as you develop a new division of your travel business (or look to expand your brand).

1. Does it say what your business does and is it authentic?
Let’s imagine I call my agency Joanie’s Cruises. Maybe I do sell cruises, but perhaps I also specialize in selling packages, groups and maybe I am very proficient at selling tours to Ireland. I would have to ask myself if just my name and the word cruises is really telling the prospective client what I do. What do you think?

2. Is the name short so that it is easily remembered?
Joanie’s Cruises, Packages, Group Travel and Tours to Ireland. Well, I for one, cannot even remember that one, so how would a client ever be able to do so? I need to shorten this name to be more memorable.

3. Is it easy to pronounce?
Travel Experiences Extraordinaire by Joanie. Now this is a tongue twister and even I do not want to have to repeat it too often. I guess this is not the right name.

4. Is it simple to spell or will it require explanation to do so?
Let’s go back up to Travel Experiences Extraordinaire by Joanie. I had to use spell-check just to spell extraordinaire and then even my family members misspell Joanie so perhaps it is not a good choice for a name based on the idea that it is difficult to spell..

5. Does it shout why your travel business is distinctive?
If we go back up to the Joanie’s Cruises (or even any of the others noted above) they all miss on this bet. Nothing shouts out at me why anyone would think my business was distinctive. It sounds to me like I do everything everyone else might do and how good could I possibly be at doing everything effectively?

6. Is it unique enough that it does not sound like a typical travel cliché?

I am not even going to go there with any of the above names I have selected. None are really unique and they all sound like same old – same old.

7. Would it offend any prospects?

I guess I can honestly say that the above choices would probably not offend anyone unless they hated to cruise, or perhaps thought group travel was not for them. It might discourage them from choosing to contact me though. Perhaps someone who really did not enjoy travel in Ireland might think they would not like me as an agent because I focus on that. It is pretty hard to get around these things, as you cannot please everyone. Being cautious not to use any controversial or other offensive parts of a business name is a very important thing to consider.

8. Does it have growth potential?
Let’s think about this one. With the Joanie’s Cruises, I rather sound like a one-lady show don’t I? It might seem strange if I had agents working with me for them to use the name Joanie’s Cruises, if in fact they were not Joanie. Am I limiting my business growth with the use of a first name?

9. Is the Domain Name Available?
In today’s world, you must be careful not to select a name that already has a brand identity online. Your agency name should be available as a domain name too.  And, only use the name if you can get the .com name that goes along with it.

10 Do you like it?
Now here is a very important question to ask yourself when choosing that travel business name. You have to not only like it, you need to love it. You have to enjoy saying it to people and you have to be proud of it. It is the essence of the beginning of your brand identity. If you are not sure about a name, talk to others whom you respect in the business world and get their honest opinion. Hit them up with a few choices, so they are not inclined to say “sure, it is great” only because you have offered a single name and not other optional ideas.

You may have been in business for some time now and changing your business name might be detrimental. If you are branching out and want to have some fun choosing a name, why not give these hints a try. If you want to run your name by me for an opinion, I would love to help!