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How Do I Become A Travel Agent? Everything You Need To Know

If you are considering becoming a travel agent, the timing could not be more perfect. After the last decade and a half have been dominated by Online Booking websites, consumers are once again going back to using a travel agent in search of more personalized vacation experience, local knowledge, and enhanced customer service. The once efficient online booking process, have now become crowded, insufficient and overwhelming and using a travel agent arrange travel plans, is once again the preferred option for more than half of the total travel consumer market. You have the opportunity right now to get on board at the early stage of this new shift, but before you can become a travel agent, you should first understand the business of travel.

The Travel Business
Travel is a universal language, and most people you speak to will understand what it means to travel and the different reasons they do. Travel is one of the world’s largest consumer industries so, therefore; it provides a tremendous opportunity for many individuals, organizations and establishments to capitalize on a wide variety of business opportunities created by this massive consumer demand. To become a travel agent, you must first know the different groups involved in the trade sector of the travel market and the role they will play in your day-to-day operation as a travel agent.

Regulatory Bodies – These are local and international organizations that put the rules in place to make sure an environment is created for fair trade and good business ethics in the travel industry.

Tourist Boards – Organizations put together by local government to promote a given destination, to encourage more visitors to their country.

Vendors – There are the people that own the different types of travel products that consumers purchase.

Resellers – These are the people that buy products from suppliers and resell to the end user or customers.

Consumers – These are the people that purchase and use travel products and services.

Each group consists of many sub-categories, each playing unique roles in the business of travel. Chapter 2 Of our 7 Step Guide To Starting Your Career As A Travel Agent will give you a more comprehensive overview of the different groups and organizations involved in the overall running of The Travel Industry.

What Is The Role Of A Travel Agent?
Being good at your job as travel agent means fully understanding the role that you play in the business of travel, and taking that role very seriously. Once you become a travel agent, you are taking on one of the most important roles in the business of travel. Travel Agents get to shape the type of experience each travel consumer has, every time they travel. Travel Agents are the bridge between the product vendors and suppliers and the customers. Vendors will come to you to get you to promote their product, and the customers will come to you for product knowledge and purchasing advice. A good travel agent knows that to be great at their business, having incredible relationships with both vendors and clients is imperative. Therefore finding the perfect formula of the right vendor relationships and the right clients for the products and services you promote will be key to your overall success. Ultimately, your role as a travel agent is to help consumers have the best experience possible, from purchasing to experiencing a product.

What Are The Different Types Of Travel Agents?
Every travel agent essentially does the same thing, which is sell travel products and services travel consumers. However, how they sell these products and the types of products they sell determines what kind of travel agents they are. Before you become a travel agent, know what the different types of agents are and choose the one that is right for you.

Leisure Travel Specialists – A leisure traveler is someone that travels for personal and recreational purposes, the same thing we call a vacation. A Leisure Travel Specialist is a travel agent that specializes in leisure travel products.

Corporate Travel Specialists – Corporate Travel Specialists are travel agents that work strictly with business travelers and corporations, handing business travel arrangements for their employees.

Employees – There are travel agents that work for airlines and tour operators as salary based agents. These travel agents are also known as inside sales agents.

Franchise Travel Agents – Franchise Travel Agents are travel agents that purchase a branded travel franchise from a franchisee, and operate out of a physical storefront location.

Home-Based Travel Agent – Home-based travel agents are usually independent travel agents, working for themselves, under their own brand, but using the licensing and support system of what is known as a host agency.

How Do I Earn As A Living As Travel Agent?
The way in which a travel agent earns will be dependent upon what type of travel agent we are talking about. Employee travel agents work on a set salary paid to them by their employer, in some situations, that salary might also include sales bonuses and incentives. The more popular way in which a travel agent earn is through commissions paid to them by product vendors and suppliers for the customers the travel agent bring to them. A travel agent can earn commissions from the selling a wide variety of travel products and services including, Hotel rooms, Airfare, Cruises, organized tours, travel insurance, vacation packages, car rental, train tickets, event tickets and local tours and attractions. As a travel agent, you can earn anywhere from 7% to 20% in commissions on the total cost of the products you sell. Some travel agents include a small service fee as a part of the total cost they charge to a client. If you are not an employee, you salary as a travel agent will be 100% commission based. So what you earn will be determined by how much sale you can generate.

How Do I become A Travel Agent?
There are certain basic and legal requirements that you will need to fulfill before you can legally trade travel products and services and start earning commissions. To become a travel agent, my first recommendation is that you first take the time to research the industry and get yourself some training so you are fully prepared to provide the customers that come to you with the type of service they will expect. Your next requirement will be to align yourself with an organization certified by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). You can get your own IATA certification, or you can join a Host Agency that is already certified and already has the infrastructure in place to get you quickly setup and start selling right away. When you are new to the business, finding a host agency is the recommended route as it will be almost impossible for you to obtain your IATA certification without any experience in the industry. By using a host agency, you avoid expensive upfront cost; you get access to training, and your host agency will provide you with the vendor relationships and the tools you need to run your business. Joining a host agency will require a registration fee from that is normally between $300 and $5000. Host agencies also get a small percentage of the commission you make. Every host agency has their standard commission split level that they will explain to you when conducting the registration interview. Depending on your location of permanent residence, a local certification process may also be required before you can start selling travel. Certifications are normally quick and only cost a small fee. When you speak to a host agency, they will advise you on any certification required and the fastest way to get it done.

What Do I Need To Do To Become Successful?
You will significantly increase your chance of becoming successful as a travel agent by following these simple guidelines.

Find Your Niche – Do not try to be the best at everything. Do not even attempt learning about every product available for you to sell as a travel agent. What you need to do is find a small niche in the market that you will enjoy learning and selling to your clients.

Provide Excellent Customer Service – You will keep the customers you get by providing a high level of customer service. Be quick and comprehensive in your response to customer inquiries. Go over and above when necessary to ensure your clients are always happy.

Promote Your Business – Do not sit and wait for customers to find you. Once you become a travel agent, it’s time for you to start selling and promoting your business. Setup a website, build a brand, get on social media, join networking groups. Use every medium necessary to promote your business and make it easy for customers to find you.

Be Different – Find a competitive advantage. You can sell the same products and services others are selling, but still find a way to be different and be better. There will be competition, and you will need to assess your competition and find ways in which you can differentiate yourself.

Be Committed – Building your travel business at the start will take work and dedication. Initial success may not come easy, but it is important for you to commit fully to the process and follow through on your daily tasks. You are most sure to fail if you quit. Work hard and stay committed to the process and you will reap the rewards and become a top-selling agent.

To Learn More About Becoming a travel agent and Starting Your Niche Travel Business, Send An Email To Registrations@thetravelnet.com to set up a free consultation.

 

 

 
 

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DARLENE RHODEN

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