You may have thought about how to become a travel agent if you spend your days looking at flights, love hotel rewards points, and love to travel in general.
Even though Expedia has made travel agents less important than they used to be, people still use them a lot more than you might think. Though people don’t call a travel agent every time they need to book a short flight, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to talk to a pro about a big trip.
This is especially true for honeymoons or “bucket list” trips with a lot of moving parts, like coordinating tour companies, translators, or stays at more than one resort. Most of the time, it’s easier to let someone else take care of the details, like a travel agent.
You don’t have to have worked in a certain job to become a travel agent, so it’s fine if you want to start a new career. If you want to become a travel agent, you have to start somewhere, and the sooner you do, the sooner you’ll get clients.
On the other hand, if you want to use your experience in a semi-related field, like marketing or hospitality, that can help because you’ll know more about your new job. Either way, becoming a travel agent can be a rewarding job with some fun perks. Here’s what you need to know to get started.
To become a travel agent, do you need to go to school.
Tourism certifications are offered by some four-year colleges, community colleges, and trade schools, but they are not required to become a travel agent. Tourism certificates can be very useful, but so can training in marketing, customer service, or even event planning.
In the end, if you want to be a travel agent, you will need to know a lot about destinations, sales, planning itineraries, and booking software. It depends on how much training you need before you can work as a full-fledged travel agent. You could start working right after high school, or you could take one to four years to get a certificate, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree in tourism.
You could also switch careers if you already work in a related field. For example, you could use your experience as a destination wedding planner to become a travel agent.
Are there training programs available
To get your certification, you could take classes with a company like The Travel Institute. Not only will they teach you how to plan itineraries, but they will also make sure you learn about different cultures, the geography of the world, and different things you can do all over the world. They will also help you figure out what you want to do with your business.
The logistics of how to become a travel agent
Most likely, if you want to be a travel agent, you’ll have to start your own business. On the plus side, it doesn’t take up too much space. For example, if you want to start a small business by opening a yoga studio, you will need to rent a space, deal with permits, buy supplies, build a website, and pay yoga teachers and someone to work the front desk.
But if you want to start a business that you can run from your living room, there aren’t as many costs upfront.
Do you want to start a company or an LLC?
You’ll need to decide what kind of business you want to start. Do you want to start a company or an LLC? Would you rather own your own business? Getting a business incorporated takes the most work and often costs the most.
Becoming an LLC is a good compromise because it protects you as a business entity without costing you as much. Most people who own small businesses form an LLC to protect their own assets. If someone sues you as an LLC, they can take your business assets, but they can’t take your house, car, or savings.
If you choose to be a sole proprietor, which doesn’t cost anything or take much work, you are basically a freelancer or independent contractor. You can have both an LLC and work as a freelancer. The two are not mutually exclusive.
If you want to be an independent contractor, it probably means you’re working for a larger host agency, which is smart when you’re just starting out as a travel agent. In the future, you can also own a travel agency franchise. The costs of running a franchise might be higher, which would be a reason to incorporate.
If you’re a self-employed worker, you should know that your taxes won’t be as easy as they might be for a full-time worker. You might need to start keeping track of your business expenses because you might be able to write them off. Your employer might not give you things like health insurance.
As you think about your new job, you might want to sit down with a well-known travel agent and ask them some practical questions: Where do they get insurance for their health? How do they keep track of how much they make and how much they spend? Do they get a tax preparer to help them? You can talk to the travel agent about the pros and cons of working for a bigger agency while you are there.
If you don’t know how to get in touch with other travel agents, you could use social media like LinkedIn or Instagram.
Things to think about if you want to be a travel agent
After you get a job as a travel agent, you should think about how you can make more money and stand out from other agents. As you start your career, here are three things to think about when becoming an agent.
How do commissions work if you are an independent contractor for a larger travel agency? Make sure you talk about this right away before you accept the job. When you’re just starting out, you want to make sure that the commission rate you’re getting is about the same as the average in the industry.
How do you make more money as a travel agent? How do you get more clients? Clients, clients. You want happy customers who will always come back to you when they want to book a trip. You’ll want to keep your clients happy by finding them great deals, putting together amazing experiences for them, and just being easy to work with.
Setting up a niche
This is not required to become a travel agent, but as you build your career, you might want to think about specializing in a certain area. For instance, maybe you specialize in travel for honeymoons, luxury travel, or adventure travel. Your niche can help you get clients, and it can be anything related to travel as long as there is a need for it.
How to Become a Travel Agent in this Pandemic
With travel restrictions all over the world because of the coronavirus pandemic, it may seem strange to become a travel agent right now. But travelers need more help than ever to plan their next trips, so your knowledge will be useful as people try to figure out how to travel in a world that is always changing.
Kristen Korey Pike, a top travel advisor for Travel + Leisure, says, “A global pandemic may seem like an odd time to join the travel industry, but if you’ve always wanted to try travel consulting, there’s no better time than now.” She also said, “With many restrictions still in place, now is a good time to learn how the business works so you’ll be ready when travel comes back with a bang.”
Before you become a travel agent, there are six things you should know.
YOU’LL MAKE A GOOD LIVING, AND YOU’LL GET TO TRAVEL THE WORLD LIKE A ROCK STAR.
You get paid on commission, which means that you make money based on the trips you book for your clients.
Most of your payment will come from the commission, so you’re a salesperson first and foremost. When you work for a travel agency as an in-house agent, you usually get a base salary and a commission split.
On-staff jobs at agencies are becoming less common, but they are still in demand. This can be different from one agency to the next and also depends on how much experience you have. For example, let’s say for instance you have an 80-20 commission split. That means that if you book a hotel and get a 10% commission, 80% of that commission goes to your agency, and 20% goes to you.
If you have enough clients, you can become an independent agent, which means you work for yourself but are still connected to a host agency. As an independent agent, you lose your base salary but keep your commission.
IF YOU WORK AS AN INDEPENDENT AGENT, YOU NEED YOUR OWN INSURANCE.
In a situation, you mess up a client’s itinerary, and they miss their $6,000-a-seat first-class flight because of it. You are to blame if you did something wrong. O’Shaughnessy warns, “There are a lot of things that can go wrong, and they will.” You must have errors and omissions insurance, which can be expensive, but if you make a mistake, you won’t have to pay for it out of your own pocket.
“TRAVEL AGENTS” AND “TRAVEL ADVISORS” ARE MOSTLY THE SAME, BUT ADVISERS TEND TO PLAN MORE HOLISTICALLY.
In the past, travel agents mostly helped clients book hotels. Now, a travel adviser gives clients a complete picture of their trip. “If someone says, ‘I want to go to Cabo and do all these exciting things,’ we might say, ‘Okay, great, you can go to Cabo, but you might not want to stay on the strip. You might want to think about staying at the new Four Seasons hotel that just opened on the cape. There’s a lot more to do on that side of the destination,’ says Pindar.
Traveling is a normal part of the job, but it’s not a vacation.
Every few months, travel agents go on “fam trips,” which is short for “familiarization.” According to O’Shaughnessy, these trips sound both amazing and tiring:
“You try everything you’d want to sell to your clients: you stay in the hotels, eat the food, and get massages. You can sometimes even bring a guest. The first few times you do it, it feels crazy expensive, and it is. But it would be best if you were working. The next day, you have to get up at 7 a.m. and be professional while visiting up to 10 hotels, checking out each room, and making notes on everything”
Pindar says the same thing: “Ninety percent of the time we travel, it’s usually to learn something.” Travel agents need to know everything there is to know about a place because they often give advice based on their own experiences for example best cities to live in the USA.
When you are moving on the road, the days can be long. You’re expected to go to breakfast meetings, be out all day, and catch up on emails by the time dinner is over. People might think that traveling is glamorous, but it’s actually a lot of work.
Creating a niche is very important
No one can know everything about the whole world, so the best travel agents choose an area to focus on. You could talk about cruises, safaris in Africa, or trips to Italy. “Before I started my own business, I specialized in honeymoons and travel for destination weddings. I chose Tahiti, Fiji, Mexico, Hawaii, and the Caribbean as my top five choices. “I knew every hotel, every restaurant, and every romantic thing to do in those areas,” O’Shaughnessy says.
Frequently asked questions
Do you need a license to be a travel agent?
Online travel agents who work from home might need a license to be able to run their businesses. States have different laws about whether or not you need a license. Getting a license in one state is different from getting one in another.
Six states have strict rules about selling travel right now: California, Florida, Iowa, Washington, Hawaii, and Nevada. Even if you only plan to sell to people in a state that doesn’t require a license, you should still get one.
Also, many states require a license if you set up a DBA (doing business as) name and want to sell travel insurance under that name. Through our franchise, if you pass the first franchise class, you become a certified travel agent. If you want to sell travel insurance, we help you get registered to do so, and you can start selling travel.
Dream Vacations is one of the best companies for people who want to work from home as travel agents. They offer a training and certification course that lets anyone start their business right away. Check your state’s rules to see if you need a license.
What Does a Home-Based Business Look Like?
A business where the main office is in the owner’s home is called a “home-based business.” Depending on the type of business, most home-based businesses have certain tax breaks and may need certain licenses and permits. Even if you rent your home, you can still start a business from home.
Do you have to go to school to work as a travel agent?
Travel agents who work from home must get a certification before they can start their business. Owners of a Dream Vacations franchise only need a computer, the internet, and a phone to run their business and become travel agents, even if they don’t have any experience in the field. All operating systems are web-based, so you can run your whole business from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection.
How much does it cost to open a business from home?
How much it costs to start a home-based business depends on the type of business. Dream Vacations and CruiseOne franchise owners can choose from one of three levels to learn how to become a travel agent from home and start their business with little money:
Level 1: First time in the business, $109,8500: You can start your journey as a travel franchise owner with as little as $3,500 down. Ask if you can get a discount of up to 30% on the franchise fee.
Level 2 | Intermediate | $3,195
Level 3: Proficient, $495
After buying a franchise, call a travel agent who needs a computer with an internet connection and a phone to get their business up and running and start making money right away.
Lastly, ensure you visit the Moden News homepage and also check out our Jobs in USA category, for more essential information.