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A career as a Travel Agent is fantastic. It’s a dream job where you not only get to organize other people’s dream vacations, but you have many opportunities to travel yourself. The best Travel Agents are those who have experienced travel, been to the destinations that they sell, and offer the best advice from a really knowledgeable point of view, or at least have a deep understanding of the destinations and adventures offered.
As a Travel Agent, you often get discounted offers to go and visit as many exotic, exciting locations as you can. So if you are looking to become a work at home travel agent, enjoy travel and adventure excites you, then this information is just for you!
The days of being a Travel Agent and working in an office have also changed. There are still brick and mortar Travel Agency’s of course, but many Travel Agents are working independently now, and work from home. It is an appealing and rewarding lifestyle – being a travel agent and working from home. So how do you do it and what does it take to start a career in the travel industry?
Why Become a Work From Home Travel Agent?
Perhaps you are looking for a career change or need something different than a regular 9-5 office job and just wish you could board a jet to anywhere- a position as a travel agent might be something perfect as a new career choice for you. You get the best of both worlds – a good career and the opportunity to travel a lot.
The American Society of Travel Agents, a trade association, is the leading global advocate for travel agents, the travel industry and the traveling public. Becoming a travel agent takes dedication, travel expertise and excellent interpersonal skills. They offer an online course for $25 that will provide you with a wealth of information about the travel agency industry as well as specific information to help you begin your career as a travel agent.
Becoming a Work At Home Travel Agent
It depends where you live and what the requirements are to become a Travel Agent in your place of abode. There are several online Travel Agent courses that you can take and you can get a diploma as a Travel Agent. Some courses are six months, others are two years, it just depends how far you want to go and what you want to learn and achieve. These are NOT required however to find a position in the travel industry as an agent- just ways to make you more comfortable with the career choice.
If you choose to go to school it’s a good idea to try and get an internship at an actual Travel Agency while you are studying, so that you get some experience. The more experience, the better. And then, work independently, work from home, be excellent at what you do, make money, build your clientele and travel at the same time! Many of the home based travel agent positions require some experience so this is a great way to go to make sure your skill set is there.
What do you Need to Become a Travel Agent
As mentioned, you do not have to have a degree in anything else, as long as you have a high school certificate. Not everyone requires this, so check the requirements of your chosen travel position online. Having a knowledge of the world helps, but is not necessary either, you can learn as you study. What does matter is that you have a love for travel, are passionate about travel and want to help others explore and travel.
The basic skill set to become a travel agent include:
- Social Skills. You need to be able to engage people and work directly with the public on a daily basis.
- Analytical Skills. Verifying the accuracy of information, analyzing, compiling, and comparing options and paying close attention to detail are essential.
- Quality Communication Skills. You will need to explain the services and pricing, present information to others, and write effectively.
- Sales & Problem Solving Skills. Most Vacations and Cruises can easily sell themselves but you need to be good at selling yourself, negotiating prices, and providing excellent customer service.
- Technical Skills. Booking travel requires the proper computer systems and managing a database of clients. There are a variety of business applications used in the travel industry.
Working from home
Working from home can be tricky for some if they have limited work space, small children at home, or are unused to working in the same environment that they live. Having lots of items to be distracted by can turn your dream work from home job into a nightmare quickly. You will need to carve out a space in your home and keep it separate from your regular daily life. This is important so you have some separation between work and home.
Have a routine
Working from home can take discipline. It is wonderful because, apart from making money, you can work on your own time and under your own conditions. You are essentially your own boss, and so how well you do is totally up to you. You do have to be fairly disciplined to work from home and it is a good idea to give yourself strict working hours.
Wake up, get dressed because that in itself is a motivation, and start daily at the same time. Be available for your clients at all times and treat your area as an actual office. The only good thing is you do not have to pay rent and you can get up and walk to the kitchen as often as you feel like it. Plus, on those cold days, you can stay in your pajamas if you really want to!
What Kind of Travel Agent Do You Want to Be
You can be a Travel Agent that works with the leisure market, or the corporate market, or both. Leisure travel means you arrange holidays and vacations for people. You may want to think about specializing in honeymoon travel or certain destinations only. Perhaps islands are your thing. As long as you keep up to date with trends, packages, good airfares and always offer your clients the best deal, you will do well.
You may prefer corporate travel where you are arranging people’s airfares and hotels, meeting rooms and transport, and all the things that go with business trips. Or you may want to specialize in conferences and incentives. You don’t have to choose one of these – leisure, corporate or conferences – you can do all of them. As long as you are good at what you do, and are able to offer your client excellent travel arrangements, you can offer it all.
What Does a Good Travel Agent Need?
You need to know how to book flights, accommodation, transport and tours to be a good agent. Car hire, private guides, private air charters, group sight-seeing or private sightseeing are all part of a package. You need to be able to offer your client’s everything. They may want you to book them a tailor made tour or a package deal.
A good Travel Agent will always offer their clients the extras – when you have booked the air and accommodation, ask them if they would like some sightseeing. Have the prices handy, or say you will come back to them with prices. Offer to book their dinners or theatre tickets, or to get sightseeing entry tickets in advance. Many agencies will provide with a list of extras you can list and make additional sales from.
Always reconfirm details
To build up a good reputation as a travel agent, especially if you work from home or work independently, you need to be great at what you do. Guide your client all the way through a booking. When it comes close to travel, reconfirm all the details and let the client know that you have reconfirmed everything for them.
Ensure the client always has an itinerary, copy of his e-ticket and the reference numbers, and all the emergency numbers. Give your number as a 24 hour emergency contact. You will be reliant on word of mouth for new bookings and new customers and if you are excellent at what you do, your existing clients will recommend you.
A Travel Franchise or Employment with A Travel Company
Once you have decided you are ready to become a Travel Agent, you can choose how you want to work. You can apply for a virtual job with a company that offers travel products or you can choose to work from home as an independent travel agent, having your own business. This still means you are affiliated to a Travel Agency or Franchise, but you work independently.
Working for a company allows you to have constant work, a salary, often times benefits, and regular hours. The company employees you to assist with travel, bookings, destination education, and more. The work is usually stable and pay is adequate.
Starting your own company or investing into a franchise is a risk. Many franchise opportunities cost over $3000 to buy into and there are no guarantees you will be successful. However, for those who know they want to work for themselves and willing to put in the time and effort to succeed then it can be a really rewarding choice.
The fees paid usually go to training, online courses, in person guidance, marketing materials, tools, and more. You will have a mentor to assist you along your journey and the commissions are all yours to keep. Many franchise owners make well over 100k a year, but for all those successful owners there are sure to be some that aren’t and that’s a risk you need to determine if you are willing to take.
Companies That Offer Remote Travel Agency Jobs
WORK FROM HOME TRAVEL-
Some have required onsite training for several weeks but after you are an employee or consultant of the company you will be working from your home location.
AAA provides travel services to its customers just like its roadside assistance and other offerings. The company also offers a variety of discounted travel such as hotels, cruises and airline packages. You can become a Virtual Travel Agent for the company, assisting the AAA customers on the various travel products available, helping them match their needs to a product.
An onsite training for about 5 to 8 weeks is required before moving to your home office. Flexible hours are available, and you’ll receive a benefits package with retirement, health insurance, paid time off, and more.
The popular cruise line company hires work at home agents to help customers plan their next vacation. You’ll be responsible for walking customers through their options, managing a database of customers, and wrapping up sales.
Cruise.com helps travelers book their next cruise vacations. The company seeks Cruise Sales Agents to work from home selling to these travelers such items as cruise vacations, vacation insurance, and other travel products.
You must have at least 2 years experience in cruise sales work. You’ll go through a paid web-based training for four weeks, which are 5 days each week for 9 hours per day. Once you’re on your own, you’ll also receive a base pay plus commission.
World Travel Holdings is a cruise and travel agency providing its services all over the world. The company is also a leader in providing work at home opportunities for its employees. As a Virtual Travel Professional, you’ll receive a computer, monitor, and other necessary equipment for the job. There is a $500 deposit for these spread out over 5 paychecks (you’ll get this back if your job ends and you return the equipment).
You’ll also receive benefits, travel discounts and paid time off.
One of the concierge services that American Express offers its customers is the travel counselor. These at-home agents are available 24/7 to help with booking travel arrangements, event tickets, and more. It’s a high-end service and does require some background in travel agency but its a rewarding position with a well known and admired brand.
Hotel Tonight offers customer service agents an opportunity to work from home assisting customers with their bookings and other travel-related questions. Their positions offer phone chat along with email and live chat.
You must have at least 1 year of experience in customer service and ideally 6 months of experience in a hotel-related position. You’ll receive a full time job with health, dental and vision health care plans for employees, Vacation days, Internet Reimbursement, 401k, and $500 of Hotel Tonight credits per quarter, a monthly stipend to put toward internet use, and more.
If you are a Disney fan- this one is for you! They are looking for passionate, hard working planners who are self starters and want to grow and maintain a successful and profitable business selling Travel. This is a sales job, so you must be motivated to increase your sales. Helping other people plan their dream Disney vacation is a great way to become a work at home travel agent!
These are reputable companies with a FEE to join but you are able to start your own company and career as an at Home Travel Agent.
Since its a Franchise- there is a legitimate Fee for this Home Business opportunity. The travel industry is one of the fastest growing industries providing a formula for long-term success. Dream Vacations offers a low cost franchise that has no overhead and no inventory- everything is provided with your single fee. You can pursue your dreams of running your own home based travel business and see the world by helping others plan the vacations they’ve always dreamed about. A great way to be your own boss and start you own career.
American Express home-based business model is one of the largest, privately owned, nationally recognized and continually awarded cruise selling agencies in the United States. Cruise Planners in association with American Express offers one of the top travel franchise opportunities with a proven sales system that’s been successful for more than 20 years. Again- there is a Fee but it you are after a real business opportunity then this is a legit company to get started with.
This company offers a mix of employment with starting up your own agency. With Virtuoso you can become a travel agent, a member or an advisor. Virtuoso member agencies are looking for new talent as well as seasoned veterans to work for them. Whether you are just starting out and need training or are an independent contractor looking for the right host agency, our members can accommodate a wide variety of career levels. They actively recruit advisors to work for our members, and we are happy to connect you with them.
Becoming an at home travel agent is a very exciting and rewarding career if you enjoy travel, adventure, and helping others. There are a number of opportunities and considerations to be had but once you dive in and test out the waters you might find it was the best choice you ever made.
As an employment-based travel agent, your employer will most likely cover the costs of starting up your home office with a few minor exceptions. But if you’re joining an agency or buying into a franchise it will cost you money to begin that business, however the reward of owning your own travel agency could be well worth it. And if you are unsure about which to start with, try a work from home position first and see how much you enjoy it and then go from there.
To look at average travel agent salaries, take a look at the bureu of labor stats. This might help to give you an idea of salary wages and more. Let us know how the search goes and which direction you choose and why! We’d love to hear from you.