Just like in anything, learning how to become a travel agent from home requires the urge and willingness in order to succeed. In addition, loving the work, and having an interest in it will surely be a great help, too.
So, have you ever thought about having your own travel agency? What better way to learn and master the craft by working as one first, right? As the saying goes, the experience is the best teacher.
But before you even worry about being a stay at home mom and having no time to work for a physical travel agency – well, guess what? Thanks to digital technology and the internet, you can now work as a travel agent from home.
Perhaps some of you will agree is we say that traveling places in therapeutic – especially for moms like us. There is something about going places and discovering cultures and people that make stress go away, right?
No wonder why becoming a travel agent is one of the most sought after work from home jobs especially for moms and women in general. Needless to say, working in a travel agency is actually a smart way to earn travel allowances at the same time earning a paycheck – according to an article published by FlexJobs.
Now the question is, how to be a successful travel agent from home?
Well, we got you on this, we are going to share with you some essential information about how a newbie like you can start your career in the travel industry.
We are going to specifically answer some of the common questions asked regarding being a travel agent from home, which include:
- What is a travel agent?
- Does a travel agent need a license to be able to work as one?
- How to become a travel agent from home?
- What does a travel agent from home do?
- How much does a work from home travel agent make?
WHAT IS A TRAVEL AGENT?
Travel agent refers to someone who offers travel and tourism-related services to the market or the public on behalf of suppliers or companies like airlines, hotels, cruise lines, railways, and travel insurance, as well as packaged tours.
Learn how to become a travel agent through this video shared by the American Society of Travel Advisors:
DOES A TRAVEL AGENT NEEDS LICENCE TO BE ABLE TO WORK AS ONE?
Generally speaking, there are no licensure requirements to be a travel agent.
However, there are certain states in the United States of America that require registration first before you can work as a travel agent, and these states include the following:
- Washington State
If you are a resident to any of these states and you are planning to work as a travel agent whether from home or in an actual travel agency office, you better check out the local laws. Know that each state has its own set of rules to follow. Better do your homework first, know the details of the law, and once you are already familiar with everything, and are serious about still get into this kind of business, then, you better work on getting registered.
It’s a different story though is you are going to work as a travel agent to a host agency. If that is the case, the support team will be the ones taking care of your registration and they will also be the ones giving you instructions on how to go about that.
HOW TO BECOME A TRAVEL AGENT FROM HOME?
Now, there are two ways you can work as a travel agent from home. The first is as an independent travel agent, and the other one is working for a host agency. To help you decide on which among the options is the best path to take for you, here are a few notes we can share.
Working as an Independent Travel Agent
Among the two, this is probably the more tedious one. It will need a lot of work especially since you will be starting from scratch. However, the good thing about it is – it’s yours. You own it, and that you are your own boss.
If you opt to work independently as a travel agent, first and foremost, you have to come up with a business name. Choosing a business name is all up to you. But, we highly suggest making it suitable for the kind of business you are building (of course).
Once you have a name, to make everything legal, check your local laws and regulations about putting up a travel business. Follow what needs to be done. If there’s one thing we encourage you here that is to always follow the rules. We bet you, you will be grateful for doing so in the long run – It will surely help save you away from a lot of future headaches.
Once you have all the legalities done, we highly recommend building up a website, and also, set up your social media presence by creating your travel agency’s social media pages.
Does it sound a lot of work? Well, it’s all just going to be in the beginning. It’s not like going to happen for the rest of your career or business. Remember, you are starting from scratch. A little patience and hard work will do, and will eventually pay off.
By the way, building a blog and setting up social media accounts won’t take long. In fact, you can do all that in just an hour or two.
Please know that having a website and social media pages is very important nowadays. Remember, we are in a digital age. Everyone relies on the internet. Whenever they’re looking for something, the first thing that people do is search on the internet. We bet you, if you want to be successful in this business, you better build up your online presence. Your potential clients are all in there.
If you are going to work as an independent travel agent, you are responsible for finding potential clients (and hopefully they become regular clients), looking for advertisers, etc. You will also be responsible for forming good relationships with various travel companies particularly airlines and cruise lines. You will also be working on connecting and partnering with hotels and local travel agencies if need be.
These may all sound like it needs a lot of hard work, well, yes, but eventually, once your business is up and you have our partners already that is going to be a lot easier to manage.
Working for a Host Agency
Now, if you want a more convenient way of working as a travel agent, this is the way to go. All you have to do is apply as a home-based travel agent (or usually classified as a contractor) to a host agency.
Actually, working for a host agency before putting up your own is the best way to start. You want to know why? Well, because when you work for a host agency, you get a lot of perks, which you can eventually use once you build your own travel agency business.
Most host agencies offer training to their travel agents especially if you are new to the business. Although in some cases, you will have to pay for this training. We thought it is still a good way for you to familiarize yourself in the business and gain more knowledge on how you can eventually run your own in the future.
Another perk when working for a host agency is – you get more support. Host agencies have a support team that you can get in touch with in case you have problems with clients or you have questions about the job. They are the ones that help you handle situations with customers, at the same time, help you answer customer or industry questions you are not knowledgeable about.
If you are opting to work for a host agency though, you have to know that every host agency is different from one another. So, we highly suggest that before hitting off the apply button or sending your resume to a host agency, you examine and check their work first. You may also check the Better Business Bureau to get more information about host agencies.
Now, even if you are working under a host agency, please do note that you will still be considered an independent contractor, which means you are responsible for keeping track of your income, expenses, as well as your taxes. Yes, you got to pay taxes!
Important Notes to Remember
Now that you already know the two paths to choose from should you push a career as a travel agent, and that you already have an idea how to become a travel agent from home for free, let us tackle a few more important notes to remember as you get on board into this career path.
Here we go:
Set up a home office.
This may sound unimportant, but it actually is. One of the things you need to remember on how to become a travel agent from home is to ensure that apart from knowledge, you have a nice space where you can work from.
While some people do not mind working at the dining table or in the living area, we highly recommend setting up a specific home office area where you can work without distractions and put some of the basic items you will need as you work as a travel agent. These items include:
– Desk or table to hold your laptop or desktop computer
– Laptop or desktop computer (or both – whatever is more ideal for you)
– Headset with a good mic and a noise cancellation feature (which you will be using when speaking with clients)
– Phone (mobile is okay, but a telephone line is better)
– Printer (for document printing purposes)
– High-speed internet (of course, such a very essential tool you need)
Once you have all these, you definitely are ready to take off.
Get some training.
We already mentioned a while ago that training is either given by host agencies or you can find them yourself if you are planning to work on your own.
Please note that the training you will need depends on the agency you are in. These pieces of training are essential to help you become more efficient as a travel agent. Some people though, especially the ones who are putting up their own travel agency prefers to take up crash or certificate courses or even go to college to acquire all the necessary knowledge they need.
Just so you know, an associate or a bachelor’s degree in tourism is one of the best ways to take if you are seriously planning to build up a travel agency. However, it’s not really necessary.
Networking is important especially if you are planning to build your own. By attending travel expos or tourism-related conferences, even attending pieces of training is helpful in building a good network.
Specifically, though, you should aim networking with airlines, cruise lines, hotels, etc. as these are the most essential things in a travel agency. The more people you get to know in this line of business, the better. That will help give you an edge and become more competitive in this industry.
WHAT DOES A TRAVEL AGENT FROM HOME DO?
You already know how to become a travel agent from home, what this business is all about – but what does a travel agent really do?
Well, here are some of the responsibilities of a travel agent:
– You are responsible for researching, planning, and of course, booking travel events.
As a travel agent, one of your key responsibilities includes booking vacations for your customers or clients. But, before being able to do so, you have to first, do research.
The needs of clients vary from one person to another. That is why it is important that as a travel agent, your research activities or travel destinations based on what the client is looking for. You also have to take into consideration their budget for the trip.
Being their travel agent, you will need to provide them with the best deals possible on airfare, hotels, activities, and more.
If you are working for a host agency, this can would be a lot easier because host agencies are the ones to take care of having the deals readily available for you and your client.
– You are responsible for doing some event coordination.
One of the best examples of this is when you have a client who is planning to do a destination wedding. In this case, you will need to help your client travel plans. In some cases, clients also ask help in finding and booking venues for the wedding and all.
You know, as a travel agent or as an agency as a whole, your priority will always be to provide excellent customer service to your clients. That is why as much as you can, you will have to accommodate clients’ requests – but of course, you have to ensure that the requests are still within your scope of work or what the agency provides.
By the way, great customer service will take you to great heights. It’s actually one of the secrets to success in this kind of business.
HOW MUCH DOES A WORK FROM HOME TRAVEL AGENT MAKE?
You already know how to become a travel agent from home, so here’s one of the most awaited details of all – how much money does a travel agent from home make?
How much you make actually depends on your years of experience in the industry, the number of clients you are able to maintain, the number of hours you worked, commission, and in some cases, the support you get from your home agency – if you are working for a home agency.
At an average, a home-based travel agent can make $31,000 a year. Totally not bad at all. So, imagine how much more you get if you run your own business, right? But there’s also a greater chance of earning a bigger amount of money when you are working in particular markets or vacation types.
Now, here’s one more thing. Apart from earning, you also get some perks as a travel agent. For instance, you get first notice when there are great travel deals coming ahead, some hotels and partner agencies offer “familiarization” trips (which is given for free by the way), you may get to qualify for great travel discounts, and in some cases, and you get to enjoy tax deductions for travel.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON HOW TO BECOME A TRAVEL AGENT FROM HOME
It’s amazing knowing that even the travel agency has already joined the work from home bandwagon.
Today, stay at home moms with travel interests can work in the industry by becoming a virtual travel agent.
Whether you go start your own travel agency business or work for a host agency instead, we are a hundred and one percent sure that you will do great if you have the right knowledge and skills for the job.