Are you tired of your 9-5 job? Does it seem as if no matter how hard you work, you’re still barely making enough? Would you like to have more time with your family? If so, working from home as a Travel Agent could be the perfect solution for you.
For many people, lockdown was an unexpected lightbulb moment. A moment in time that disrupted our busy lives. Most people who became travel agents from home post-March 2020 said that lockdown made them reassess and reevaluate their life.
At this stage, you must have lots of questions surrounding how to become a travel agent so, that’s why we put together the 8 most popular questions people ask when researching this topic.
As the home-working agency of the year for 5 years in a row and 5-star rated on Trustpilot, who better to guide you through?
1) Do you need any prior experience to become a travel agent from home?
A resounding no. With no prior experience in the travel industry, you can still make it happen. The cool thing about becoming a travel agent from home is that your past choices or career path to date have no influence whatsoever on your ability to make it a success.
99% of people who join us have a passion for travel but have no prior experience in the industry.
From accountants to investment bankers, security officers, estate agents, at home mums, biochemists, and marketing managers, people from every type of career and background have become travel agents from home.
When looking at our existing and most successful franchisees to date, their previous career choices have no influence whatsoever. See the faces and hear the stories from people who changed their life…
- Meet Warren, an investment banker
- Meet Soraya, Corporate Catering
- Meet Frances, oil, and gas
- Meet Deepkamal, TV production
- Meet Leigh, cleaning franchise
- Meet Julie, a Zumba teacher
- Meet Faye, an at-home mum
- Meet Angela, a celebrant
- Meet Peter, a tour guide
2) What are the qualifications or skills you need to become a travel agent?
To become a travel agent from home you don’t need to have a prior qualification. Although having a degree or A-level in travel and tourism can be a nice addition, it’s not necessary.
Our live, online training will be the only certification you need to become a travel agent with ABTA and ATOL protection.
There are some key skills you’ll need to be a successful travel agent and business owner. 99% of people don’t have all these skills at the beginning of their journey and it’s impossible to be an expert across the board.
Some companies provide full-time and part-time training, either in the classroom or online, in which they’ll teach you everything you need to know to become a travel agent. You’ll need a laptop, an internet connection (and a smile), that’s about it.
With so much to learn when starting your own business, it’s impossible to do it all in one sitting. That’s why we provide ongoing training sessions, weekly calls, and a personal travel coach.
The important thing to focus on is your strengths, on what you do know, not what you don’t.
We’ve seen highly qualified accountants become travel agents at home look to their skills in business forecasting and accountancy. On the other hand, we see car sales managers reflect on their customer service and sales experience, which will be helpful in the role of a travel agent.
See below some of the skills that are part of the travel agent’s toolbox:
- Great organisational skills
- Customer service skills
- Sales skills
- Online marketing skills
- Excellent communications skills
- Business planning and forecasting
- Trade and industry knowledge
- Basic IT skills
- Empathy and patience
3) What is the purpose of a travel agent in today’s market?
Planning a holiday or even a group trip away is a time-consuming and sometimes complicated process. Travel agents provide a valuable service by giving expert advice in an industry they are knowledgeable about. They have access to great packages, prices, and know the latest offers, often having information that cannot be found or accessed online.
Travel agents have the ability to book flights, cruises, rental cars, hotels, and private villas, and even attraction tickets. Becoming a one-stop-shop for everything a customer needs when going away.
In a fast-paced world where people value their time off work and quality time away with their nearest and dearest, the booking of a holiday is one of the most important things to get right.
A great travel agent or Personal Travel Consultant won’t just sell a holiday. Instead, they help customers get more for their money, help them to make better choices on where to stay, and navigate around obstacles.
12 reasons why people book holidays with travel agents:
- They save customers time and stress
- They have the customers back if they need an advocate
- They are first to know in a world which is ever-changing
- Like any professional, they are expert in their industry
- They are much more convenient
- They really care and are passionate about travel
- They have better and more access
- They are perfect for group bookings
- Giving more value for money
- They’ll save a customer preference for future travel
- They are always in the know
- They can provide recommendations and advice
You can read more about these 12 reasons here.
4) What does a day in the life of a travel agent look like?
It’s very hard to put into words a typical day for a travel agent. Every day is different. It’s even harder to do when you consider the difference in lifestyles between travel agents. Some do it full-time, some work another job alongside and are part-time, others are at home mums; the list goes on.
The things you can come to expect in a travel agent’s day are:
- Picking up the phone to an unhappy or happy customer
- Responding on email to new enquiries
- Posting on Facebook a new offer or inspirational story
- Putting together a quote for a new holiday enquiry
- Researching new holiday offers in your niche
- Attending a trade or suppliers online conference call
Nicola one of our franchisees gave us an idea of her typical week below. You can read more of Nicola’s story here.
A week depends on which day of my life I’m at, whether it’s working my other part-time job, or whether it’s a travel business day.
If I’m working on my other job, that’s what I’ll be doing. Then outside of those hours, as much time as I can commit to the travel business is what I do.
That’s evenings, weekends too.
Travelling is a very personal thing, and the best travel agents have a sense of empathy for what the customer wants to get out of the trip, whether it’s beautiful memories with their family or an experience of a lifetime or perhaps a deeper understanding of the local culture.
Take a look at this video below to get a sense of what it means to book holidays for people.
5) Can you make money as a travel agent at home?
Absolutely. Equally becoming a travel agent from home (aka Personal Travel Consultant) is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
As a travel agent, you earn money via commissions. As an independent agent, you lose the luxury of a base salary. You’ll earn a commission every time someone books a holiday with you.
When you sell a flight, holiday, or cruise – you earn a commission from the travel supplier who will be providing the end experience for that customer.
The more complex the trip, the more you can charge and, therefore, the more profit for you.
The amount of money you make is up to you. There is no limit or cap to your earnings. It’s not a set salary.
If you have 10 customers or 100 customers and if you have a lot of repeat business or spend very little time promoting yourself will determine how much you make.
The commission is different for every type of holiday and suppliers often pay a different percentage %. What you can earn from a flight booking, compared to a hotel varies. A booking for a package holiday in Spain will bring you a different % of commission compared to a personalised, round-the-world, tailor-made trip for example.
Below are some real stories, which will show you what’s possible…
- Rachel, a travel agent, made a £31,000 booking for a family this year
- Palvi, a travel agent, celebrated 2 million in sales this year
- llesh, a travel agent and networker, saw a £29.k booking
- David, a travel agent, sold £175k of travel during lockdown
There are travel agents making 6 figures a year, whilst others enjoy a boost to their house-hold of £20k a year. Ultimately it comes down to your own goals, and what you’re willing to put in.
6) What are the Pros and Cons of being a travel agent?
The main advantages…
- The flexibility to work from anywhere whether at home or on a tropical island. Since your primary role is to sell travel, going on holiday or having lots of mini-breaks is advantageous. As you’ll be able to take pictures, videos and share it on social, expand your knowledge of a destination, and get clued up on the best hotels in that country.
- Being your own boss. People who have chosen to become a travel agent from home love the ability to set their own work schedule. If your goal is to achieve another source of income, alongside another job or role like being a full-time mum. The job is versatile enough to allow you to set your own working hours.
- The unlimited earning potential. Earning a commission every time someone books a holiday means there is no limit.
- It’s an exciting industry to be in, which is ever-changing and evolving. It’s also a great product. Travel is a popular topic that everyone loves to talk about. Selling holidays is the ultimate feel good.
The things to be aware of…
- The job is demanding and can be stressful. Since that human touch and personalised experience is what differentiates a travel agent from an online booking platform, you might need to answer that call in the middle of the night or work on weekends. Some travel agents report helping customers when on holiday themselves.
- Being a travel agent is a commission-based pay – no sales, no pay. You’ll need to brush up on your sales skills, as ultimately you will be selling travel to customers and will be paid once they travel.
- If you work as an independent travel agent you’ll need to get your own travel insurance. There are hundreds of things that can go wrong, and inevitably something will, insurance will protect you and your business.
- Developing a niche is essential in a competitive market like travel. You might choose to focus on eco-friendly travel, or in luxury Safaris, New York trips, or become the expert for honeymoons.
You can read 8 reasons to become a travel agent here.
7) What is becoming a travel agent all about?
There are many aspects to being a travel agent, but it’s worth highlighting that the relationships you build and nurture with both customers and suppliers are essential.
How do you make more money as a travel agent? Clients, clients, clients. The key is to have happy customers who’ll return to you every year or time they need a break. So you don’t have to spend time finding new customers each time, building a solid and loyal customer base is key. This will come from nurturing relationships with customers over time, delivering personalised, outstanding customer service everytime.
Meet Palvi, a travel agent gives her 5 top tips on this here.
Meet Julie, a travel agent who shares how she has succeeded
8) What are the main differences between being an independent travel agent or joining a franchise?
When anyone is thinking about becoming a travel agent the key question to ask is ‘Do I do it alone, or do I join an established travel company?’
Both choices have pros and cons, and only you can decide which path is the right one for you to take. The popularity of joining a franchise has grown exponentially in the UK in the last 20 years.
Half of all independent new businesses fail within their first two years whilst 90% of franchise businesses become profitable in that same period of time.
But why do people pay money to a company to start their travel business? There are many reasons, here are a few…
- Access to a tried, tested, and ready-made business model
- The initial and ongoing support, not to mention the essential training
- When you invest you join a business with a financial backbone
- Less worry in terms of legal compliance, systems, procedures
- Use of a trusted, known brand in the market, with authority
You can read more about how to start a travel business here.