If you’ve ever dreamed of running your own business, maybe from home or while you travel the world, becoming a travel agent could fulfil that dream. Giving you freedom that working for others cannot offer, if you have a passion to travel and love inspiring other people to follow their travel goals, consider becoming a personal travel consultant.
What are the perks of being a travel agent?
There are numerous benefits of being a travel agent, and with the travel and tourism industry growing at an annual rate of almost 10%, it’s one sector that continues to expand year on year.
So, what are the pros of being a travel agent or a personal travel consultant?
High earning potential
When you sell a travel product, such as a cruise, flight or hotel, to your customers, the supplier providing the product will pay a commission. The amount varies depending on the supplier and the product type, but typically it’s around 10%-15% of the total cost.
If you are a member of a travel franchise, which is one of the most successful ways to build a business fast, the franchise will generally take a percentage of this commission, leaving you with whatever’s left. Make sure you research who gives you the best commission before you buy a franchise. The Travel Franchise is for example, currently offers the highest rate of commission in the travel franchise field, meaning that you can receive up to 85%, depending on your payment plan’s commission rate.
No university degree is required
One of the most significant benefits of being a travel agent is that you don’t need to spend years – and lots of money – studying to gain a degree.
However, it is important to note that becoming a successful travel agent does require a certain level of knowledge and expertise. This includes understanding the different types of travel options available, such as air travel, cruise vacations, and tour packages, as well as the various destinations and attractions that are popular with travellers.
These skills can be gained from the wealth of online courses available – many of them free or with a minimal outlay. If you join a franchise, such as The Travel Franchise, you will be given access to free training, expert advice and training events. Many also provide IT skills and marketing training, to ensure you know the best way to market your travel agency, keep business records and build your customer base.
These provide all the expertise you need to build a successful travel agent business.
Opportunities to travel
One of the big perks of being a travel agent is the opportunity to travel both domestically and internationally to various destinations. This can include cruises or trips to popular holiday spots like beaches or ski resorts and more exotic locations like tropical islands, historical cities, and cultural landmarks.
You’ll often benefit from access to discounted or complimentary travel for yourself and your family. This can come in the form of group rates, industry discounts, or incentives offered by travel suppliers. You may also be able to participate in familiarisation (fam) trips, which are organised for travel industry professionals to experience a new destination and its offerings firsthand. Fam trips can be a great way to learn about new destinations and build your travel experiences, which can be helpful when advising clients.
As a travel agent, you may also have the opportunity to attend industry conferences, trade shows, and other events, both domestically and internationally. These events can be a great way to network with other professionals in the industry, learn about new destinations and products, and stay up-to-date on industry trends.
Overall, being a travel agent can provide you with many opportunities to travel and see the world, both for work and for pleasure.
Flexibility with working
One of the benefits of being an independent travel agent or running your own homeworking travel agency is the flexibility to work from anywhere, be your own boss and set your own hours. This can be particularly appealing for those looking for a career that allows a good work-life balance or want to carry on any existing job, running a travel agency as a part-time side hustle.
You may choose to work from a home office or operate your business remotely – even from a remote island paradise. As long as there is an internet connection, you can work anywhere.
What are the disadvantages of being a travel agent?
It’s essential to remember that being a travel agent can also have challenges. During the pandemic, many agents saw their earnings fall or had to spend a lot of time navigating complex border and entry rules and regulations. You will have to work hard to build a loyal customer base and retain repeat clients. If you set up your own agency there will be many fees to pay, for example, to access booking software or marketing materials.
Joining a travel franchise can appear expensive; however it’s really an investment in your future and fees typically include a business in a box: all necessary software, training, support and marketing materials.
The Travel Franchise, for example, offers three popular membership levels with financial plans available to make them even more affordable:
- Lite Package – £2,995 + VAT
- Elite Package – £14,995 + VAT
- Entrepreneur Package – £29,995 + VAT
Each package offers a vast range of benefits, including travel agent software, your own personal Business Development Manager, access to proven marketing material and your own website. There are regular exclusive training and coaching events, luxury retreats, and the opportunity to get your franchise fee refunded if you succeed in generating a certain amount of commission in one year with the unique Money-Back Challenge.
Calls at all hours
As a travel agent, your clients rely on you to handle the details and logistics of their travel arrangements, and if there’s a serious problem, you’ll be expected to solve it, whatever the time day or night.
One way to manage this dynamic is to establish clear communication channels with your clients, such as scheduling regular check-ins or setting up a system for them to contact you in case of emergencies. This can help to ensure that your clients feel taken care of and that their needs are being met, while also allowing you to manage your workload and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
It is also important to remember that as a travel agent, you are a professional service provider, not a personal assistant. While it is essential to be helpful and accommodating, it is not your responsibility to fulfil every request or whim of your clients. Setting clear boundaries and expectations establishes a healthy and professional relationship with your clients and ensures that you can provide the best possible service to them.
Building a good reputation
Building a client base and establishing yourself as a trusted and successful travel agent can take time and require a lot of hard work and dedication. It’s important to be patient and persistent in your efforts, as building a successful business often requires a long-term approach. However, by joining a franchise, such as The Travel Franchise, you’ll gain access to a network of around 450 tour operators and holiday providers, including trade-only suppliers. This means you’ll be able to build an excellent reputation with your clients by supplying holiday products from reputable, trustworthy companies.
Is becoming a travel agent worth it?
Ultimately, whether or not becoming a travel agent is worth it will depend on your personal goals, interests, and skills. If you are passionate about travel, have excellent customer service skills and enjoy helping people achieve their dream holiday, it’s a fulfilling and lucrative career. However, it is important to carefully consider the pros and cons and be prepared for the challenges of working in the travel industry.