Planning a vacation is a complicated and time-consuming process. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of using a travel agent to help plan and book your family travel!
Having a professional help with the planning and logistics of your travel plans can have a big impact on how much you spend on — and how much you enjoy — your family vacation.
As travel becomes more and more complicated, and your vacation time more valuable, let’s take a look at the 7 reasons to use a travel agent to book your travel in 2022 and beyond!
This post contains affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. For more info, see disclosure.
What is a Travel Agent?
A travel agent is an individual who both provides and arranges travel or tourism-related services to the general public. This is done so on behalf of the travel agent’s accommodation or travel suppliers.
Travel agents simplify the travel planning process by booking flights, cruises, rental cars and hotels, as well as resort stays and events.
They offer vacation and accommodation suggestions based on their experience and research as well as work within a set monetary budget if desired.
Most importantly, travel agents are invested in their clients’ happiness and satisfaction.
They work to make sure that each and every detail of your trip is accounted for in order to help ensure that you have a memorable, hassle-free family vacation!
Benefits of Using A Travel Agent
In order to help explain the undeniable benefits of using a travel agent to book your future travel, I’ve partnered with Sandy Haddick, owner of Dreams are Forever Travel.
Sandy is a passionate travel agent based out of Rochester, Minnesota who consistently goes above and beyond to meet the travel needs of her clients both near and far.
Together, we’ll explain several travel agent benefits, as well as review reasons why to use a travel agent instead of booking online.
1. Travel is their expertise.
The #1 benefit of using a travel agent when it comes to booking your family travel is because travel is their expertise.
Much like you would hire an electrician to handle a wiring issue, or a financial planner to help manage your money, you should turn to a travel professional when you’re in need of assistance with your travels.
Travel agents are trained to know, understand, and adapt to all different forms of travel.
They research information on their client’s travel plans and relay important details including travel advisories, recent news, weather conditions, and required documents for your destination.
2. Destination knowledge.
Travel agents uncover new destinations and are constantly on the lookout for the best trips and travel recommendations.
Likewise, they are the best resources to contact when looking to book unique places to stay in the USA and beyond!
Not only do travel agents travel the world to serve as a resource for their clients, but they have an abundance of other travel-related resources to answer your questions quickly and correctly.
Their recommendations cater to various travel purposes, whether it be family, group, or multi-generational leisure or business-related travel.
Travel agents offer the convenience of having every aspect of your vacation or trip pulled together in one comprehensive plan.
This includes researching and suggesting destinations, as well as arranging for flights, accommodations, airport transportation, and excursions.
By doing so, all of the guesswork is taken out of these selections and your final details will be available in one hub of information provided to you by your travel agent.
*For additional travel convenience, click the following image to get your FREE family vacation packing list that is both customizable and printable!
4. Cost savings.
Many people might be hesitant to work with a travel agent because they think it will cost them extra money.
They may also assume that they’ll spend more money working with a travel agent than when booking vacations on their own.
The fact is that travelers do not pay more for vacations when working with a travel agent and instead, often save more money than they would if booking online.
Not only do travel agents have access to exclusive deals, but they keep track of current vacation promotions, can advise you on the best time to book, as well as calculate the value of what you will receive.
The relationship you’ll form with your travel agent, as well as their relationships with other agents, are two of the benefits of using a travel agent.
Through getting to know you, a travel agent will honor your personal vacation requests and hand-pick its details to tailor to your needs.
The relationships that travel agents have with properties and other travel professionals will get you into incredible experiences and save you from unknowns.
Often times, room preferences, dietary needs, and other special requests can be seamlessly accommodated by the benefits of using a travel agent and their connections.
Additional recommended reading: 9 Tips For Keeping Your Family Healthy While Traveling
6. Travel assistance.
One of the best benefits of using a travel agent is the travel assistance that you will get in working with an actual person, versus the Internet.
During our recent family vacation to Mexico, our travel agent was able to help our large group deal with last-minute flight changes and staggered arrival times.
The personalized attention that we received was an essential component to the success and overall enjoyment of the trip.
Quite simply, when working with a travel agent, they take care of everything.
From the moment you set foot in the destination to the moment you touch the ground back home, dedicated travel assistance is an undeniable benefit of using a travel agent.
7. Decreased stress.
Another one of the top benefits of using a travel agent is that they always have your back!
Travel agents exist to assist their clients in making travel as smooth and as stress-free as possible. In the rare case that something on a trip doesn’t go as planned, travel agents are there to resolve the problem, so that you can continue to relax and enjoy.
Not only that, but self-directed internet searches provide overwhelming amounts of information.
To make a trip extra special it’s best to have someone who knows how to connect all that information and turn it into an itinerary that is seamless and stress-free.
Benefits of Using A Travel Agent – About Our Guest
“Hi! I’m Sandy Haddick, owner of Dreams are Forever Travel!
I have been planning travel from a young age.
My first memory as a Travel Planner is when I was 8 years old. I asked my mom if I could map out our route to South Dakota from the west coast.
After that, I was hooked!
As I grew up, I became the “go-to” person for friends and family when it came to travel.
At Dreams are Forever Travel, I specialize in leisure travel for families, couples, groups, and solo travelers. I help my clients by crafting the perfect vacation to suit their needs & desires at no additional cost to them.
When I’m not making travel dreams come true, I love to travel with my own family.
I enjoy visiting different destinations to gain valuable first-hand knowledge for my clients.
Please, visit my website or contact me to plan your next adventure!”
If you liked reading our Top 7 Benefits of Using a Travel Agent, click here to check out our Related Posts:
- Top 10 Tips for Planning a Family Road Trip (And Enjoying it Too!)
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- Top 16 Tips for Flying With Kids & Ways to Keep them Calm
- The Ultimate Guide for International Travel with Kids
- 8 (Unexpected) Benefits of Traveling With Kids
*Before leaving, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to find our exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*
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— Update: 10-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article 14 Pros and Cons of Being a Travel Agent: Is It Stressful? from the website viatravelers.com for the keyword benefits of being a travel agent.
The travel industry is one that offers numerous job opportunities. Travel agents are among the most common and revered workers in the industry. If you are thinking of changing careers or adding a part-time hustle as a travel agent, here are the main pros and cons of being a travel agent that you should consider.
Is travel your passion? If you love traveling or helping people fulfill their travel dreams, becoming a travel agent might be an excellent option.
Nowadays, we all want a job that is flexible enough to save you some you-time while still promising financial stability.
Although this can be an incredible job option, there are still some pros and cons of being a travel agent.
Even with all the benefits, it’s not always an-all-rosy career.
For this reason, if you plan to become a travel agent, whether fulltime or part-time, this blog is then a must-read piece.
We will explore all the pros and cons of being a travel agent to help you make a fact-based decision on your next move.
7 Advantages of Being a Travel Agent
Want to know the pros of being a travel agent to evaluate your stress level? Let’s get into it.
1) Flexibility and Mobility
In the age we are in, people are looking for careers that allow for mobility in terms of working hours and location.
Flexibility is one significant benefit of a travel agent career. Since your primary job is to sell travel products (tickets and tour packages), how and where you undertake the tasks is your worry.
For instance, some agents will work from offices, others from call centers, while others will decide to go completely freelance and become home-based agents.
And, whether you want to work while on a trip to London, or from your home office, the job offers such mobility.
You can grab a travel agent job that is completely remote by joining a program like FlexJobs which offers hundreds of job opportunities.
2) Travel Opportunities
For any business, you must be good at what you do, to gain customers’ trust. Being a travel agent means that you must have an in-depth idea of what you are offering your customers.
In this view, you must travel a lot to see and experience some of the destinations you are selling.
Luckily, most of these destinations and hotels offer travel agents discounted trips in the form of FAM trips. These are meant to help with your research and give you an experience of the services, as your customers will have them.
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Through such trips, you get to gather facts and have extensive knowledge to share with your customers.
See Related: Best Weekend Trips from Amsterdam: Top Getaway Options
3) Becoming Your Own Boss
Becoming a travel agent is one career path that offers the flexibility of owning a business of your own. If you are tired of the routine and hustle of being employed, it might as well be the best time to make that leap.
Freelance and independent travel agents are gaining traction each day, and you can easily take advantage of the trend.
All you need is a little research on how to become a home-based travel agent, and you are good to start. The best thing about self-employment is that you can set your working schedule, and decide where you want to work from.
The internet has made remote jobs quite possible. That’s why a remote or home-based travel agent is one of the best travel agent jobs you can have. You get to create your hours and you’ll have fewer operating expenses to generate revenue.
You can start a travel agency with a click of a button by using Bluehost.
You’ll have your website up and running in no time and for a limited cost. It’s only $3.95/month and you’ll get a free domain name along the way.
See Related: Ways to Book the Cheapest First Class Flights
4) Work Part-time
If your goal is to achieve a secondary source of income, then a travel agent profession can suit you well. The job is versatile enough, allowing you to set your own working hours, to match your full-time job.
Better still, if you decide to make the travel agent job your primary job, it still allows you to have another side hustle with ease.
This means that you don’t have to experience financial dry spells even during off-peak travel seasons.
5) Variety of Job Options
Being a travel agent offers numerous job opportunities to specialize in. You have a chance to concentrate on an area that best suits your passion and capabilities.
For instance, you can decide to deal with cruises, honeymoon travel destinations, African safaris, or vacation destinations in the Caribbean. There’s so much you can do as an agent.
You also have a choice on where to work. You can work for local travel agencies, overseas companies, large corporations, or even as an independent travel agent.
Check the job opportunities on FlexJobs now.
6) Decent Earning Potential
Possible income is a major consideration when choosing any career path. Although the earnings of travel agents are not all that exorbitant, the job promises decent pay.
For instance, the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ 2019 report put the median annual income for travel agents at $44,410. This can, however, be higher, depending on the type of travel job and commissions.
In fact, reports from other researchers like Pindar, indicate that agents can earn between $50 and $500k annually.
7) No Need for Special Training
Travel agents, unlike in many other careers, do not require undergoing expensive, specialized training.
It’s mostly about passion in the travel industry plus a simple accreditation that you can attain online for free.
This makes it quite flexible, to pursue a career as a travel agent or even start your independent agency.
With proper research, a well-laid plan, and a specific niche to serve, you can sell travel products even from that comfortable couch at home.
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Cons of Being a Travel Agent
Although the job seems all classy and fun, it also has its drawbacks. Some of the main challenges of being a travel agent might include:
1) The Job is Demanding
This is one of the major disadvantages of being a travel agent. When you become a travel agent, you must be ready to avail yourself almost on a 24/7 basis.
This is mainly due to the difference in time zones across the world.
As your clients travel to a different time zone, they might want to contact you in case of an issue or need some clarifications – this can be at any time of the day.
Also, some customers are just nagging and demanding.
But since that human touch is what differentiates you from online booking services, you might need to answer that call in the middle of the night.
See Related: 8 Hotel Digital Marketing Tips to Grow
2) Shaky Job Security
Since travelers now have more access to information than ever, most of them are quite knowledgeable and are planning the trips themselves.
Through online booking, customers can easily plan and go for a trip without the need of a human travel agent. This is putting the job security for the agents in jeopardy each day.
Also, since this might drop sales turnover for the travel agents, their jobs are at risk if they can’t hit targets. Remember, these agents are paid on commission – few sales, less money.
3) Creating and Maintaining a Credible Online Presence
With numerous large agencies and travel corporations sharing the online space, competition becomes significantly steep. For independent agents, this can be quite a challenge.
You have to find your place among those bigwigs and demand visibility if you’re to survive in the industry. This means that just a simple website won’t suffice.
You must create a responsive website that is not only easy to access, but also helps to answer all your customers’ questions.
Don’t be mean with your website. Investing in organic traffic and content marketing can play a major role in your website’s visibility.
4) An Array of Choices for Customers
With so many agents available in the market, the customers are spoiled for choice.
Travelers have more options to choose from, especially with the online travel agencies flooding the market.
This means that although people are always traveling, you have to position yourself uniquely to attract their attention.
What differentiates you from your competition?
Finding that unique selling point is thus quite necessary.
See Related: How to Use Pinterest in the Tourism Industry
5) Increased Transparency in Prices
The internet age has brought with it a few challenges.
Unlike in the past, customers are no longer naïve when it comes to matters of prices. A lot of information is readily available online, and they can access it at any time.
This means that customers can now browse for different prices and offers and choose the one that best fits their budget and needs.
What this has done is to make the market even more competitive.
Travel agents now have to offer more than just price undercuttings to survive in this market.
6) It Can be Stressing
How is being a travel agent stressful with all the perks, travels, and flexibility?
Well, as we mentioned earlier, the job comes with its share of challenges and drawbacks.
Travel agents can get bombarded with work pressures from all sides, such as:
- The need to always have up-to-date information
- Peak season pressures
- Ever looming risk of being fired – for the employed agents
- Commission-based pay – no sales, no pay
All these are stress-contributing factors that can make this job, not so amazing for those who don’t want to deal with constant pressure.
See Related: Gifts for Couples Who Travel
7) Possible Customer Lawsuits
This is one thing that can hurt both your reputation and finances. Just like in many other business fields, customers nowadays tend to use lawsuits more when trying to settle disputes.
You might find yourself being sued by a customer claiming such things as negligence or misrepresentation.
And although you are not responsible for what happens during the trip, your clients expect you to offer accurate trip information and advice.
Having an insurance policy to cover such occurrences might ideally come in handy.
See Related: Can I Travel During the Naturalization Process?
What is Exciting about Being a Travel Agent?
More and More Travel
If you love traveling, then this will really be an exciting career. Travel agents get lots of chances to travel for research and familiarization – FAM travels.
As travel destinations, tours and hotels are competing for travelers, they often offer travel agents discounted travels, to entice them into recommending clients.
This means that the agents can enjoy numerous travels, and are not always stuck behind a computer and a phone.
For people passionate about travel, being a travel agent allows you to work and enjoy travel at all at once.
Make Money Doing What You Love
If travel is your thing, then selling travel products and planning tours for people might be just what you need.
Being a travel agent allows you to make a living while pursuing your passion. You’ll spend more time researching and planning for tours, helping others create life-long memories.
Although the job might be challenging and demanding, seeing the smiles on customers’ faces is enough joy for some people.
Better still, since you are passionate about this, making enough commissions won’t be that daunting.
See Related: Travel Hacking 101
A Chance to be an Entrepreneur
There’s no better feeling than having complete control of your work.
Becoming a travel agent offers you multiple options to achieve this. This means that you no longer have to endure your boss’s sharp spying eyes all day long.
You can now plan your day’s work with greater freedom, and find ways to satisfy your clients better.
You can perfectly plan for everything from pick up, mode of travel, destination, to travel concierge services, to ensure that your clients are happy.
Being your own boss also means that you can earn what you desire.
Want to learn how to build your email list?
Take this free email course about building an audience to actually make money with your business.
Do Travel Agents Get Discounts for Themselves?
Most often than not, travel agents encounter numerous questions like, “do travel agents travel for free, or do travel agents get discounts on flights?”
People asking these questions are mostly interested in joining the travel industry and want to know the benefits that come with it.
The truth of the matter is, travel agents are not offered free flights or tours.
However, they often get discounted trips from travel destinations and hotels that seek recommendations from such agents.
These discounted trips are mostly research-based for the travel agent as they try to get the best places to recommend for their clients.
Also, since travel agents are always up to date with the trends in the industry, they can easily spot trips offered at the lowest prices and book for themselves.
Better still, they sometimes get to earn commissions on their personal trips.
See Related: How to Start an Online Ticketing Business
Is Being a Travel Agent Worth It?
It depends on what you are looking for to make it worth it. A travel agent’s salary can range from around $24,000 to $60,000 a year. That’s not including the bonuses and commissions that many agents earn. So in that, combined with the fact that you can work in the travel industry and from wherever you’d like, it can be quite worth it.
However, the work can be demanding during non-traditional business hours. You have to be able to think on your feet and be very organized. And there’s a lot of competition out there, so you need to be good at marketing yourself. But if you’re passionate about travel and have some people skills, then becoming a travel agent could definitely be worth it for you.
Even with the many benefits associated with being a travel agent, no business is immune to challenges. However, these challenges have solutions that can help turn them around, leaving more benefits than drawbacks.
Understanding both the pros and cons of being a travel agent is a significant step towards informed career decision-making.
We hope that this article was helpful enough for that big decision.
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— Update: 10-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article Why You Should Use a Travel Agent from the website www.townandcountrymag.com for the keyword benefits of being a travel agent.
This past summer, I took one of the longest and most complicated trips of my life.
It was a 26-day tour of Italy, Croatia, and Greece that included planes, trains, cars, and ferries, all of which needed to be coordinated to make sure I adhered to Covid-prompted entry requirements for each country. The trip went off nearly without a hitch, except for the evening that my flight from Rome to Split, Croatia was delayed by 90 minutes, resulting in my missing the last ferry of the night from Split to the island of Hvar.
I found myself an inexpensive hotel for the night near the port in Split on Booking.com, but more important to me was that I would be forfeiting the approximately $325 I had already paid for that non-refundable night at the Adriana Hvar Spa Hotel—one of the most expensive hotels on my month-long itinerary.
It turns out I didn’t have to worry—because I booked the trip with a travel agent. When I was planning my European adventure, I asked a travel editor friend if she could recommend someone to help me plan my trip. She told me her go-to resource for travel was Jack Ezon, a founder and managing partner of Embark Beyond. I called Ezon in May and told him what I was hoping to do—visit Greece, Croatia, Italy, France, and maybe Norway. He kindly explained that my plan was too ambitious, not only because I was trying to visit too many countries in too short a period of time, but also because Norway and France were not open to Americans (France did later open to American travelers, but Norway’s borders remain closed).
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Ezon referred me to one of his travel advisors, Julie Banning. Banning and I spoke by phone, and she put together a stellar itinerary that included stops in Florence, Forte dei Marmi, Portofino, Rome, Positano, Capri, Hvar, Dubrovnik, Mykonos, Sifnos, and Athens. Banning explained that for a trip of this magnitude, Embark Beyond would charge a fee of $1,000 (the company offered me a discount on the fee as a journalist—I paid $500). If she were only booking hotels (which compensate travel agencies through commissions), there would be no charge, but since she would be booking flights, trains, and cars, a fee would apply. While the fee seemed high to me when I first learned of it, I’m now happy to have paid it because of the value I got out of using a travel agent for my trip.
Back to the Hvar situation. When I checked in the day after my expected arrival date, the front desk manager at the Adriana told me that the hotel would not be able to refund that first night. I explained that it would have been physically impossible for me to check in on time because I missed the last ferry to Hvar due to my flight delay. She told me that the best they could do would be to add an additional night to the end of my stay, but that would not work because I needed to get to Athens for my return flight to New York. I figured I was out of luck, but then I e-mailed Banning to fill her in on what had happened. “Leave it with me,” she replied.
A Travel Agent Is Your Best Advocate When Something Goes Wrong
Sure enough, an e-mail Banning sent to the hotel reservations department did the trick. A week later, the hotel refunded the cost of the first night’s stay to my American Express card.
“We’re advocates,” explains Anne Scully, a partner at Embark Beyond who has worked in the travel industry for 40 years. “A good travel advisor holds a client’s hands and takes care of them.” She adds that travel advisors really show their value when things go wrong. “Through our relationships and our experience, we are able to get clients out of a bad situation.”
Scully says that she has also gotten clients rebooked when their flights have been canceled—long before their fellow passengers have gotten through to the airline customer service phone line or found their way to a representative at the airport.
They Know Where to Send You Because It’s Their Job
Another reason to use a travel agent is to get intel on a new destination. I discovered how valuable one could be when I visited Costa Rica for the first time last March. Like many 30-somethings, I figured I could plan a trip on my own. After a few hours of online research, I realized I was out of my element since I was attempting to visit a foreign country I had never been to during the middle of a pandemic. I enlisted the help of Tom Pyman at Black Tomato, a luxury and adventure tour operator. I explained that I had about 10 days to travel and was trying to decide between Costa Rica and Egypt—two of just a few countries open to American travelers at the time.
Pyman, who specializes in both destinations, recommended Costa Rica since I could do a combination of adventure activities (like ziplining and whitewater rafting) and beach excursions. He put together a comprehensive itinerary that included visits to the Arenal Volcano area, Tortuguero on the Caribbean Coast, and Santa Theresa on the Pacific Coast, all without charging a planning fee.
They Know the Best Way to Get Around Your Destinations
For my most recent trip, Banning knew that the flight I needed to take from Dubrovnik to Athens only operated certain days of the week. That meant that she needed to plan an itinerary that would involve traveling between Croatia and Greece on a Thursday or Saturday—something that would have taken me quite a while to figure on my own.
In addition, Embark Beyond can arrange for VIP meet-and-greets at the airport, where their guide will meet passengers at the door to the plane, whisk them through customs, and get them out of the airport with luggage while the other passengers from their flight are still waiting to get through passport control, Scully says.
Both Black Tomato and Embark Beyond were also on top of the Covid protocols during my trips. Black Tomato arranged for a local guide to take me to a lab in San José for the rapid test I needed to return to the United States; it was one of only a few labs that was open on that Sunday and would not have been easy to find on my own. Embark Beyond provided clear and detailed pre-departure information about the online documents I would need to complete to enter the countries I was visiting. (As a vaccinated American, I did not need to take a Covid test to enter Italy, Croatia, or Greece, but I did have to show my vaccination card.)
They Have Flexible Cancelation Policies
During the pandemic, Black Tomato launched a policy called State of Flex that offers travelers full refunds and fee-free postponements on bookings if Covid complications arise between booking and travel, up to 30 days before departure.
They Can Get You Upgrades You Can’t Get Yourself
“I had a fellow come to me with his Centurion Card and say, ‘Anne, I don’t see what you can do,'” Scully says (American Express’s most exclusive credit card, the Centurion Card reportedly offers a number of hotel benefits). “I said, “‘I’ll make you known on arrival. You will be recognized on arrival, not the card.’ The card is a bank benefit. The human connection and relationships change the way people travel.”
Scully says she had another client for whom she had booked a cruise, and the client called to say she was able to get a better rate from another agent. Scully talked to her contact at the cruise line, and as she suspected, the other agent was giving the client a rebate to win her business. While Scully was not able to match the rate, she was able to do even better by leveraging her connection with the cruise line to secure an upgrade to a cabin that was 200 square feet larger than the client had booked.
They Can Set Up Special Experiences
When she learned two of her clients were celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary, Scully coordinated with the couple’s children to get 50 photos from throughout their marriage and arranged to have each photo printed on a balloon for the party.
Black Tomato travelers can choose to be surprised by where they’re going at the airport if they opt for the tour operator’s tailor-made Get Lost service. All the required equipment is supplied at the destination.
While I’m not sure I’d be up for that level of uncertainty, you can bet I’ll be enlisting the help of a travel agent next time I go to another new destination.
— Update: 10-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article How to travel more: The perks of being a travel agent from the website blog.cruiseplannersfranchise.com for the keyword benefits of being a travel agent.
“Oh, maybe next year I’ll be able to take that trip.” “I’ll have more time to travel later in life.”“I can’t afford that vacation right now.”Sound familiar? We all have excuses why we don’t travel as much as we’d like, whether it’s for financial reasons or we just don’t have time. But what if traveling was more accessible, more affordable, didn’t require a time off request and was even encouraged as part of your job? Would you travel more then?
Welcome to the world of the home-based travel advisor, where if you’re not traveling, you’re not doing it right! Take a peek into the life of a home-based travel agent and see why they have no excuses not to travel.
1.Travel more affordably (or even for free!)
One common excuse for not traveling is that it is too costly. Travel agents, though, get access to deep discounts and even free trips to make traveling far more affordable.
Travel suppliers and operators want travel agents to experience their products, so they can better sell them to their customers. That’s why many cruise lines, resorts and tour operators offer familiarization (or FAM) trips. These are free or deeply discounted trips offered exclusively to travel agents (and sometimes their guests) so they can experience a product or destination firsthand. At Cruise Planners, we teach our agents how to utilize these travel agent perks so they can vacation more.
Additionally, many travel suppliers also offer unpublished, discounted rates available exclusively for travel agents. As a member of the International Association of Travel Agents (IATA) or Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), you can unlock deep discounts on
- Car Rentals
- Tourist Attractions
- And more!
As a Cruise Planners franchise owner, you’ll get training on how to access these rates.
In many cases, a travel advisor can also earn commissions for booking your own trips. That means you get a discount up front and then get paid once you take the trip. That’s some double-dipping we can get behind!
2. Work from ANYWHERE in the world
We get it. You’re busy! And it can be hard to get away from work. But what if your office could be the beach rather than a cubicle? Cruise Planners home-based travel agents have the most robust technology in the industry, and it’s completely mobile friendly. That means you can run your business from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, including while traveling. So, while others are stuck in a conference room slogging through a budget proposal meeting, Cruise Planners travel agents are booking a client’s trip while sipping a Mai Tai on the beach or taking a lunch break at the Eiffel Tower. You make your own schedule and you work on your own time.
Val Dorsey, a Cruise Planners travel advisor of over eight years, has traveled all around Europe while running a successful business. Dorsey appreciates the flexibility of being a home-based travel agent.
“I’ve been so many different places around the world since I started this job, all while still taking care of my customers while not in the country”
-Val Dorsey, Cruise Planners Franchise Owner
3. Traveling is considered work
If you were buying a new camera, wouldn’t you want to buy it from someone who actually knew how to use a camera—someone with hands-on experience as a photographer who knew the ins-and-outs of different models and could tell you which ones were better for different applications and skill levels? The same goes for buying travel. You would have a lot more confidence planning a trip with someone who had visited the places you were considering and could provide recommendations based on actual experience.
That’s why it’s so important for travel agents to get out there and travel! The more knowledge and first-hand experience a travel advisor has with different destinations and travel suppliers, the better they can help their clients plan the perfect trip. Getting paid for your passion is one of the ultimate perks of being a travel agent.
With other jobs, your travel is going to a business meeting in Topeka. As a travel agent, you get to travel the world for pleasure, and it counts as work!
4. No more time-off requests
When you only get two weeks off a year, it can be hard to find the time to take a great vacation. However, Cruise Planners travel advisors are their own bosses. They never have to submit time-off requests or get approval from a supervisor. If they want to spontaneously jump on a two-night cruise or take a three-week trip through Europe, they can—no questions asked! Being your own boss is one of the best travel agent perks for those who prefer to vacation at their leisure with no limitations!
Travel more as a Cruise Planners travel advisor
You love to travel. Why not follow that passion and start seeing the world? As a Cruise Planners home-based travel advisor, not only will you get to help clients plan amazing trips, you’ll also have plenty of opportunities to take trips of your own.
Grab your passport–Start traveling more! Sign up for one of our upcoming webinars to see how you can start your own travel agency as a Cruise Planners franchise owner.
— Update: 10-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article The Perks of Becoming an Independent Travel Agent from the website www.travelplannersinternational.com for the keyword benefits of being a travel agent.
Imagine taking trips to breathtaking locales, getting deep discounts and tax breaks and loving every minute of it. In a sense, this is the life of a professional travel agent. In addition to earning a living and helping their clients arrange trips and vacations, travel agents can earn travel discounts for hotel stays, car rentals, cruises and tours.
While many travel agents work for travel agencies, some make the choice to strike out on their own or open their own business. Often, this choice is related to an agent’s desire to set his or her own hours and determine the other conditions of their own employment. If you decide to become a travel agent, keep in mind that it is a career that may have relatively low start-up costs, but building a regularly traveling client base is essential to long-term success.
Now You Can Become a Travel Agent and Work From Home
Prior to the Internet revolution, when people wanted to go somewhere they made arrangements through their local travel agent. At that time, most agents worked out of storefront offices that could provide the proprietary data links necessary to perform the job.
Read more The Benefits of Kelp Will Convince You to Snack On This Sea Veggie
Then, about ten years ago, as booking trips became easier on the Internet and travel started to be seen as more of a commodity, travelers began to work on their own. In the ensuing years, however, more people are taking longer and more complex trips or simply no longer wish to deal with the hassle of working directly with travel suppliers. While traditional agencies may never return to pre-Internet levels, the travel industry is stabilizing, and many agents are able to make a nice living with perks working as home-based travel agents.
Many of these agents now specialize in particular niches. This expertise gives the agents credibility and provides incentives for travelers by being able to answer questions and provide suggestions that websites or large booking centers are unable or unwilling to provide. In this industry, more than any other, clients really appreciate the personal touch.
Do You Have What It Takes To Start Your Own Travel Business?
Running a business requires dedication and the ability to learn new skills. Not only will you need to read and stay up to date on travel information, location advisories, industry trends and different travel destinations, but you’ll also need general business skills. You’ll be wearing many different hats. After all, someone has to handle administrative duties, marketing, sales and customer service.
When you’re considering starting your own travel business, be sure to ask yourself:
- Do you enjoy problem solving?
- Are you persuasive with effective selling skills?
- Do you have any help?
A Simple Way To Start Your Own Travel Business That Works For Experienced Agents And “Newbies” Alike
Whether you’re new to the travel industry, or you’re an experienced agent looking to strike out on your own, but don’t know where to start, consider affiliating with a host agency. If you don’t have travel agency experience or otherwise can’t meet certain eligibility requirements, you won’t be able to obtain industry accreditations, making starting your own business more difficult. A host agency can provide you with some of the resources to make your job easier, such as global distribution system licences, ARC and IATAN accreditation or handling your personal commission payroll and taxes.
Some Essential Characteristics to Look for in a Host Agency Include:
- The length of time the agency has been in business
- Ongoing training and support provided
- Help generating leads
- Errors and omissions insurance
- Favorable commissions and overrides
- Full access to GDS for experienced agents
- Point and click booking engines for non-GDS users
According to the American Society of Travel Agents, this past year many travel agencies reported an increase in revenue, transactions and number of clients. If you’re considering a career in the exciting travel industry, now is a great time to get started.
This blog article was up-dated 6/3/2015
— Update: 11-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article 15 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became a Travel Agent from the website www.cosmopolitan.com for the keyword benefits of being a travel agent.
Despite what you see on Instagram, being a travel agent isn’t always glamorous. As amazing as it is to jet around the world, you also have to keep in contact with clients 24/7/365—no matter what time zone you’re in. And while technically anyone can work in this field, only those who are detail-oriented and meticulously organized will excel. So we talked to former travel agent Katelyn O’Shaughnessy and current agent Erina Pindar to find out what their jobs are actually like.
You’ll make a decent living, and you’ll get to travel the world like a rock star.
“Think about this as a lifestyle rather than a career,” says O’Shaughnessy. The pay isn’t necessarily exorbitant—the median income is $38,700 a year, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, but according to Pindar, it can actually be much higher. “Agents make anywhere from $50K to $100K on the low end and up to $250K to $500K annually,” says Pindar. But there’s no other industry where you get to travel like this. You’ll regularly go on discounted trips to luxury resorts sponsored by hotel companies, so based on your Instagram alone, your friends will definitely think you’re living the high life.
You get paid on commission, meaning you earn money based on the trips you book for your clients.
The bulk of your salary will come from commission, so first and foremost, you’re a salesperson. When you’re an in-house agent with a travel agency (on-staff positions at agencies are increasingly rare, btw, but they’re still in demand), you typically have a base salary and a commission split. This can vary from agency to agency and also depends on your level of experience. For example, let’s say you have an 80-20 commission split. That means if you get paid 10 percent commission on booking a hotel, 80 percent of that commission goes to your agency, while you keep 20 percent. If you’ve rounded up enough clients, you can become an independent agent, which means you work for yourself but remain affiliated with a host agency. As an independent agent, you lose the base salary but get to keep your commission.
If you work as an independent agent, you need your own insurance.
Let’s say you make a mistake on a client’s itinerary, causing them to miss their first-class flight that costs $6,000 a seat. If you did something wrong, you’re liable. “There are hundreds of things that can go wrong, and they will,” warns O’Shaughnessy. You definitely need errors and omissions insurance, which can be expensive, but if you accidentally screw something up, you don’t have to pay out of pocket for the cost of the mistake.
“Travel agents” and “travel advisers” are relatively synonymous, although advisers tend to use a more holistic planning strategy.
While in the past, travel agents mainly assisted in booking accommodations, a travel adviser helps provide a client with a broader picture of their trip. “If someone says, ‘I want to go to Cabo and I want to do all these adventurous things,’ we may say, ‘Okay, great, you can go to Cabo, but you may not want to stay on the strip. You may want to consider the new Four Seasons that just opened on the cape because there’s a lot more adventure on that side of the destination,’” explains Pindar.
You don’t need any special training to get started.
Unlike being a real estate agent, where you have to pass a series of tests to prove you know your stuff. “When I started working as a travel agent right out of college, I didn’t know anything,” insists O’Shaughnessy. “I’d barely even traveled out of Portland, where I grew up. I got the job after a series of persistent emails and a good first interview. It’s definitely useful to know things like basic history and geography but there are no real required skills.”
Travel agents tend to come from a variety of backgrounds—you can switch careers at any point in your life and become a travel agent with a pretty low barrier to entry. But according to Pindar, it does takes a specific personality to be a quality agent. “One thing that all our agents have in common is they’re great salespeople, because at the end of the day, this is a sales job,” she says.
Being type A is also a plus: You need to be a meticulous planner, be an excellent researcher, and possess extreme attention to detail. “It’s easy to put someone in a beautiful room,” says Pindar, “but if you remember that they’re going there for their anniversary and you’re somehow able to get a picture from their wedding to be put in the room and their favorite champagne that they popped on their wedding day, those little things make a difference.”
Developing a niche is essential.
No one can have an encyclopedic knowledge of the whole world, so the most successful travel agents choose a specialty. You might focus on cruises or African safaris or trips to Italy. “[Before I started my company,] I specialized in honeymoons and travel for destination weddings, which I narrowed down to Tahiti, Fiji, Mexico, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. I knew every hotel, every restaurant, and every excursion in those areas that related to a romantic vacation,” says O’Shaughnessy.
Traveling is a regular part of the job, but it’s not a vacation.
Every few months, travel agents go on “fam trips,” short for “familiarization,” and they sound both ah-ma-zing and tiring, according to O’Shaughnessy:
Pindar echoes the same sentiment: “Ninety percent of the time when we do travel, it’s generally for educational purposes.” Travel advisers need to know a destination inside and out, as they often make recommendations based on experience. While traveling, the days can get long. You’re expected to attend breakfast meetings, go out all day, and by the time dinner’s over, you need to catch up on emails. “Even though people think you’re traveling and it’s glamorous, it’s a lot of work,” says Pindar.
On that note, you *will* stop taking normal vacations.
Some travel agents do still travel for fun, but most will do at least one hotel site inspection or other work-related task while they’re there. The industry is very small, so when hotel reps see on your Instagram that you’re in London, they’ll insist you come say hello, see the latest remodel, and try the new menu at the hotel restaurant— sometimes even for a discount! “It’s a double-edged sword: You’ll have friends and free swag everywhere you go, but you can never really travel without thinking of work,” says O’Shaughnessy. Regardless of connections, you’re not traveling for free. With discounts come expectations, aka receiving business from your clients in return. Additionally, you’ll have to front your own travel fees just like everyone else, according to Pindar.
And by the way, holidays kinda suck.
The “365” part of 24/7/365 is not a joke. Holidays are the most stressful time of the year for travel agents, since so many of your clients will be traveling.
Hotel reps will become your best friends.
When you’re working in an agency, hotel reps will come in every single day to give presentations about why you should recommend their hotel to your clients. Once you have a niche, you’ll see the same travel reps at your regular fam trips and you’ll develop a relationship with them from regularly sending them business. “Those relationships are super important,” says O’Shaughnessy, “because when you need to call in a favor, like upgrading someone’s room, you have someone to hook it up.”
Learning to book travel is like learning a new language.
Every travel agency has access to a program called Global Distribution System, which lists options for airfare, hotels, car rentals, and so on. “You’d think it would have a clean interface like Expedia, but no, it’s more like Microsoft circa 1990. You have to know very specific codes to do anything: For example, to look for flight options, you have to type this symbol ‡ called the Cross of Lorraine, followed by your request. It’s almost like learning how to code,” says O’Shaughnessy. So, yeah, it can take a while to get familiar with it.
Your clients will act like you’re their personal butler.
You *will* get the occasional 2 a.m. call from a client in Europe asking for details that you definitely included on their itinerary. “I once had a client call me from a cruise ship—which is really hard to do!—to tell me that she couldn’t get the television to work in her room and could I call someone to fix it?” remembers O’Shaughnessy. It can definitely veer into the realm of ridiculous, but you have to remember that people can get very anxious about travel—your job is to be available and make sure they’re taken care of. That’s part of the added value of booking your trip with a travel agent.
But the thing is…you are responsible for their time.
“If you buy something, you can return it and get your money back,” says Pindar, “but if you go on vacation and spend $30,000 on a weeklong trip and it’s terrible, you will never get that time back.” There’s a lot of pressure involved in making sure clients are having the vacation they envisioned, which means being there for them every step of the way, even if they’re in a different time zone. “You have to act like [your client’s] handler in a way,” says Pindar.
Clients will hire you again and again for your thoughtfulness.
Travel is a very personal thing, and the best travel agents have empathy for what the individual traveler wants to get out of the trip, whether it’s beautiful memories with their family or an adventure or a deeper understanding of the local culture. “Since I worked primarily with honeymoons and weddings, I’d regularly use my hotel connections to make sure my clients had a bottle of wine waiting for them in their room or a couples photo next to the bed,” says O’Shaughnessy. “Those personal touches are the reason people continue to use travel agents rather than booking for themselves online.”
And lastly, travel agents are not a dying breed.
“Every time I tell someone I’m a travel agent, they’re like, ‘Wait, travel agents still exist?’ The answer: Yes, and we still account for one-third of all travel booked in the United States,” insists O’Shaughnessy. It’s still a profitable industry in the United States and there’s no reason to believe the industry is dying off.
Katelyn O’Shaughnessy was a luxury travel agent before founding travel agent platform TripScope and, later, medical tourism company Doctours. Erina Pindar has worked as a travel agent for 13 years, and she’s currently the managing director of SmartFlyer, a travel agency based in the U.S. and Australia.