How to Become Travel Advisor
In order to become a successful travel advisor, you should possess the right knowledge and skills. You need to be able to deliver the right product for your clients, make their lives easier, and have confidence in your own abilities. Here are some tips from Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew Upchurch.
Degrees and work experience are required
As a travel advisor, you will be responsible for planning and booking your clients’ travel arrangements. You will help clients navigate any issues that may arise while traveling and you will also be their advocate when things go wrong. Travel advisors are also considered experts in many destinations. They draw from their extensive knowledge of the industry and build personal relationships with tour operators and hoteliers.
To become a travel agent, you’ll need to complete a college degree program. Typically, this program consists of 120 credit hours. You’ll learn about marketing techniques and creative ways to sell travel products. You’ll also need to develop excellent customer service skills.
Getting a college degree in marketing is a great way to hone your customer service and sales skills. A bachelor’s degree in marketing can help you learn about consumer behavior and develop marketing strategies that target specific needs. You’ll study topics such as consumer behavior, international marketing, and public relations. In addition, you’ll get on-the-job training on computer systems.
A bachelor’s degree in business management can help you get an entry-level job. This degree can also help you compete with other travel agents for better positions. Travel agencies often prefer candidates who have experience in marketing, business administration, or hospitality. Additionally, bachelor’s degrees in these areas can help you get a competitive edge in the industry.
In addition to a college degree, you can also obtain your travel certification through continuing education courses. However, you do not need to be a member of a trade association or professional organization to become a travel advisor. The American Society of Travel Agents offers more information about the field and provides resources to help you advance your career.
Besides a high school diploma, you also need to have relevant experience. You should also have experience working with customers in order to become a successful travel agent. Several travel agencies offer on-the-job training so that you can learn more on the job and develop your own skills.
State requirements for starting a home-based travel agency
Starting a home-based travel agency requires some state-specific requirements. The state that you live in will determine what those requirements are. Depending on the state, you may be required to obtain a business license. You’ll also need to file payroll taxes and obtain a federal employer identification number. Additionally, you’ll need to have an office space that meets zoning requirements.
A home-based travel agency can be a full-time or part-time endeavor. The advantages of this type of business include flexibility and independence. Additionally, many home-based travel agencies can enjoy substantial tax benefits. While starting a home-based travel agency is not for everyone, it can be an excellent opportunity for those who are interested in starting a business.
While forming a home-based travel agency requires little work, the decision about which business structure to use is a crucial first step. The easiest business structure to start is the sole proprietorship, but partnerships can be more complicated. In addition, home-based travel agencies may wish to form a corporation to enhance their protection from lawsuits. Limited liability companies are another good option for minimizing liabilities. If you are not sure which business structure is right for you, consulting a legal professional will be helpful. He or she can advise you on business structure and liabilities as well as tax issues.
Lastly, you should make sure you have a complete idea of the market you want to target. This way, you’ll be able to understand potential issues that could arise and position yourself in the eyes of potential customers. In addition, you should understand the demographics of your target customers, their behavior, and the competition.
Depending on the state where you plan to operate, you may need to obtain a business license. In Iowa, you do not need to obtain a license to operate a travel agency, but in other states, you’ll need to register with the secretary of state.
In addition to obtaining a license, you’ll also need to meet certain requirements related to the activities you perform as a travel agent. Generally, you’ll need to pass a licensing exam as well as complete an education course.
Earning a college degree is not required
The travel advisor position is a great way to work with clients on a vacation, whether you plan to spend a month in Europe or go on a weeklong cruise. The role involves navigating any possible complications while on a vacation, and you can be an advocate for your clients when things go wrong. In addition, many travelers wouldn’t consider traveling without the advice and help of a travel advisor.
To become a travel advisor, you don’t necessarily need a college degree. Most agencies have training programs for new advisors, and some provide mentoring for wannabes. If you’d rather become an independent contractor, you can either form an LLC or incorporate your own company. There are also several opportunities to work for brick and mortar travel agencies.
Those looking to work for themselves can earn a degree in Public Relations or another travel-related field. This degree will prepare you to develop innovative solutions to travel business problems. You’ll also learn how to sell and market your products to stay competitive. In addition to the education, you’ll need to have excellent customer service skills.
Although a college degree is not mandatory to become a travel advisor, earning a degree will help you obtain more favorable job opportunities. Some four-year colleges offer courses in the travel industry, but programs vary greatly. It is advisable to research programs thoroughly. In addition to a college degree, you can consider obtaining a degree in a complementary field, such as human resources or accounting.
Joining a consortium
The benefits of joining a travel advisor consortium are more than just financial. Many advisors say that the benefits of membership have improved their bottom line. These organizations offer marketing programs, educational events, and preferred supplier relationships. In addition, many offer access to exclusive amenities. So what should you look for when joining a travel agent consortium?
Travel agents who join a travel consortium often get the benefits of collective buying power. For instance, they get access to exclusive programs and can enjoy economies of scale. Another benefit of joining a consortium is that you’ll get a support network. These groups usually require members to pay dues.
Many travel advisor consortia also offer training and certification. Often founded by seasoned travel agents, these organizations can help new agents learn the ropes. They also provide marketing assistance, technology assistance, and social media management. This can make a huge difference to your career.
Travel agent consortiums can provide agents with support during difficult times. These groups may go by different names, such as co-ops, franchises, and host agencies, but all of them work toward a common goal – helping travel agents become better. Whether you decide to work for a large consortia or work independently, joining a community is a great way to improve your work and personal life.
A travel advisor consortium can provide you with a powerful marketing support system to increase your business and income potential. Some of these groups also offer job placement assistance and access to certified business coaches. If you’d like to join a consortium, you can speak with Bennett about its eligibility requirements.
Are you thinking about becoming a Travel Advisor?
Making the decision to become a Travel Advisor is not an easy decision for most to make.
To start, there are many unknowns.
- How do I get started?
- What education do I need?
- Do I need to be well-traveled?
- How much money can I make?
- What do I need to be successful?
- What are the real perks and benefits of being a Travel Advisor?
- During this pandemic, is now even a good time to become a Travel Advisor?
Baccarat Hotel, New York – A Partner Hotel of The Luxury Travel Agency
I want to be a Travel Advisor, how do I get started?
Let’s start with the first question. How do I get started? I have been in those shoes and was overwhelmed with that, what I thought was a complex question, and in the end, the answer is quite simple. You just decide you want to do it!
In reality, there is no special training or education you must have. Depending on the state or province you live in, there may be some licensing or certifications needed, but in general, you can pretty much put up a sign and say “I’m now a Travel Advisor”.
Now, does that make you successful? No. You do need more than that to become a successful Travel Advisor. We’ll discuss more about what it takes to become a successful Travel Advisor later in this post.
Waiheke Island, New Zealand
Do I need an education to be a Travel Advisor?
No, you don’t NEED and education. But, does an education help? Of course, it helps, but by no means is it mandatory, nor is it a guarantee. I have found the most successful Travel Advisors have a true passion for travel, are a “people person”, have good writing skills, are creative, have excellent customer service skills and willing to work hard… very hard; this is not a 9-5 job!
I’ve met a lot of Travel Advisors with a background in education, law, sales, marketing and even medicine!
Soneva Jani Maldives, a Partner Hotel of The Luxury Travel Agency
Do I need to be well-traveled to be a Travel Advisor?
Regarding, “Do I need to be well-travelled to become a Travel Advisor” gets a little tricky to answer. Ideally, yes, you should be well-travelled; but again, that is not mandatory. Your lack of travel can be easily compensated by your passion for travel and your passion to learn about new destinations, your excellent customer service, your people skills and your determination to succeed. Will it be easy, maybe not, but if you have the passion and the drive, you will succeed. I have met many successful Travel Advisors who got into the business without a solid travel background and became hugely successful, mainly due to their passion, drive and commitment.
Luxury safari, one of our favorite trips to book
How much money can I make as a Travel Advisor?
This may be the trickiest question of all. In the end, being a Travel Advisor is akin to being a salesperson in the sense you are working on commission (as well, we recommend you charge a planning/consultation/service fee). The drawback to this is there are not guarantees. The positive though, is there are no limits to how much you can make. In the end, the harder and smarter you work, the more you will make!
Laucala Island Fiji, a Partner Hotel of The Luxury Travel Agency
What do I need to be a successful Travel Advisor?
This is the second trickiest question to answer as there is no guaranteed formula. I’ll talk a bit about generalities and a bit about specifics.
In general, as mentioned before, a passion for travel, drive and commitment are essential to becoming a successful Travel Advisor. So is the belief (and practice) that taking care of your clients and doing what is right for them is at the forefront of everything you do. Emergencies and issues don’t happen just during business hours, you must be willing (and able) to take care of your clients in the evenings, on the weekends, during the holidays and maybe even when YOU are on vacation!
This may sound like a big commitment and it is. But the rewards are so great, it makes it all worth it. If you are like me, taking care of a client in distress, solving their issues and recusing them and/or their trip, is, in itself, a big reward!
More specific things you need to be a successful Travel Advisor are a niche, good potential clients and probably most importantly, choosing the right host agency to be your partner.
We will tackle each of these one at a time.
Heli-Skiing, one of the many experiences we can arrange for our clients.
Niche: what is your niche going to be? Honeymoons? Family Trips? Italy? Cruises? Safari? Business Travel? Luxury Travel?
The good thing is, you can start with one niche and as you learn and experience more or as your client’s needs change, you can move or expand into a new speciality or niche. I have seen many people who started in business/corporate travel and moved into the luxury side of the business. Others started with a specialization in honeymoons and transitioned into family travel as their clients’ families grew.
Good Potential Clients: Do you have potential clients? And if so, are they “good” potential clients? Depending on your niche, people you know may or may not be “good” potential clients. If you want to specialize in safaris, do you have potential clients that are actually interested in safaris? If you want to specialize in honeymoons, so you have potential clients that are getting married or at least in that typical age range for marriage? And, if you want to specialize in luxury travel, do you have potential clients that we willing to spend on a luxury trip?
Before you make the decision to become a Travel Advisor, you should make sure you have a good base of potential clients. Without a good base to start, you can still be successful, it just can be more of a challenge.
Lobby of the Mandarin Oriental Paris, a Partner Hotel of The Luxury Travel Agency
Choosing the Right Host Agency:
If you are just getting started, you will want a host agency that has someone dedicated to you; someone well-traveled, has been in the business long enough to have the contacts you need and someone that can help you “learn the ropes”.
They should help you set your goals and help you attain them. Their goal should be your growth and your success.
If you want to specialize in luxury travel, the agency should have partnerships with all the top hotel brands such as Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, St. Regis, Peninsula, Hyatt, Waldorf Astoria and more. (The Luxury Travel Agency partners with over 20 of the best hotel brands in the industry, plus we are a Virtuoso agency!)
In the end, picking the right host agency from the start can be the beginning of a relationship that if done right, will last for decades.
River Cruising, a popular way to travel
Still interested? Let’s look at the real perks and benefits of being a Travel Advisor
- You are your own boss
- You are passionate about travel
- You have complete freedom of:
- how you work
- when you work
- where you work from
Interest in private villas and home rentals has shot up during the pandemic
Is now, during the COVID-19 Pandemic, a good time to become a Travel Advisor?
I think now is the best time to become a Travel Advisor. Demand has never been higher and the need to work with a professional Travel Advisor is going to grow as the world starts to open up.
Right now, you will have the opportunity to learn the business, start making contacts (both within the industry and with potential clients). You can get your “office” set up and prepare for when the floodgates open and everyone will be traveling again. Once travel starts again, there will be so much pent up demand, that everyone is going to be extremely busy! Ask yourself, when people start traveling again, do you want to just be getting started and learning or do you want to be ready to start planning and booking great trips? The future is yours, what do you want to make of it?
Are you ready to take the next step? Complete our Become a Luxury Travel Advisor survey and we’ll be in touch within 24 hours.
We look forward to hearing from you,
Executive Vice President
Travel Notes is a thoughtfully researched luxury travel blog written by our team of expert advisors. We’ve travelled to all corners of the world and here we share our experiences. Interested in learning more? Give us a call or sign up below.
How Do You Become a Travel Advisor?
Are you the one always planning the girls’ trip? Or gathering the family together for a much-needed vacation getaway? This means that travel planning runs through your blood, so why not make some money while you do it?
A question you might be asking yourself is how do you become a travel advisor and get involved in the travel industry? You will surely find some fun part time jobs like becoming an independent contractor with the Dream Vacations Advisor opportunity. Dream Vacations Advisor is an opportunity that offers you a great work-life balance and some extra income.
What is a Dream Vacations Advisor?
A Dream Vacations Advisor is an independent contractor who is a home-based travel agent. As a travel agent, you will work alongside a Dream Vacations Franchise Owner and receive mentorship on how to sell vacations for your clients. You’ll have access to our unique online technology and will be able to run your entire business online. You can work from home or wherever your travel heart desires as long as you have an internet connection. It’s one of the best perks of the job!
For each sale you make, you earn a commission. You can sell cruises, resort getaways, special excursions, tours, travel insurance and more one-of-a-kind vacations. You can sell to anyone interested in taking their next dream vacation. As part of the Dream Vacations brand, you’ll have access to exclusive offers and give great value to your customer’s vacations. They will certainly keep coming back for more unique experiences!
All our Advisors share a passion for travel, so we also offer you the possibility of traveling at discounted rates. After all, the best way to learn how to become a travel agent is by traveling yourself.
How to Get Started as a Dream Vacations Advisor
If the idea of sipping cocktails on the beach in Thailand while you book vacations for friends back home in snowy Minnesota excites you, then you’ll want to book a FREE webinar with us! Our team will discuss the ins and outs of being a travel advisor, and you can see if this opportunity is the right fit for you.
After you have watched the webinar, we will contact you and answer any questions you may have about becoming a Dream Vacations Advisor. Also, keep in mind that as an Advisor, you don’t need any prior experience in the travel industry. If you choose to become a travel advisor, we will pair you with one of our Franchise Owners to act as your mentor. Also, you will gain access to more than 1,500 of our on-demand eLearning courses and we provide you with weekly live training and refresher courses. You will work alongside your mentor, and you’ll have plenty of support to get started.
As an Advisor, you’ll also have access to our marketing tools. Our team will help you with a booking website, social media accounts, lead generation programs, videos, emails and even HQ-funded giveaways to get the word out about your new travel business.
Dream Vacations is an industry leader, and we get exclusive booking offers from the biggest names in travel. This makes being an advisor one of the best jobs for stay at home moms, veterans, travel lovers and more.
Become a Travel Advisor
While Dream Vacations will help set you up for success, you’ll also need to invest time and money as an independent contractor. A low monthly fee of $39 is paid to the Franchise Owner as an administrative fee, which supplies you with training, support, marketing programs, free and reduced travel, and industry certifications.
If you’re ready to take the next step, and want to learn more about how do you become a travel advisor, then sign up for one of our free webinars to connect with us and get started.