Being a modern, high-tech travel agent is dynamic as well as demanding.
How to become a travel agent is a frequently asked question, because it appeals to a lot of people.
It entails helping travelers to get the very best travel arrangements such as transportation and hotel reservations.
Typically, it is deemed as a rewarding job since the travel agent pay is based on commissions and other special deals including advisory fees and complimentary travel perks. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the mean annual wage for a travel agent is $36,990.
Although being a travel agent involves traveling for free, or even getting paid to travel, the job prospects of travel agents are projected to decline further.
A lot of the “glamor”-status which typically accompanied travel agents of the past has dissipated.
This is mainly as a result of people booking their own trips online, and the travel information we used to need to get from the travel agent is readily found online.
The airlines’ decreasing commission structure for third-party booking sources, such as from travel agents, has also contributed to a dim prospect of financial rewards for the travel agent.
That said, here is how to become a travel agent:
1. Choose your travel niche
It is essential to choose what sort of agent you want to be in and work to be a sought-after expert.
You can decide to be a corporate agent who decides for organizations and business travels. You can also be a leisure agent who deals with vacations.
For the leisure, you should narrow down your interest to destinations, themes, or clientele. This specification boosts your expertise in your chosen niche, and thus, you can offer solid recommendations according to the clients’ preferences and requirements.
2. Get training
Only a high school diploma is required to become a travel agent. However, most employers prefer applicants who have formal training and experience in tourism or travel.
The formal training can include foreign languages, geography, and world cultures.
Bachelors and master’s degrees in travel, tourism, hospitality, and business administration can be an excellent advantage for individuals wishing to advance their travel agent careers.
3. Consider Travel Agent Certification
How to become a travel agent is easier than you think.
While not required by state or federal authorizes, professional Travel Agent certification can add to your credibility, which will positively impact your customer base. Various certifications are available depending on the specialty or emphasis.
For instance, Certified Travel Associate (CTA), Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE), and Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) are available through The Travel Institute.
The American Society of Travel Agents also offers certifications depending on your specialization, for example, a specific geographic region.
If you decide to start your own travel agency as an independent seller please make sure you do your due diligence to ensure that you comply with all applicable legal requirements. Requirements may include business license requirements, tax registrations, and other things.
For instance, in California you are required to obtain a Seller of Travel registration with the State.
4. Learn or refine your skills
Agents should always appear professional and courteous, so it is vital that you develop excellent customer service and communication skills.
Computer and business skills can help you with any record-keeping and sales responsibilities.
You can also gain by honing behind-the-scenes skills such as organization and detail-oriented tasks (like promptly returning calls).
5. Start Networking
Whether working as an independent agent or with a travel agency, an excellent way that people will know about you is by networking.
Networking allows you to build your clientele volume through referrals from your acquaintances.
You should also build working relationships with industry peers such as resort owners and hoteliers to make your booking reservations easier.
6. Social Media and Your Website
Grow Your Social Media Presence
Modern day business needs a strong online presence because most people begin their searches on website platforms. Hence, you can find prospective customers on such channels.
Ensure that you create a unique and dedicated social media page. Then, post quality content about exciting travel and destinations.
If you want to become an independent travel agent, inform people about your latest price cuttings and any feature that you’ve added for the clients.
A top-notch website is a must
Every business in today’s world needs a professional-looking website. Your social media channels should funnel to your website. Your website should funnel as your “landing page” for your online sales. Here you not only market your services, but yourself as a professional travel agent as well.
Thanks to i.e. WordPress, making a website today is easy. If you don’t have the skills to do this yourself, it’s as easy as:
a) Registering your website name (domain).
b) Find a cheap but reliable host.
3) Design your own site using WordPress, or find an excellent webmaster for a good price.
4) Market your own site and social media, or find the best marketer you can find.
If you need recommendations of the best people to use for your Travel Agent plans, I’d recommend what captainjetson.com uses for their own help with the travel site:
For hosting we use SiteGround.com.
Our webmaster is OrionWP.
Our marketer is Masum.
7. Continue your education
Continuing education is necessary for renewing certification. It is also imperatively crucial for travel agents since technology continues to evolve as well as systems used for booking reservations.
Moreover, it essential to stay abreast of as much travel information as possible to ensure you can cater all the needs of your clients.
Being a travel agent is an exciting and lucrative career. You help travelers as well as offer unbiased travel expertise that saves them time, money, and all sorts of travel-related headaches.
You should be able to incorporate these tips and become a successful travel agent in the industry.