Becoming a home-based travel agent can be the beginning of an exciting career. Even in today's internet-savvy culture, there is a great need for agents who can mix business sense with people skills.
Your Website is Your Storefront
One of the most important aspects of a home-based travel agency is a professional website. Nowadays, most customers looking for travel agents are more likely to seek you online than in a phone book. Procuring a good domain name and constructing a high quality website should be among the first orders of business. Don't be shy about hiring a professional web designer to give your site the look of quality. Remember, its your face to the world.
A Professional Business
Registering your business name with your state and applying for a business license are top priorities when setting up your home travel agent business. Making sure you have the proper tools to do your job is also important. Using programs like Apollo and Sabre are a sign of professionalism. These are the programs airlines use to book flights. They allow you direct access to travel information without having to go through online booking sites.
Learn Learn Learn
It isn't necessary to be well-traveled to be a successful travel agent. But it is necessary to understand travel. This involves a wide-spread familiarity with all aspects of the subject. Understand the intricacies of airlines and rail travel. Have a strong basic knowledge of the places you are sending your customers, the countries, cities and hotels they will be staying at. A good travel agent can offer her client a little extra beyond basic reservations. There are many ways to make yourself familiar with the travel industry. Extensive reading, attending lectures in your community, and classes. Tourism, recreation, and travel classes are readily available online, and at colleges and travel schools the world over. Just make sure you research any program carefully before sending in your cash.
What Sets You Apart?
The internet has dealt a blow to the traditional travel agent industry. Thanks to websites like Travelocity and Orbitz, it is no longer necessary to call a travel agency to arrange even the most complicated overseas trip. People who seek out the service of a travel agent are looking for something more. Your at-home travel agency must provide personalized assistance to your customers, and take as much worry and confusion out of the journey as possible. Include a packet of overseas traveling trips and local customs. Have your client fill out a short personal questionnaire that will allow you to serve them better. You can cater to their particular dislike of urban settings and love of seafood as you plan their vacation. The new wave of travel assistance is all about personalization.
The successful travel agent is part business woman, part treasure hunter, and part counselor. A work-from-home travel agency is a way to make money while removing stress from people's lives.