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?
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
- It is FUN! You will learn A LOT
- You get to help people and you get to travel
- There is an endless supply of free training
- You get to TRAVEL
- The earning potential is unlimited!
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