Making the decision to become a Luxury Travel Advisor is not always an easy one. Like many careers, there are plenty of unknowns.
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 what I thought was a complex question. 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 just about put up a sign that says, “I’m now a Luxury Travel Advisor”.
Now, does that guarantee success? Certainly not. You need more than that to become a successful Luxury Travel Advisor. If you want to find out what it takes – read on!
Do I need an education?
No, you don’t NEED an education. But does an education help? Of course – but by no means is it mandatory, nor is it a guarantee. I find the most successful Luxury Travel Advisors have a true passion for travel, are a “people person”, employ good writing skills, possess creativity, have a knack for excellent customer service and willing to work hard… very hard, for this is not your regular 9-5 job!
I’ve met Luxury Travel Advisors with backgrounds in education, law, sales, marketing and even medicine!
Do I need to be well-traveled?
This one 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. It’s not the simplest road, but if you have the right qualities, you will succeed. I have met many successful Luxury Travel Advisors who got into the business without a solid travel background and became hugely successful, mainly due to their passion, drive and commitment.
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 as a recommended planning/consultation/service fee). The drawback to this is there are no guarantees. The positive, of course, is there are no limits to how much you can make. In the end, the harder and smarter you work, the more you will earn!
This is the second trickiest question to answer as there is no guaranteed formula. Let’s talk a bit about generalities and specifics.
As mentioned before, a passion for travel, drive and commitment are essential to becoming a successful Luxury 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 rescuing their trip, is, in itself, a huge reward!
A few more specific things you need to be a successful Luxury Travel Advisor are a niche, good potential clients, and 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 clients’ needs change, you can move or expand into a new specialty 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 are willing to spend on a luxury trip?
Before you make the decision to become a Luxury 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 may just be more of a challenge.
Choosing the Right Host Agency: Choosing the right host agency is probably the most important decision you will make as you get ready to start your new career! What is right for others may not be right for you, and vice versa.
The first thing I would do is compare your niche to the niche of the host agency. Do you want to specialize in cruises? If so, pick a host agency that specializes in cruises. Specialize in safaris? Pick an agency that specializes on a safari. Want to sell all-inclusive resorts? Pick an agency that specializes in all-inclusives. Luxury Travel? Well…you know what I’m going to say!
Should you go with a large agency or a small agency? This is more of a personal choice. You can partner with a large, well-known agency, but you could very well get lost among the numbers. And personally, I think your potential clients are more interested in YOU, not who you are signed with.
If you’re keen on partnering with The Luxury Travel Agency – or even just considering it – the next few paragraphs will provide you with everything you need to know.
A smaller agency can typically offer you more support and hands-on mentoring. Speaking as someone who learned the hard way and started with a big company which offered very little support, I know how important it is to sign on with a company that is small enough to support and mentor their Advisors.
With that said, it is imperative they are large enough to offer you everything a host agency should in order to be successful: partnerships with the companies you want to sell (be sure to check out all our partners!), experience in the industry (especially the niche area you are interested in), contacts and great relationships in the industry, training and mentoring; marketing, and support. You should know that your host agency is there for you, to help you grow and succeed.
In the end, picking the right host agency from the start can kickstart a relationship that, if done right, will last for decades.
What are the perks?
Is now, during the COVID-19 Pandemic, a good time to become a Luxury Travel Advisor?
I would be lying if I claimed that now is the best time to become a Luxury Travel Advisor. But with that said, I think now is really a great time to become a Luxury Travel Advisor, or at least, to start the transition to your new career.
During this downtime, you will have the opportunity to learn the business and 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 in the industry is sure to be extremely busy! Ask yourself: when people start traveling again, do you want to just be getting started and learning the ropes, or do you want to be ready to plan and book fantastic trip! The future is yours – what do you want to make of it?
If you are serious about changing careers and becoming a Luxury Travel Advisor, but still have questions, or concerns about how to get started, we completely understand. We’ve been in your position before!
So why choose us? There are a number of reasons:
We (the founders and your direct contact with the Agency) have been to over 90 countries and countless cities, islands, and villages.
We started the business from scratch, with no support, and worked our way up to where we are today; we know what it takes to be successful.
The Luxury Travel Agency is partnered with over 2,000 of the best hotels and resorts around the world, where we can provide our clients with an array of added amenities, benefits, and VIP Status.
We are members of Virtuoso, the most respected consortium in the industry.
We have connections around the world that can help with the planning and execution for your trips.
Our company and our team is well respected in the industry.
Our brand, “The Luxury Travel Agency”, lets your clients and prospective clients know exactly who we are and builds their expectation of what they will receive.
We help with marketing and are here to assist with all facets of training and mentoring.
We fully understand what it’s like to get started, and we know the challenges and uncertainty anyone in a new position faces. But we also know the joy and rewards that becoming a Luxury Travel Advisor can bring. As such, we are here to help mentor and help you succeed!
Your growth and success is our growth and success.
We look forward to hearing from you,
Executive Vice President