Starting a business as a travel agent is a good idea for people looking for a home based business. This industry dons a new look as advanced technologies pave the way for go-getters to run a great business. It will continue to grow in the future and the outlook is positive and rewarding for travel agents. Travel agents are now under pressure as many people use the Internet to research their destinations before they go to a travel agent. Since there are too many travel options and destination an agent may specialize in a specific type of travel such as destinations or lifestyle.
Here are some salient tips for becoming a successful travel agent.
Colleges offer an Associate degree program in travel and tourism for students interested in the travel and hospitality business. Though the training is expensive, it will help a student to specialize in sales, tour group development or marketing and management. The other options for entering this field are through training schools for travel agents and online training. Extensive training is offered by these schools over ten to sixteen weeks to help a student learn how to affect sales and train in marketing, use computerized reservation systems and get an overview of various travel destinations. If you plan to get online training, make sure to enroll at a reputed center that offers certificate programs.
Certification and License
By obtaining certificates from accredited and recognized organizations, a professional travel agent can be differentiated from imitators. Try to get a travel-agent license failing which you can use the license number of your host. Check out the licensure requirement as it differs from one State to another.
Get certified by organizations that are recognized by the travel industry. You can get the highest level of certifications which are CTA (Certified Travel Associate) certificate and the CTC (Certified Travel Counselor) from the Travel Institute.
If you are interested in specializing in cruising, you should get four accredited certificates from CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association.) These are the MCC (Master Cruise Counselor), ACC, (Accredited Cruise Counselor, ECC (Elite Cruise Counselor) and ECCS (Elite Cruise Counselor Scholar).
As a travel agent, you should be able to sell lodging, transportation, entertainment activities and admissions to both individuals as well as groups. You should be able to make all the travel arrangements and offer advice on itineraries and destinations. It is advisable to set up your own business as the job prospects from 2012 to 2022 is expected to decline by 12%. Specialize in any one field and you will find that this is a rewarding and exciting career.
How to become a successful travel agent
Travel agents have to be continuously updated with the latest developments. They can do this by attending seminars at conference, go on familiarization trip, visit trade shows and attend supplier presentations.
Try to join a reputable and accredited travel agency for hands-on experience. You can also work as a direct employee or sign up for selling cruises. If you prefer to start a home-based agency you can select from a number of host agencies and set up your own business. Once you qualify you should get your own ID/IATA/IATAN card to prove to suppliers that you qualify for travel discounts as well as free upgrades.
Developing your skills as a Travel agent
Develop a positive and confident attitude and broaden your worldly knowledge. You should be adept at using the computer and providing detailed information to clients at a moment’s notice. Try to travel to some destinations and learn a few languages. Clients are interested in receiving first hand information and will heed your advice.