The travel industry is a seven trillion dollar industry expected to double to fourteen trillion dollars within the next decade. This lucrative industry is currently growing 23% faster than the global economy.
A key factor in this growth phenomenon is the steady stream of baby boomers who are retiring, or getting ready to retire. In fact, baby boomers are retiring at a rate of one every eight seconds. Travel was rated the number one thing these baby boomers intend to do when they do retire.
There is now an increased demand for qualified travel agents, due to the explosive growth of the industry as a whole. To become a certified travel agent, your options are not limited to the traditional brick and mortar setting.
Many reputable travel agencies are now offering attractive options for the individual looking for a legitimate home based business.
If your goal is to work as an independent travel agent from the comfort of your own home, you may want to consider working as an online travel agent.
Here are some companies that you can research, that offer excellent income opportunities and complete training. Please note, that many travel companies that actively recruit agents to work from home, will hire their agents as employees.
There are also travel companies that recruit independent agents. This option will offer the agent the freedom of being self-employed, and the ability to set their own hours.
To take advantage of this option, be aware that there will be an investment required. The ability to make money will be solely at the discretion of the agent who chooses to invest in this business model.
On a positive note, many agents who have invested in this business model are making a very nice income, so be sure to research this option before ruling it out.
Travel companies that currently offer the independent agent business model include TraVerus Travel Network, Global Resorts Network, and Your Travel Business, also known as YTB.
Make sure to do your due diligence! Be sure to research each company carefully, and make it a priority to fully understand the compensation plan. You will also need to know what training is available, and whether the company will offer you the opportunity to become certified.
Don’t be afraid to ask important questions, such as whether the company has IATA(International Air Transport Association), IATAN (International Airlines Travel Agent Network), and CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) Credentials. This is important information to know, especially if you intend to take advantage of the travel perks and benefits available to those in the travel industry.
Here are some questions to ask – What is the initial investment, if any? Are there any additional costs or fees associated with obtaining licensing, or becoming certified? And finally, if you are considering a work at home position, what kind of support and training is offered?
Next, determine whether you a right fit for the travel industry. Lets break down the qualifications that will determine whether you are suited for this challenging, but rewarding career.
Travel agents should have a minimum of a high school diploma. Agents should have a true love for travel,as well as a sincere enthusiasm and love for working with people, because these traits are crucial elements for success in this industry.
Travel agents should also possess excellent multi-tasking and organization skills. Attention to detail and accuracy are very important, along with great communication skills. In addition, good computer skills will be needed.
Travel agents should possess a professional, courteous demeanor when working with suppliers, and the general public. Sales ability and great interpersonal skills are an added plus.
The benefits of becoming a travel agent are many. I have listed the top three.
Travel agents save up to 80% on travel to many of the worlds exclusive resorts and destinations. These discounts include, but are not limited to:
a. Complimentary upgrades
b. Hotel room upgrades and discounts
c. Car rental discounts and upgrades
e. Theme park discounts
f. Vacation Packages
FAM trips, also known as familiarization trips. Suppliers will offer access to their facilities at substantial discounts so that travel agents will have first hand knowledge of their facilities. The travel agent will then be able to make recommendations and book travel for their clients based on their personal knowledge and first hand experience.
The supplier will roll out the red carpet for the travel agent to ensure the travel professional has an outstanding time.
There are also tax benefits for individuals who chose to do this profession as an independent travel agent. You should consult with your CPA or tax professional for more information regarding this benefit.
So, how do I become a travel agent? In summary, becoming a travel agent can be a lucrative and rewarding career. Should you decide that you possess the skills and abilities needed for success, you can look forward to a promising career.
In addition to the companies named in this article, you can do further research online at Google or Yahoo using the following keywords – become a travel agent, how do I become a travel agent, travel agent careers, or online travel agent.