Finding Your Niche as A Home-Based Travel Agent
Choosing Your Specialty As A Home-Based Travel Agent
With airlines not paying commission, and the Internet used as a public library, there is a greater need to specialize than ever! Travel agents who act merely as "order takers", who rely on airline ticket sales, or who continue selling all travel products will be left behind.
Travel agents need to find their niche in the travel industry. By specializing in a particular market, you will see an increase in profit. Clients will be pleased to find an agent who is dedicated to not only a particular product, but to the client himmself!
Reasons to Specialize
- The fewer products you sell, the more time you have to devote to your specialization.
- The more you know about a specific product or market, the easier it is to sell.
- Knowledge equates with passion, and your clients will become as excited as you.
- With fewer products, you can cut down on the amount of brochures you carry, thus freeing up office space.
- Suppliers recognize and reward agents who sell their products exclusively.
Choosing Your Specialty
So how do you decide on a specialization? The following questions may help you decide:
- Do you enjoy sports? Your specialty could center around golf, scuba, tennis, sailing or other sports activities.
- Are you active in your church? Your specialty could be pilgrimage tours.
- What is your marital status or age? Tours for singles, couples, students, seniors and families are great sellers!
- Are you partial to a destination? Packages are available for theme parks such as Disney and Universal Studios, as well as particular cities and countries.
- Do you favor a certain mode of transportation? Rail trips, motorcoach tours, cruises, barge trips, and fly/drive trips could be your specialization.
- Are you a member of an alternative lifestyle group? Because few agencies cater to gays and lesbians, these markets have great possibilities!
- Do you care about the environment? Eco-tourism is a great draw for many clients.
Look at your life and your lifestyle, and see what excites you the most. It's much easier to sell something that excites you, and the more you sell, the more money you make!
After deciding on your specialization, take time to learn everything about it! Become an authority on your subject! Your research will pay off in increased sales. Do not be afraid to turn away prospects who do not fit your niche. If you are honest about your specialization, those same prospects will remember you later!
You can learn by reading travel brochures & books; attending education seminars, webinars and trade shows, and taking classes offered by the suppliers. Many of the trade magazines are free, or low-cost, and come in print & online editions. Just make certain you keep up to date on your specialty, and keep your clients informed!
Learn More About Your Specialty
There are many free or inexpensive options to learn not only about the travel agency business, but to gain insight into your specialization. Here are my favorite links for educational opportunities:
- Travel Weekly Magazine offers information on all types of travel: airlines, tours, cruises, car rentals and hotels. Online courses and seminars are offered on a regular basis. A hardcopy subscription is available for free, or you can read the latest news online.
- Vacation Agent Magazine contains a wealth of information on cruises, tours and vacations. Geared towards the leisure traveler, you'll learn which destinations are hot, how to sell them, and where to look for clients. Free subscriptions available by mail or online.
- Agent at Home is a magazine directed to the work-at-home travel agent. It provides the tools and resources needed to help you become a profitable agent. This magazine is published by travAlliance Media, the parent company of Vacation Agent Magazine. Click here to get your free subscription.
- Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) provides classroom and online training geared towards the cruise industry. By taking their classes, you can earn industry designations such as "Accredited Cruise Counselor" and "Master Cruise Counselor". To join CLIA, you must pay an initial membership fee of $325.00, and courses are additional.
- Travel Agent University offers a wide variety of free online courses on destinations, resort chains, activities and specialized travel. Certification is awarded upon completion.
- Best Money Making Ideas: How To Become A Home-Based Travel Agent
Would you like to earn money as a work-from-home travel agent? Here are the steps you need to do so!
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