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Finding Your Niche as A Home-Based Travel Agent

Updated on September 11, 2014
Source

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!

Source

Education

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

Start Your Own Specialty Travel & Tour Business (Entrepreneur Magazine's Start Up)
Start Your Own Specialty Travel & Tour Business (Entrepreneur Magazine's Start Up)

A good guide to help you discover if a specialty travel agency or tour guide business for you. A number of checklists and forms, as well as start-up information.

 
Outside's Wilderness Lodge Vacations: More Than 100 Prime Destinations in North America Plus Central America and the Caribbean (Outside Books)
Outside's Wilderness Lodge Vacations: More Than 100 Prime Destinations in North America Plus Central America and the Caribbean (Outside Books)

If you're interested in camping and lodging, and would like to learn more about what is available, this is a great book. Learn more about the different types of lodgings and vacations, so you can speak knowledgeably to your clients.

 

Educational Links

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.

© 2011 Fantastic Voyages

What is your specialty?

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    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @MobileAppMan: It's a great idea! You could put together tours of your own, and be the tour guide. Or, you could get a group to go on a ready-made tour, and be the group leader. There is a lot of opportunity there! Good luck!

    • profile image

      MobileAppMan 

      6 years ago

      I lived in Peru for almost 4years and have wondered how I could make a living doing something along the lines of tour guide / travel specialist to the country. It is amazing but, because of the poverty and petty crime, a guide is a necessity. What do you think? PS Thanks for liking my Hug lens. :-)

    • fitnessdad70 profile image

      fitnessdad70 

      6 years ago

      There is a lot of great reasons to become a travel agent.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Good information. I think the travel industry has fast been changing with the ability to book online getting more and more sophisticated. If you don't have a niche where you can provide more than just a way to book flights for people, you will soon find yourself in trouble.

    • bikerministry profile image

      bikerministry 

      6 years ago

      So do you think a specialty in fly and ride (for bikers) is too small a field? Blessings.

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