If you are someone who is:
fascinated by the best flight deals,
loves creating itineraries for others,
loves exploring flight options to choose the best budgetary tickets,
And have a lust for travel,
then becoming a travel agent might be the right career for you.
In this age and time, when the digital boom has made information accessible at everyone’s fingertips, you might think that a travel agent is no more relevant. But even today, agents are earning big bucks. Some people need efficient planners for a successful trip.
Now you might’ve got many questions about the whats and hows of being a travel agent. Just take a deep breath and relax! We’ve got you. Read this blog till the end to dispel all your queries about the field.
This is How Much You Can Make as a Travel Agent
Let’s face it, money is essential. You need to be smart enough to change or take up a profession after considering the growth prospect of the field you intend to go in. The first thing you should remember is the salaries of travel agents are not uniform across the globe. There are various pay scale slabs for a travel agent depending on experience, area, employee/owner of travel agency, and area of expertise.
The pay spectrum for Travel Agents lies between $28,000 to $74,000, with an average salary of $43,000 with 3+ years of experience. There is an inter-state difference as well, with Nevada paying as high as $49,000 while Puerto Rico is paying $22,000.
If you are someone who wants to get a job in the field, you must know that travel agents can earn extra money if they are allowed to charge commissions on bookings through their referrals. Many companies allow it, but many don’t. Those who work for corporate entities and not under any agents have a scope for earning a six-figure salary with consistent effort.
Booking Commissions For Travel Agents
The commission process, like the overall pay calculations, is complex and diversified. Many agencies offer a fixed commission for every booking, while many have conditionalities. Many independent agents charge a commission on every planning service, i.e., separate commissions for an airline ticket, hotels, car rentals, etc.
An ideal commission rate that a tour agent charges lies between 10-20% of the retail price. This commission increases as you gain experience and an affluent clientele who prefer to give more money for a hassle-free and fun trip you curate.
For a more detailed explanation of commission and booking, you can refer to the infographic, which explains an example of how the system works.
There are few professions where educational qualifications are not something that will hold back your progress. It is only your skills that will take you forward. Becoming a travel agent is one such profession.
Top colleges offer many certifications and degrees in the field of tourism. Still, if you have a good knowledge of marketing and the hospitality industry with a knack for exploring places, then certification is not mandatory. However, if you are looking forward to getting a formal job with a well-established company, you might need a proper educational qualification.
The Travel Institute conducts the Travel Agent Proficiency Test that you can use as proof of competence as a travel agent. The same body also offers different certification programs for those aspiring to be high-level agents.
You can either prefer the expertise of a particular country or specific service(like airline booking) or be an all-rounder like water that flows and fits everywhere easily!
Time Taken To Become A Travel Agent
As mentioned above, this field is more about skills. Suppose you are a complete fresher with no experience in basic tasks like creating itineraries or making reservations, or enrolling in a formal educational program. In that case, it will take four years to get a professional degree or 1-2 years for other certifications.
Once you gain some experience, Travel Institute can take the TAP test, which also offers accreditations like Certified Travel Associate, Certified Travel Counselor, and many more based on experience. You can use these accreditations to showcase your potential to the world as a validated travel agent with a rich experience.
Self-Employed Travel Agents
Who doesn’t love to be their boss and work at their convenience? This profession gives you the liberty to pursue it on your own. However, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Narrow down a niche- since you start with being a single-person company, don’t overload yourself and specialize in a single area
- Have a plan- Businesses are created and perish every day. Proper and thorough planning can keep you in the former category.
- Connect with a hosting company- as a travel agent, you are liable to the clients for your reservations. Connecting with a good host company is essential to avoid getting into trouble and have good back-end support in case of a mishap
- Have Patience- Overnight success is short-lived, while slow and steady success ultimately wins.
Skills To Become A Travel Agent
Are you still wondering if this field is the right fit for you? Let me help you with a checklist that might ease this for you.
|Are you adventurous?||Are you willing to take the pain to help people get the best deals?|
|Are you a travel junkie?||Are you good with numbers?|
|Do you try to find the cheapest and best possible options for travel?||Do you have the ability to convince people?|
|Are you comfortable with public communication?||Are you comfortable with the use of technology?|
Read the above questions carefully and introspect on your strengths. Travel agents must be good communicators, marketers, administrators, tech-savvy, patient, and creative. Even if you consider yourself mediocre or average at these requirements, there is nothing to worry about. Skills develop over time. If you intuitively feel this field is the one for you, then be brave to work on your skills. Go out and meet people; brush up on your communication skills; talking to more people will help you understand their weak points that polish your marketing side and embrace technology, for it is the future.
Pros And Cons Of Being A Travel Agent
The pros and cons exist in every field, and a travel agency is no different. These are listed as follows:
|Remote work is possible||Time requirement is high, especially if you are a beginner|
|Travel a lot||Less stability due to technological advancement|
|Can be a side hustle||Requires someone comfortable with technology|
|Easy to pursue it as a self-owned business||Competition is high|
|Many areas for specialization||Risk factor is high- frequent price change, quality of reservations not as promised|
|Good for those exploring career change||Stress factor is high- No security, no sales no pay, constant updating of information, peak demands in travel season difficult to handle|
Travel Agent is a fantastic career opportunity for those who love to explore this world and help others do the same. With the right approach, you can thrive in this competitive field easily and comfortably.