11 Experts Share Their Number 1 Tip for Becoming a Travel Agent in the US

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Becoming a travel agent can be difficult. Experts can help someone on this career path decide what will be best for their future work. U.S. travel experts offer the following advice when becoming a travel agent.

Specialize
A large number of travel opportunities are only a click away so it is important for travel agents to determine an area of expertise. A specialization helps provide clarity to the potential client. The focus could be on a geographical area, type of travel (i.e. adventure, honeymoon, religious), or category of travel (i.e. all inclusive resorts, cruises).

Focus on customer service
As a travel agent, one has to work with people daily. To be successful it is important to remain friendly and customer focused throughout these interactions. This can become difficult in certain situations but is imperative.

Focus on sales and marketing
Appropriate training or experience in marketing is important to gaining and keeping a good customer base. A solid knowledge of sales and experience in customer service is helpful.

Receive proper training
According to experts, training does not necessarily mean schooling. Gaining experience through working at a travel agency is often considered most beneficial. It is important to find the right training environment for you – one that will help you build a career.

Be flexible
Some days might pass by without business while some days might be busier than you would imagine. There are ups and down in this line of work so one must have the ability to withstand the challenges.

Who are the Experts?

Contributors ( in order the contribution was received)

So without further ado, let’s get into…

Tips for becoming a Travel Agent in the USA

Betty O’Brien/Ask About Luxury

Betty Obrien Want to get inside your clients head to figure out what they truly want and what will make them happy on their trip    

Ridha Lanouar/American Beyond Travel

Ridha Lanouar You have to be strong in Sales and marketing      

Dennis Hubbs/DDTVL

Dennis Hubbs Go to school and learn the basics – do NOT try to become a “pseudo-agent” by falling for one of those fake ID/card mill instant “agent-in-a-box” kits!!  

Jess Kalinowsky/Freinds Travel

Jess Kalinowsky I would NOT sign up for an expensive training program. Instead I would suggest finding a travel agency in your area that is willing to train you.  THE most important thing about being a travel agent is to be a good salesperson. Knowing the product and being able to communicate with your clients are THE most important things. Depending on what part of the travel industry you desire to specialize will depend on your “training”.

Alexander Dold/Dold world Journeys

Alexander DoldWow, I am honored that you would even consider me for advise. Not sure I am the right person. You see I was born into my family’s travel business which was not really the career I had wanted. In some ways it has turned out to be a blessing.  

Janet Caraker/Island Jacks

Janet CarakerYou must be prepared to give OUTSTANDING service to all clients regardless of the amount of commission expected.      

Sherry Barbee/Vacation Fantastic Travel

Sherry BarbeeFirst best advice to become a travel agent: you have to belling to be told no or never hear back from clients and don’t take it personally, especially family and friends. The learning process never stops. Some days are crazy, some days no business, that is when you work on education. Don’t try to see every product at the same, chose one and grow from there.

Michael Schoendorf/Idea Travel

Michael SchoendorfThe most important part of being a good travel agent is to be able to deal with the public either in person, over the phone, or on the internet. You must be knowledgeable about travel and selling in general. Your sales skills are utmost as you can waste days doing things for clients without any compensation. If you have a passion for travel and have visited any specific areas that you really like and want others to enjoy as much as you that is at least a good start. You don’t have to be an expert on every area as that requires time but you must be able to convey to the client that you understand what he wants and come up with a proposal for his planned trip.

Colombe McCarthy/DAI Travel

Colombe McCarthyMy # 1 tip would be to define what aspect of travel you want to be involved with. There is a huge difference in leisure travel , corporate travel and incentive travel. Once you decide which you prefer, focus on that and don’t try to be everything to everyone. I hate to say that college courses for travel agents is not what will get you hired… travel experience and curiosity are the best tools for this job. But more than anything else, a good network of potential travelers is going to be your strength. Nowadays, the only way to make money in this industry is to work as an independent contractor and affiliate yourself with an agency that has a great support system and great buying power. Those are the ones that belong to consortia, usually.

Ray Heckmann/Festival Tours

Ray HeckmannSpecialization! This is our number one recommendation for anyone wishing to enter the travel field. The advent of the internet has made purchasing travel quite easy for consumers, thus your edge needs to be your your in-depth knowledge of a particular travel segment, product line or destination, your expertise, coupled with superior customer service. Your goal is to become the go-to-person for your specialty and to then promote the heck out of it at every opportunity.   Your specialization could, for example, be in a particular segment of travel, ie. Destination Honeymoons and Weddings, Religious Groups, Corporate Meeting Planner, etc. Or it might be specializing in one particular product/category, ie. Cruises, All-Inclusive Resorts, Walt Disney World vacations, etc. Or it could be specializing in one particular destination/region, ie. South and Central America (our case), Hawaii, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, etc. This makes your messaging easy to understand and remember by prospective customers and referrals.

Ben Montgomery/Gala Travel Agency

Ben MontgomeryTips: Do your homework. Decided which agency will afford you better learning opportunities if you join their consortium of agent’s. No all shoes will fit your goals so first establish your goals and objectives and then do you homework to see which one is a fit for you. I you are going to be independent you can go do it but spend a lot of time learning your suppliers and the plans they offer agents.

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