It sounds like a dream come true, doesn’t it? No boss, no fixed working hours, and no long commutes with non-existent parking space. And all you need is a computer, internet, and a go-getter attitude, and you are on your way towards becoming a successful home-based travel agent. Right? Well, sort of. You still need to know a few things first, and we’re here to help you out.
Background and Niche
You can’t really be a successful travel agent if you haven’t been anywhere. As someone who recommends certain destinations to your clients, you will have to have some background in traveling to that particular area. You also have to be in a position to cater to your client’s needs. Do they want a quiet place, or a place filled with tourists? Do they want to see the local culture up close, or do they want to enjoy burgers at the mall no matter which country they go to?
Also, you can’t be all over the place when it comes to your target audience. Do you cater to retirees, or honeymooners? Do you want to take part in work-and-travel programs, or help out backpackers? Find your niche and stick to it.
Starting your own business can be hard and scary. There will be some time before you are in the black, but that is the price of being your own boss. Additionally, while you can take a day off whenever you desire and there are no fixed work hours, it’s mainly due to the fact that you have to set them up yourself. It is annoying when your boss tells you that you have to work over the weekend, and even more so when you are the said boss.
You were right about the computer and the internet. You don’t need the latest machine the market has to offer, but it does have to be something relatively strong and reliable. Same goes for your internet connection – you don’t need to be able to stream videos in HD, but a stable connection truly goes a long way these days.
Having a smartphone is not a must, per se, though it would be wise to have one, so that you may quickly access all the info you need when you are on the go. While you may be home-based, you are not home-locked, and there might be some situations where you need to respond quickly.
A good way to start is to get a hold of a legitimate host agency. A host agency is an agency that will help you get clients and commission. They are not your boss, employer, or employee. Think of them as a partner that creates win-win situations. They are not something that is 100% necessary, but we would urge you to consider getting in touch with one. This will facilitate getting a hold of your money and give you a slight sense of security.
Additional resources are always helpful, since they give plenty of amazing advice and guidelines, as well as a chance to do a bit of networking. If possible, become a member of a travel association, like ACTA or NACTA (there are plenty more). They provide travel agents with resources to do their job better. So check them out, and good luck!