f you plan to become a travel agent or want to learn how to start a travel agency from home, you’d be glad to know that there are plenty of agencies that offer certifications, trainings, and the chance to own your very own travel agency.
A travel agent’s job functions may vary from assisting with booking/selling reservations to referring people to travel booking sites, where an agent receives commission.
Here are some tips to help you become a successful travel agent.
Research Travel Institutions and Education
The minimum educational requirement for individuals who want to become a travel agent is a high school diploma. Computerization and technology have increased training needs and most employers prefer applicants with a higher level of education such as a post-secondary vocational award.
There are vocational schools that offer full time travel agent programs as well as weekend and evening programs. These programs are also offered in community colleges and universities.
There are colleges that also offer a bachelor’s or master’s degree in tourism and travel. Although there are only a few courses that directly relate to travel and tourism, college degrees with background in world history, foreign language, communication and geography are often preferred by employers.
The American Society of Travel Agents features a correspondence course that teaches the basics of travel industry. While most travel agencies offer on the job training programs for their employees, there are also many reputable websites that give free detailed information and offer travel agent study course on how to start a travel agency business from home.
Be a Certified Travel Agent
Certifications will enhance your reputation as an agent and will show clients that you have met the professional standards set by an institution in the industry. The travel industry features several certifying organizations that are widely recognized today.
Experienced travel agents can take advantage of study courses from the Travel Institute that leads to a Certified Travel Counselor professional designation. The Travel Institute also features sales/marketing enhancement programs and destination specialist programs that provide a detailed knowledge of regions like:
•The Pacific Rim
Cruise Lines International Association or CLIA offers various certification programs that are recognized and respected in the travel industry.
Get a Travel Agent Job
Find a job with an agency or partner with an agency to help you run your own travel counseling business. Try to work with an established agency.
There are also travel agencies that allow you to work from home. Find a host agency that will help you in establishing your own travel agency. A host agency will show you how to start a travel agency from home, provide services, back office support, travel suppliers, marketing support and access to reservation portals.
Become a Registered Travel Seller in Your State
There are states that require registration. This type of regulatory requirement helps protect consumers and ensures that agencies are legal. Don’t forget to check with government offices for local regulations.
Become a Part of Organizations
Joining organizations is a great way to stay up-to-date on trends and news in the travel industry. These societies also offer continuing education and updates to their members. If you expect to be booking online airline tickets, become a member of the International Air Transport Association or IATA.