BE A TRAVEL AGENT
In fact, do you feel like you NEED to travel to feel alive? If you feel you have travel 'in your blood', even if all you have done to date is research and book your own travel arrangements, you have probably thought "I should be a travel agent"!
Well, I have great news for you - if you do feel that a career in travel is meant for you - the travel industry wants you as much as you want in!
The travel industry in North America is ready to * EXPLODE * after Covid-19 is under control, as frequent travelers will have plenty of pent up travel-envy! 2022 is expected to break all travel records everywhere, in every segment!
And, even though travel agents have to live today with the 500 pound gorillas of online travel,
like Priceline and Expedia, and you might see most "inventory" travel (domestic airfares, hotels, rental cars) getting booked online, don't be misled - travel agents are, once again, seen as a vital resource for those travelers planning complex trips and vacations.
(Here's a travel sales fact - travel agents can earn much more by concentrating on cruises, tours, vacation packages and all-inclusive resorts - so that's what we teach - and do!)
The US travel industry is expected to need 50,000+ additional professional travel agents, in all segments of leisure travel sales - retail, wholesale, independent, home based/hosted - over the next 10 years!
Leisure travel has truly become a global marketplace, and the US market remains the top originating consumer market for many destinations and most upscale & luxury leisure travel products.
Selling effectively to this market is absolutely essential to future success as a travel agent. Smart Traveler's experience in training and mentoring new agents will give you an edge on your way to a career in travel.
Since 1988, Smart Traveler has trained, mentored and assisted travel agents to all levels of success in the leisure travel industry.
We help new to the industry travel agents learn the basics, increase their sales, expand their market, create & promote their "brand", and provide the resources to help ensure their success.
With our New Agent Program, we provide all the tools you need to be a professional travel agent, including a hosted website with a domain name that reflects the main focus (your “niche”) of your business - cruises, tours, all-inclusive resorts, or maybe you have a specific market you want to sell travel for (Fitness, Scuba, Chocoholics, Gluten Free, etc.), a Showcase listing in our company owned consumer focused website - OfficialTravelDirectory.com, personalized expert mentoring by travel professionals with extensive industry experience, and hundreds of millions in career leisure travel sales, and we provide you with all the tools you need to get you started!
We believe your best travel sales learning experiences are done "on the job", and our promise to you is to provide you with the mentoring, instruction and training you need to succeed, assisting you with each sale until you feel comfortable on your own. Plus, we provide REAL sales leads, help you convert those leads to REAL sales, giving you REAL income!
After our 12 month "earn as you learn" program, you will be a professional travel agent, ready to take on your own clients and transact your own business! Plus, you will have all the marketing tools we provide at your disposal.
BE A TRAVEL AGENT
How? Join Smart Traveler's Be A Travel Agent New Agent Program TODAY!
Once your 30 day ‘basic’ training is completed, we will provide real email leads, and assist you in selling, so you will earn a MINIMUM of 200% of your investment in our program!
Up to DOUBLE the commission % you could earn on your own as a new, independent agent! With average up front supplier commissions on your own starting at 8-10% With us: 14-16% from day 1! That’s 40%-100% MORE!
Website, E&O insurance, travel CRM, agent Q&A discussion boards, press releases – all to help you promote YOU to YOUR market …. and much more!
On demand training sessions and supplier webinars, FAM trips, expert support, plus reduced cost access to advanced training available from The Travel Institute for enhanced general travel knowledge, and CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) for cruise sales specific training.
There is no more cost-effective, or more immediate marketing than e-marketing. It is the best way to increase sales, gain market share, accelerate brand name recognition, and monetize expiring inventories, Smart Traveler has been e-marketing since 1996. Let us put our travel e-marketing experience to work for you in your local area!
Travel Agent Marketing Services by Smart Traveler that are included with our New Agent Program during your affiliation with us:
Although just about every other country on Earth requires a 2 or 4 year degree in tourism to actually be employed in the travel industry, the USA does not!
In the USA, true, career dedicated travel agents can more easily, and quickly, get the experience 'on the job' (with expert guidance, of course)!
(If that's you, read on.)
Global destination knowledge, best sales practices, itinerary planning, attention to detail and research proficiency, travel supplier knowledge and an understanding of various reservations platforms, all of which can be learned "on the job", will be critical for a career as a travel agent.
We provide the 'on the job' training, with on demand supplier webinars, proprietary marketing and sales tools, as well as access to industry and supplier training, for basic and advanced itinerary planning, cultural information, world geography, and an overview of the travel experiences available worldwide, and The Travel Institute for advanced agent education and training, and CLIA, the Cruise Lines International Association, for similar training focused on the cruise segment of the travel industry.
BE A TRAVEL AGENT
If you really want to be a travel agent, this will most likely require starting your own business for your own liability protection and adherence to all laws, national and local. On the plus side, in terms of starting a business, you can be a travel agent with relatively little overhead. Since you’re starting a business you can operate from your home, there are very few upfront costs compared to opening a storefront business, where you need to rent retail space (usually with a minimum 5 year lease Agreement), furnish it, buy office supplies & fixtures, pay for electric, insurance, internet, phones, build a website, and so much more!
I have opened 11 retail travel agencies in my career (all back in the 80's & 90's) and it cost at least $25K minimum just for the bare minimum to open! A lot less than many businesses, for sure, but, with travel, you are, often, waiting many months for commissions, as most suppliers do not pay until your clients travel, or even AFTER they return!
Additionally, to do this right (especially looking forward to travel as a career), you will have to decide what type of business entity you want to become - corporation, LLC (limited liability company) or sole proprietorship? We'll help you decide! Incorporating takes the most effort, and is the most expensive, but offers the most tax benefits and personal protection. Becoming an LLC could be sufficient, as it can help protect you as a business entity without having as many associated costs. (Small business owners often do business as a corporation or an LLC to protect themselves personally and their personal assets. If you ever get sued as an LLC or corporation, someone can come after your business' assets, but can’t come after your savings, house, car, or other personal assets.)
When you affiliate with us, you are an independent contractor working as part of a large "host agency". When you join our New Agent Program, we will place you with the affiliated host agency which is best suited to help you with your goals and future plans. During your first year with us, any fees normally assessed by the host agency we place you with are included in your New Agent Program costs. After the 1 year program, you will have the option of remaining with that host agency, switching to a different host agency, or utilizing your training and experience to explore sales positions at supplier call centers, or any other travel industry positions you may be interested in.
Down the road, you could also purchase and own a franchise of a general travel or cruise only agency. Most travel franchises offer EXPERIENCED agents greatly reduced, and in some cases zero, franchise fees, which can be $10K, $25K or more! Owning a franchise might be right for you eventually. If that time becomes your chosen path, we will be there to help advise you, and to verify your position as an EXPERIENCED agent, helping you save THOUSANDS in franchise fees!
BE A TRAVEL AGENT
Let me explain why Be A Travel Agent's New Agent Program is the BEST way to get, not just your foot, but your entire body, into the door of the travel industry. As a travel agent working from home, there is one sure way to grow sales and earn more - get more business driven to ...YOU! That's it - get more calls to your phone, and more requests by email!
Well, real, timely travel leads are the key to our program, and what makes us unique - and makes us the BEST option for the true, career-minded travel agent! We provide you with leads originating from our 700+ travel sites and over 500 non-travel sites. Over 1200 websites driving travel business to...YOU! (Well, to be fair, to you and the hundreds of other agents in the program!) Initially, after your first month, during which you will be learning general travel selling techniques and booking (reservations) processes, and until you feel comfortable answering most general questions “in real time”- without needing to research the answer or ask for assistance, you will receive only email leads. Phone leads will come only after YOU succeed in properly completing at least 25 email quotes, and successfully converting at least 5 sales from email leads (which you will earn commission on).
In fact, we GUARANTEE that, if you follow our guidance, guidelines and timelines for education and best sales practices, you will earn at least TWICE as much in commissions from leads sent to you for fulfillment during your 12 months in our program than you have paid us to be in the program. This does not include your own business that you sell during the 12 months – you, your friends and family are crucial to developing a solid client base - and they tend to be very flexible and understanding when you may not know every answer immediately.
We also provide you with many resources to help you build your own client base. In travel sales, it is important to keep your clients coming back year after year by finding great deals, creating memorable (in the good way) travel experiences for them, going the extra mile when necessary, and being knowledgeable and pleasant to work with.
As mentioned, when the end of Covid-19 is in sight, travel is going to explode as people try to "catch up" with the travel they haven't been able to do. With Covid vaccinations available worldwide, 2022 will be a record year for leisure travel - IN A BIG WAY! If you get in now, by the end of 2021, you will be ready, you will be trained, you will have the confidence to increase your sales as much as you wish to - you will be in control of achieving your financial goals. You will be a Professional Travel Agent!!!
Travel agents, as an industry, have average gross compensation of approximately $42K annually. Full-time, career, host agency affiliated travel agents, with 5+ years experience, and access to free leads, averaged over $87K annually in net earned commissions on over $1M gross sales (which is approximately one average cruise sale of $4K per day, 5 days per week)– with a range of $32K to $212K - in 2019.
The industry is changing — to the travel agent community's advantage - and if you move now, you can be prepared when the sales boom begins!
The travel sales industry used to be dominated by retail travel agencies, but is now predominantly driven by large host agencies and their independent agents.
In a 2018 travel industry survey, 61% of independent travel agents affiliated with a host agency make between 10-30% more than their retail agency counterparts, with 23.5% earning more than 30% more!
Find YOUR next place to visit....
BE A TRAVEL AGENT
You work when you want to (and travel when you want to – you can, literally work from anywhere in the world – even from a cruise ship)! I have been working from home & remotely since 2002.
You can build goodwill with every travel arrangement made! I have clients who I booked on their honeymoon in 1981, and every year since, I have booked their family trips, now extended with 4 children and 9 grandchildren.
after 40+ years, I NEVER get tired of clients' appreciation of my work! I always strive to hear “that was the best travel experience of my life”!
You'll find your niche, or niches, usually based on your own desired travel experiences, and they will be a base source of advice for your clients!
I never get tired of commuting from my kitchen to my home office - my coffee is always still hot when I get there! I’ve worked from cruise ships, beaches, a mountaintop hotel - and just about anywhere with Internet access!
Aside from our mentoring, the host agencies we affiliate with provide their own agent support, accounting, training, access to needed technology, and even customer support for YOUR clients while you're away on your travel adventures (and out of contact – see above) if needed!
If you are committed to educating yourself continually within the travel industry, growing your own customer base, utilizing our marketing assistance and leads, and supporting preferred suppliers, you CAN earn $100K+ annually.
You WILL get all the travel benefits that you are entitled to, based on your sales.
BE A TRAVEL AGENT
As a professional travel agent, your clients will rely on your advice and experience. While it truly is helpful to be well-traveled, it is much more important that your advice is driven by your passion for travel.
You WILL be the expert, and you must exude confidence in what you sell!
Beginning with prior sales and/or customer service experience, and an entrepreneurial spirit, can also be helpful. These experiences will all help on your road to travel sales success.
You can start by offering your travel agent skills to the people you are already connected with - your family and friends! Be the one researching options for complex itineraries, trying to anticipate travel needs.
Though the benefits are wonderful, there are some challenges to be a travel agent just like any other profession.
One of the main hurdles is the investment of time and money you must make when starting out. There are start-up costs, agency fees, and other fees and licenses you may need to be 'in business' legally in your state or community.
As an independent contractor, you will not receive traditional employee benefits like health insurance or paid sick time / holidays. The payment structure for independent travel agents may take time to get used to as well. It is fully commissioned-based, and often, those commissions are not paid to you until after your client departs on, or returns from, their trip.
Becoming an independent, professional travel agent is a long-term endeavor, and if you are willing to put in the time, it can be your career for life!
Independence does not mean that you are alone.
The success of independent travel agents is determined as much by their relationships with clients, suppliers, and their host agency, as their level of experience.
In fact, you become more of a "consultant" as you gain experience. Your clients will often depend on your recommendations when planning their next travel adventure.
EXPERT ADVICE: Listen at least twice as much as you talk! Listening and understanding your customer, in order to provide them with the unforgettable experiences they will love, is paramount to fostering these client relationships that will secure your future business!
The majority of your income in travel sales will derive from booking with travel suppliers. Ongoing supplier training, particularly with the suppliers that provide the services in your chosen niche (or, niches) is extremely important in keeping up with changes that can affect the next client you book, or, even the clients already booked with that supplier. You have probably heard about FAM (familiarization) trips. FAM trips are learning experiences, provided to you at deep discounts, often at 75-90% below retail, and they are an investment in YOU by that supplier. Suppliers and agents work together to create the perfect trip for each individual client. As a professional, independent travel agent, it is your responsibility to understand the travel offerings of any particular supplier you work with so you can best advise your clients.
Keeping your agent-supplier relationships current (particularly in your niches), and being informed of supplier news and changes will give you up-to-date knowledge to pass to your clients.
Despite the almost total shutdown of leisure travel due to Covid, people still want to plan, and travel on, vacations - and they always will - and, once Covid is under control - even more than ever!
Professional travel agents will always be needed! If you’re passionate about travel, it will show, and your clients will notice. There are many on-demand training courses and webinars available through our Program that can help get your travel education on the fast track, and you can do this on your own time.
With Be A Travel Agent by Smart Traveler, you will have lower start up costs, quicker start-up, and an immediate opportunity to earn!
All travel suppliers are available to you to book immediately through your host agency - with higher commissions and, in some cases, additional perks or guaranteed inventory!
Training opportunities are available immediately!
Our social network is available to you immediately!
All the tools you will need are there for you...IMMEDIATELY!
Plus, exclusively here at Be A Travel Agent - a GUARANTEED 200% RETURN ON YOUR INVESTMENT!
NOTE: If you have come to our site thinking it was a way to "buy" travel benefits - travel industry discounts, FAMS, and/or travel agent rates on suppliers - you could not be more "in the wrong place"! (Another travel sales fact - although there are 'travel' companies that, for a fee, will issue you what they call a travel agent discount card or travel agent 'credentials', more and more suppliers are requiring an INDIVIDUALLY [you] achieved level of sales to receive ANY type of discount. In the near future, the best these 'travel agent hobbyists' can hope for is receiving a commission on their travel, at which time the costs of membership will, in most cases, exceed the benefits, and these 'card mills' will go by the wayside, and these ‘hobbyists’ will disappear.) Smart Traveler continually exposes and calls out suppliers who provide any benefits to ‘card mills”. Why? Well, I have been a professional travel agent for over 40 years, and it really upsets me when a FAM trip benefit that SHOULD go to a professional travel agent gets booked by a ‘hobbyist’ who has zero intention of using the experience to enhance their travel knowledge or to better sell the supplier providing the benefit.
Yes, as you have undoubtedly discovered, this is a pet peeve of mine!
With our New Agent Program, you can earn, and therefore will deserve, any travel benefit that you desire!
I look forward to personally mentoring many more professional travel agents to success!
PETER E COLOYAN, SR., PRESIDENT, SMART TRAVELER
40+ YEAR TRAVEL INDUSTRY VETERAN