Can I Really Make an Income As a Home Based Travel Agent?

You’ve made the decision to start some type of home based business, but you just aren’t sure which one. There are as many business opportunities to choose from as there are flavor combinations at Cold Stone Creamery. But, the one thing you know for sure is that you want to do something fun – something completely different from what you’ve done before (and possibly what you need to continue doing until you start making an income at home).

Wading through all the “fun” home based opportunities, being a travel agent catches your eye. It sounds exciting. Plus, you already love to travel. It sounds too good to be true. You ask yourself, “Can I really make an income as a home based travel agent?” You wonder, “Will I really be able to build a legitimate travel business from my home and one day be able to quit my full-time job?”

There are a couple of factors to consider when making such a decision. First, do you know anything about the travel business? If not, it would be imperative to align yourself with a good host agency who will help train you, show you the ropes, and provide excellent support to its agents. You ask, “What’s a host agency?” Basically, a host agency is a travel agency who has already established a relationship with various suppliers. They are already doing business and have experience. They also have travel agency credentials, as well as an errors and omissions insurance policy that often covers independent agents. The best type of host agency is one whose main objective is to support its outside or independent agents. They don’t sell travel to consumers. They don’t have an in-house sales department. Their customers are independent travel agents, and they work hard to give great customer service to the agents who contract with them. You don’t want to affiliate yourself with an agency that is actively seeking consumer business too. This often creates a conflict and you’ll find that your host agency is trying to juggle pleasing too many clients (you, as well as their consumer clients).

The second thing to consider is whether you’ll do what it takes to build your business if you become a home based travel agent. Let’s face it, sales is the biggest part of just about every home based business out there. In order to sell something, you have to love it and have a passion for it. That enthusiasm has to be genuine and contagious. You need to determine if you love travel enough to talk about it all the time. You might be interested in specializing in only one area of travel that you love – cruises, for instance. You’ve been on a cruise and talking about your experience on your cruise really turns your crank. That might be your passion. If it is, then your chances of success are much greater. Find that area of travel that makes your face light up when you talk about it. Once you find it, your enthusiasm about it will translate into sales success.

Lastly, do you have the self-discipline to work for yourself at home? Can you leave that pile of dirty laundry until the weekend in favor of taking care of your business? Can you say “no” to all the distractions that tug for your attention all day long? If you have the self-discipline to follow through with the day-to-day affairs of your business, then you’re well on your way to being a successful travel agent.

The bottom line – the opportunities are certainly there to make a good income from home as a travel agent. The conditions are ripe for consumer business. More and more people are traveling each year. Some travel suppliers – especially the cruise lines – are doing so much advertising that most people are already familiar with what you sell when they learn you sell cruises. The sales pitch has already been made. All you need to do is close the sale. Plus, with the advances in internet technology, home based agents can easily access supplier sales tools and reservation software, keeping them on par with traditional storefront travel agencies.

With perseverance and a little hard work, you can definitely make an income as a home based travel agent. The clients are out there. All the tools you’ll need are available to you. With the right host agency partner and a savvy business plan, the sky is the limit.

How To Protect Your Vacation Money Against Your Travel Agent Going Bust

1. Pay by Credit Card if Possible

Most credit card companies do, by convention, shoulder the responsibility if the travel agent you book with goes out of business. In the United Kingdom, under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, the credit card issuer and trader are equally liable for purchases of £100 – £30, 000.

Some companies, though, because of the location where they operate, are not able to process credit cards. They may be an excellent, reliable company but merely by the fact of being based in Peru, are unable to take payments by credit card.

In this case, what do you do?

2. Take out Travel Insurance

Everyone should take out travel insurance in addition to that offered by their credit card company. For emergency health care, theft and unexpected events of all kind, it always makes sense to take out travel insurance. Most policies offer cover against ‘financial default’ ie if your travel agent goes bankrupt or stops trading in any way. In order to be covered for this, however, you should take out your policy at the time you pay your vacation deposit. Often, you will only be covered for financial default if you take out your insurance within 15-30 days of paying your vacation deposit. Certainly you should get your insurance BEFORE you make your final payment.

3. Check where the company is registered

Who would you rather book with? A travel agency with offices in Ecuador but registered somewhere in Central America, or one registered in the USA?

Best of all, is a company based in the United Kingdom. All UK travel agents have to take out insurance protecting customers if the company has financial difficulties.

4. Check what the travel association memberships mean

Travel Agencies are very keen to show you what associations they are members of. But what to those memberships actually mean?

ASTA: Members adhere to a code of conduct. Members do not need to show any financial information or pay bonding to ensure security for travelers. If your travel agency goes out of business, there is little ASTA can do besides cancel the agency’s membership of ASTA.

ABTA: Members have to adhere to a code of conduct. Financial information of the agency has to be disclosed and / or members are required to have bonding as security to passengers in case the agency gets into difficulties.

ATOL: For travel agencies who sell airline tickets. Also requires members to submit to certain financial criteria covering passengers if the agency or ticket issuer gets into financial difficulties.

There are plenty of excellent agencies operating on the ground, in the places you want to visit; and it makes good sense to use their local contact and knowledge – just make sure that when you do, you are money smart and keep your vacation money safe!

What Travel Agents Need to Know About Corporate Travel Today

This is rightly named as the age of traveler-centricity and with the evolution of the new era of personalized travel; it is leading to research and development of a host of new so-called intelligent services. The command-and-control perspectives of traveling have changed a lot from the past and the focus has shifted more on the traveler and the productivity of each trip. It has become essential to maintain that the travelers have the greatest return on investment on each trip. New generations of young employees and managers, who have been growing up and dwelling in a digital age, are moving up the ranks as travelers. It has become essential to recognize the need for greater flexibility acknowledging that the employees who travel on corporate trips also consider a percentage of their trip to be a leisure outlet. With increasing globalization and rise in companies sending their staff overseas to network and connect with their offshore prospects/customers/suppliers, corporate travel is a highly profitable tourism segment. Before we talk about how tourism companies can better cater to business travelers, let us first look at why they prefer to use specialized corporate agencies over traditional agents

Why do businesses use Corporate Travel Agencies?

This might be the most basic question for a travel agency as to why they need to use agencies specializing in corporate travel when there are plenty of regular travel agents in the market. Here is the importance of corporate travel agencies who have online systems which allow business travelers access to their complete itinerary.

The following information is at the fingertips of the CTAs:-

  • full business itinerary details
  • up-to-date tracking details of flights (including delays or rescheduling)
  • transparent details about additional costs such as baggage fees or in-flight fees
  • travel alerts, if any, in the destined area
  • complete and up-to-date details about the visa procurement policies and identification required
  • currency requirement and conversion rates

What do corporate clients expect from Corporate Travel Agencies?

Negotiated Fares

The Corporate Agencies tend to have tie-ups with hotels, car rentals, flights etc. giving them access to lower fares which can be used only by the frequent business travelers. Discounted prices are not the only advantage though as they also offer flight upgrades, room upgrades, and VIP check-in lines as required.

In-depth information about the travel industry

Corporate travel agents have access to many travel resources and most importantly, quickly, than any other leisure travel agent. Additional information helps to make the business trips convenient and comfortable.

Changes in Itinerary

When an airline ticket needs to get rescheduled or cancelled, chances are the airline or the online service provider will charge lofty fees. When booking with a corporate travel agent, most of the times schedule changes can be done at zero or minimal extra charges.

Viable emergency contacts

It is important for the business travelers to reach the correct person at the need of trouble. Corporate travel agents have the experience and professionalism to relieve stress for both the traveler and the company.

What you need to consider as corporate travel increases?

Business Travel Barometer reported that corporate travel is witnessing an accelerated growth. However, when poorly managed, it may be no longer an advantage to companies and may, in fact become a burden. There are some factors which the corporations and CTAs must consider to get the best out of the time spent traveling.

Adopting a travel policy

The corporate must define a travel policy which is applicable to and respected by travelers at all levels. This policy should be used to establish the standards which will help to track the improvement of business travel. It will eventually help to reduce the costs of the entire package.

Do not limit the traveler’s autonomy

The management is responsible for budgeting the travel policy which helps to improve cost management however, it is also essential to give a degree of autonomy to the traveler. The policy should be flexible enough to allow the employee to adapt the trip as per the situation.

Traveler’s security should be a major concern

Business travelers need to have security in place. The company needs to stick to its definition of standards to ensure the employee’s integrity. The CTAs should have reliable partners (travel insurance, airlines, hotel chains etc.).

Mobility and automation

To optimize time and ease the processes, the administration of management platforms should have automated processes. This means they should adopt mobile solutions where search options, travel alerts, ticket reservations etc. can be accessed quickly, easily and on the go.

Corporate Travel Trends in 2016

Corporate travel trends tend to change regularly. 2016 has also not been any different and the travel management companies (TMCs) and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) are quite focused to provide steady if not strong axis all over. A growing MICE sector, investments in mobile and big data and enhanced focus on duty of care are some of their areas of focus.

Rising prices

The consolidated buzzword among global suppliers, airfares, hotel rates etc. is the rising fares. It is sometimes the move of the suppliers to generate discounts which encourage travel if there is a strong decline in demand. A positive 2016 world economy has been bringing an increase in air fares of a few percentage points, hotels are expected to see 4%-6% rise in average global rates and the competition will remain moderate in the car rental services.

Duty of care

Risk management is one of the major points of emphasis for corporations. Corporate customers are allowing new policies and improved technologies to monitor employees’ location in case of an emergency, especially when they are travelling to foreign destinations. For instance, Concur Risk Messaging helps to identify the travelers moving around in the world and alerts them with alternate travel arrangement as and when needed.

Focusing on MICE

Meetings industry is a major growing sector and the corporate travel trend is developing on it. The corporate travel agencies should better start aligning the various meeting procurement methodologies with its transient travel sourcing. One of the ways could be to broaden the variety of meeting services by incorporating incentive trips within it.

Investing in technology

A sharper focus on increasing value and becoming more traveler-centric can be done by bringing in mobile friendly technologies. Mobile and big data are definitely the two most significant technological investments which any corporate travel agency must focus to make their platform more appealing.

Business travel analysis after Brexit

Following Brexit, ACTE and CAPA shared their speculations. According to them, the greatest short-term effects on the travel industry will come from the weakening of the pound against other world currencies. Greeley Koch, executive director for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives said that the business travel industry will trend on currency fluctuations; with some companies taking advantage of the weaker pound and traveling more, while others may withhold business travel until world markets find their own level.

Impact of terrorism on corporate travelers

Travel policy makers and administrators need to be guided by rising terrorism scare. For executives and staff undertaking travel on behalf of businesses, the travel agents and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) should prove the reassurance for their safety through the travel policies. It is more than likely that the surveys conducted over corporate travelers reflect the general concern of the global business travelers about the spate of terrorism. However, there is no denying the fact that terrorist threat is changing the patterns of business travel. The key impact of this is to keep in mind that the companies providing travel services for business travelers need to enhance their focus on security and the associated risks in delivering the services to corporate clients. According to a recent finding, travel managers have higher estimation of their policy’s effectiveness in addressing risk compared to skeptical business travelers.

Concluding

Although the corporate travel sector has continued to progress, there are a plethora of challenges faced by the industry. A rapidly changing consumer market, the emergence of new business models, the impact of technology, man-made and natural crises are some of the fulcrum points that need to be considered before planning corporate trips.

Travel Health Care Insurance Is Really a Basic Need When You Go Abroad

There are many top reasons to obtain travel medical health insurance as well as other forms of travel insurance packages when you travel overseas. Among the main reasons is always that there are numerous techniques for getting sick in other countries and when you would like to acquire very good hospital treatment you will have to make sure you are able to afford to help you get back home. What if you’ll need to be airlifted from a remote place to a main area while on family vacation? This is very pricey however, you can die if you don’t get great medical assistance instantly in most predicaments. Getting picked up by a chopper is included in lots of the top travel medical insurance offers that you could buy.

Travel insurance products may include flight insurance which will protect you when you’re literally in mid-air or even in the airplane. In the event the plane goes down and blows up on the tarmac, your named successor can accumulate the death benefit from the insurance provider which granted the holiday insurance.

The commonest method to purchase travel health insurance and other types of travel security packages are at the airport. Typically there are manned or un-manned kiosks nearby the gates that sell the insurance. Even when no clerk is there you can still complete the application form, hold a copy for your records and drop it into the collection box before you board the plane itself. The insurance kicks straight into effect the minute you place the envelope with the application in to the protected container. You add your flight number on the application while stating the approximated number of days that your journey will take and you are done and all set for the trip.

Travel insurance also protects you if your plane is postponed or your planned flight is cancelled, or if you have to change travel plans at the last-minute. The insurance will then protect you by paying any variations in ticket prices. Some restrictions apply which means you need to see the fine print on the deal. The same travel insurance package covers not only travel medical insurance demands but can pay you should your suitcases gets lost or is detained in arriving when you get to your vacation destination. In order to buy some substitute garments, travel insurance will often pay for it, up to a certain amount.

Travel Guard is probably the most trusted and also popular travel cover organizations and they’ve supplied travel health insurance to travelers for a while now. Their package of benefits consists of emergency transportation and prescription drugs as well as surgery and prolonged hospital stays in other countries when you are touring. Travel Guard has various amounts of coverage packages offered plus they range in price along with product or service benefits.

Look into Travel Guard at http://www.travelguard.com. This can be a very informative internet site with many travel tips and advice as well as databases of handy contact numbers for embassies along with other aid for Americans traveling abroad.