Now that people who want to travel can book and arrange their trips online, is there still a need for a travel agent? Absolutely. That’s because no matter how seemingly convenient arranging travel requirements online may appear, there are still a hundred and one trivial things that a trip can entail which can stress out the potential traveler.
Why Become a Work from Home Travel Agent
A home-based travel agent could be a newbie or college student who wants additional income aside from his day job; retired travel agents or retirees from different professions who feel the daily grind tiresome; an individual with disabilities but would like to earn money; and moms with young children. Depending on the type of travel agent you envision yourself to be, there are several travel agencies on the internet that offer opportunities for you to train and obtain certifications.
The home-based travel agent, like other individuals who have chosen to work from home, has advantages over the travel agent who works in an office five days a week:
• You don’t have to commute to and from the office, hence, reducing the stress and fatigue that often accompany the daily commute.
• You save up on transportation money and car and gas expenses.
• There is a decrease in the amount of childcare expenditure since you can look after your children while working.
• Reduced expenses for lunch, snacks, and other meals which you used to allocate a certain chunk of your salary for.
• You set your own work hours.
• You can decline other projects and take only those you feel you can deliver on.
• After some time, you can open your own online travel agency.
What a Work from Home Travel Agent Does
When a travel agent works from home, he or she functions as an external representative of a travel agency commonly referred to as the host agency, bonded as well as accredited by the ARC or Airline Reporting Corporation and IATAN or International Airlines Travel Agents Network. The home-based agent looks for, qualifies, and then books a customer. From that point, the host agency has the trip tickets printed and acts as conduit between the home-based agent and the “supplier” whose product is being sold by the home-based agent.
The commission that suppliers pay is divided between the host agency and the home-based agent. This commission is based on a certain percentage proportional to the amount of work and effort both parties extended to make the booking possible. A travel agent who works from home is not considered an employee by the host agency and remains an independent contractor who is allowed to obtain commissions.
How to Become a Work from Home Travel Agent
Assuming that you already have a PC/laptop, internet connection, landline and cell phones, a fax machine, printer and website, the aspiring travel agent will still need training through the following methods:
• Apprenticeship to a reputable travel agency. This is similar to a summer internship. There may be little or no pay but you will definitely learn so much by keeping your eyes and ears open.
• Employment with a travel agency. This is sort of like an apprenticeship with a salary and a potential for raises and bonuses after you have, more or less, mastered the fundamentals.
• Attend a vocational school which offers travel industry courses or a travel agent school dedicated to the training and education of future travel agents.
• Take online courses from accredited schools and ensure their issued certifications of course completion are legitimate and recognized.
• Sign up for training programs offered by a host agency to its home-based agents (these could be a separate offering or part of the regular sign-up fee).