Imagine earning $10,000 to $100,000 a year planning vacations, booking airline tickets, creating travel packages, offering the best cruises, and reserving hotel rooms other similar offers to people looking to travel soon. Now imagine you can perform your job as a travel agent in the comforts of your own home, even in your pajamas.
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If it sounds like something you’re looking for, there are a few things you should know in this line of work, such as:
- There are two ways to begin working as a travel agent – start your own travel agency, or work for an accredited host travel agency.
- Whichever path you take, the starting investment cost is low. You’ll only need a computer (or laptop), printer, stable internet connection, phone, and your own website.
- Many host travel agencies require agents to have some experience in the sales, customer service, or travel industry. If you’re switching from another career, there are training programs you can complete online.
- There are general travel agency packages, such as airline, hotels, and cruises, but sub-niches that cater to a very specific kind of travel deal also sell like hotcakes. Take Kari Bonnes’ own home-based originated Marvelous Mouse Travels, which she built alone and is now home to over 100 part-time agents.
How Much Can You Earn as a Travel Agent?
As travel agents, you obtain access to travel-related deals and you earn a commission every time someone books a deal from you. If you’re planning to work with a travel agency host full-time, you can make an average of $30,000 a year. Of course, this depends on your sales skills, target market reach, hours worked, percentage given by your host agency and other factors. Travel agents who have cornered a specific niche, such as destination wedding, often earn a lot more. Special rates are also given to bilingual travel agents.
If you’re a wanderluster and love traveling yourself, you’ll love the perks this job offers. For one, some big corporations provide familiarization trips to its best travel agents, allowing them to “test out” the product themselves, visit these locations being offered and sell travel deals more effectively. There’s also the massive discounts agents can use when booking airline tickets, hotel rooms, and other travel deals. Some companies even provide a home office (laptop, mobile phone, etc.) for its travel agents.
How to Get Started with Your Travel Agent Career
Jobs for online travel agents come in various terms, from “reservation agents,” to “destination planners,” “travel consultants” to “reservationists,” but all of them are under the travel agent umbrella. Here are some companies and travel agency hosts that offer part-time and full-time opportunities:
- Airlines – You can work as an airline booking specialist with companies such as American Airlines, JetBlue, Delta and more. There are part-time and full-time work available, but once these companies open slots for home-based work, they fill up pretty quick so make sure you get notifications from Indeed.com.
- Hotels, Resorts and other kinds of accommodations – Hilton Worldwide, Best Western, Hyatt, Marriott, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Omni Hotels’ Flex@Home Program are some hotel chains that hire home-based booking agents. Other companies like Hotel Tonight offer similar opportunities, but instead of just one hotel, they handle bookings for multiple hotels.
- Car rentals – Car rental companies like Enterprise, U-Haul and Hertz hire people to work from home and pay an average of $11 per hour.
- Cruises – Cruise.com is one of the most popular cruise booking agencies of its kind, but other companies like Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and Norwegian Cruise Lines also offer home-based jobs to travel agents.
- Event destinations – Some companies provide solutions for hosting events in another destination. Take Active Network as an example. This company offers sports companies a wide range of services that cater to sporting events.
- Travel planning – When customers require customized travel plans, companies like Cruise Planners and Disney Vacation Planner are there to make it as hassle-free and money-saving as possible. It involves everything from booking flights and accommodations, buying tickets, reserving seats on restaurants, events, and more.
- Credit cards – Even credit card companies have entered the tourism industry. American Express offers its card holders many domestic and international travel perks year-round. The company hires travel counselors to serve as customer support and sales reps for this product offering.
- Business travel – Anything goes with companies offering business travel solutions. From car rentals, hotel bookings, to restaurant reservations at another state or country, your job is to tackle all the needs of business travelers. Great examples of this are FROSCH, BCD Travel and Red Butler.
- Sub-niches – Super-specific travel deals are offered everywhere. Some examples include:
- Disneyland – Disney is a favorite travel destination, so it’s no surprise that dozens of companies offer travel agent opportunities aimed at selling Disney tours. These include Mickey’s Travel, Tiggerific Travels, Love The Mouse Travel , Off To Neverland Travel, Mickey Travels, Mouse Hunters Travel, My Mickey Vacation Travel, and Mouse Counselors, among others.
- Navigation – AAA helps travelers with navigation and roadside assistance. Virtual travel agents are there to cater to customers’ needs.
- Destination Wedding – DestinationWeddings.com has a membership fee, but it offers commission-based program for Certified Destination Wedding Specialists.
The Bottom Line
Note that many of these jobs require some experience or training. If you’re serious about a career change, check out Travel Leaders Group travel agent programs, where you can join a virtual class or learn independently. There’s a fee involved in both programs, but you can land a position with Travel Leaders Group or one of its partner companies after successfully completing the program.
If you don’t have money to spare for a legit travel agent program, you can also learn a lot from National Association of Career Travel Agents or Home-Based Travel Agent Resource Center.
The work-at-home job opportunities in the travel and hospitality industry are plenty. Check out the links above if you’re interested in a career in this field with the chance of a real income while working in the comforts of your home.