Personal Travel

Become A Travel Agent – The Secret To Saving Up To 80% On Your Personal Travel

Remember the days when travel agencies were everywhere and before you took a trip you consulted a travel agent? Of course, that was before the advent of the Internet. Now the travel agent’s job is one of the fastest disappearing jobs there are, but there is still a reason for you to become a travel agent.

Now there is a new kind of travel agent called a home-based independent travel agent.

These independent agents take advantage of one of the most effective ways of marketing products or services. It’s called word-of-mouth advertising. As people are bombarded with more and more advertising messages, advertising messages are getting less and less effective.

When people use a product or service they like, they tell other people about it. That has always been true. But now this fact is much more important. If you want to grow market share these days, it’s best to find a way to take advantage of word-of-mouth marketing.

That’s why a new form of travel agency has sprung up. These “hosting” travel agencies still have travel agents in them, but these agents have a different role. Their role is not to find customers to sell travel to, there role is to sell travel to the people referred by the home-based independent travel agents the agency signed up.

The home-based independent agents are the ones actually “selling” the travel. But most of them aren’t doing it the traditional way with standard marketing techniques. They are taking deeply discounted trips themselves and then telling their family, friends, neighbors, and business associates about these trips. Since these independent travel agents can sell travel too, this word-of-mouth advertising helps them make commissions on the trips the people they refer make.

So not only are they getting deeply discounted trips, they are making money by simply sharing their experiences! These agents even earn commissions on their personal travel too!

That’s where you come in. If you want to get the same perks travel agents get, then you can now easily become a travel agent. All you have to do is to sign up with one of these travel agencies, read a training manual, receive a travel agent ID card, and you are now qualified to receive the same benefits as other travel agents.

You don’t even have to quit your job and become a full time travel agent to get the same travel benefits that were previously only available to travel agents who worked in a travel agency. You can travel at up to 80% off and make some money from doing something you’re going to do anyway…talk to others about the trip you just took.

In fact, everyone benefits. You benefit by receiving huge discounts. The travel agency makes money by selling more travel without expensive advertising. The hotels, cruise lines, airlines, and the rest of the travel industry make more money because they see more travelers. It all starts when you become a travel agent for one of these host travel agencies.

Get the Most Out of Your Travel Agent

Get the Most Out of Your Travel Agent

Booking air travel, making hotel reservations and arranging vacation travel in general has changed completely with the advent of the internet and many people try to be their own travel agents. While you can arrange seemingly most of your travel yourself, you can’t do as well as your travel agent in a long run!

Travel processionals, whether your local travel agent, tour operator or destination specialist still possess contacts that you as an industry outsider do not have. As in number of other professions, travel agents, whether in a shopping center near your home or an online agency, wherever they may be located, do know something you do not, have way to book and arrange travel for you in ways unavailable or unknown to you.

Traditionally you could contact a travel agent and ask for a quote, whether a price of an air ticket, hotel or a vacation package. For the most part travel agents still provide that kind of information, although there is a limit how much information they may disclose as not all information is readily available to them.

First of all, most travel agents indeed may have at their fingertips routine cost of air ticketing, hotel rates or certain vacation packages available and will be happy to provide the price information to you instantly when asked. But once your travel request will need to be somewhat customized, whether tailored to your dates of travel or your other travel preferences, to find a relevant answer will be time consuming. Because of this time element involved, do not automatically assume an agency is keen to spend the time to furnish the information you seek when there is no commitment you will travel at all.

Look at the situations from the following perspective. In the old days if you had a problem with your car, you’d drive it to your neighborhood car mechanic and asked him to see what was wrong with it. You would drop the car off at the garage, the mechanic would have a look and tell you what the problem was. He would also give you an estimate and it was up to you to decide if you wanted him to fix it right then and there, wait or seek another opinion and another quote. His services cost you nothing.

But not anymore. These days, no garage, no car repair mechanic is willing to spend time trying to find out what’s the problem with your vehicle without charging you at least one hour labor upfront. Pay and he will look and tell you. Up to you if you will decide to take your car to another shop or have him fix it, he has covered his time spent diagnosing what’s wrong with your car.

Similarly, many travel agencies and professional travel planners and tour operators will charge you an upfront travel planning fee if you are requesting travel arrangements that first of all are time consuming, or there is no guarantee you will book anything. All you are after are essentially private tailor-made travel arrangement s and there are no simple answers or options to give you, and the only way to find out will be for the agent to dig and consult all sorts of different sources he has at this disposal and then present the travel alternatives to you for you to decide upon.

When working with a travel agent, travel planner or any other travel professional such as a knowledgeable destination specialist, keep in mind that a certain protocol will assure you will get not only the kind of travel arrangements you want in general but also you’ll gain a true partner that will always work in your best interest whether you’ll travel away from home on business or for pleasure.

1. First of all, when contacting a travel agent, whether in person or online, don’t hesitate to give them your name – don’t worry, most agents won’t spam you back. Without your name when you’re asking for a valuable travel advice most agents won’t take your request too seriously. Call if you wish but most agents prefer not to take notes, email is a way to go and for an agent to look up a fare often a time means he has to plug in a name, so might as well that name will be your real name. If you decide not to accept the booking the reservation will expire and no harm done. If you decide later to purchase the reservation the agent does not have to rekey it into the system all over again.

2. If you’re trying to be you own travel agent, even in part, say you plan to book your own hotels online, disclose it to the agent your are contacting for assistance, he/she may still be interested to help you with the rest of your travel arrangements. Don’t hide your intentions from the agent as agents don’t like to be used for information gathering purposes only.

3. If at all possible, always contact your travel agent or destination specialist as soon as you know when and where you wish to travel, not last minute before your intended departure. That is even more important when you’re planning a trip to a lesser frequented destination.

4. Don’t book your flights and hotels online and ask a travel agent

Adventure Travel Agents

Adventure Travel Agents Provide Great Benefits For Your Adventure Travel

dventure travel agents make any travel possible and help you to enjoy your travel even more. Traveling is a way of exploring and experiencing what a particular place can offer, and all the things that can be really adventurous. However, travel will not be successful without adventure travel agents.

Planning to have an adventure travel can be confusing and time consuming. That’s why it is important to hire a travel agent. Looking for an expert agent that specializes in adventure travel is important for the success of your travel. They are the ones who will help you in making your plan for your adventure. The agent will not only arrange the various means of transportation but they may be able also to let you save money with special fares, early bookings, accommodation deals, and travel advisories. Not only that, there are also great benefits that you can get when you use a travel agent such as:

* Save Money- agents will really get great savings. With the strong relationships of the travel suppliers and the advancement in technology for computer reservations allow travel agents to access the most up-to-date details on how to get you the best deals and value.

* Travelers Advocate- your best interests are their priority. There are societies of travel agents in America that have a long-standing record on fighting for their clients’ rights, and every travel agent is required to stick to the strict Code of Ethics.

* Convenience- adventure travel agents really provide convenience for their customers. They are the ones that will provide all the things that you need for your travel. They mostly offer one-stop shopping travel arrangements.

* Great Service- agents are knowledgeable and active in their service. The travel agents are well educated and trained in order for them to offer the highest quality of service to the costumer.

With these benefits, your adventure will definitely be exciting and successful. Your personal agent will really work for you and will do everything just to provide you with your travel needs. An adventure travel agent is absolutely the best travel partner that you can have.

Using a Travel Agent

Using a Travel Agent – Pros & Cons

The Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) recently reported that there are 9,386 travel agents operating in the US alone. That’s an awful lot! But what do they offer the consumer that the consumer cannot do on their own? Also, as the internet becomes an increasingly more powerful tool in the world of travel, and everything is at the touch of a finger, are the days of the modern day travel agent limited? Let’s take a look

The Pros

Local Knowledge: You can’t underestimate the power of local knowledge! For any HSBC customers, you might have heard that phrase before; however there is some truth in it. Good travel agents will know your travel destination like the back of their hand. They will know the intricacies of putting a successful tour together that works in your chosen destination. For example: when putting together a tour in Peru I consider how altitude will affect the client and the route of the tour, or how seasonal weather could affect cancellations of afternoon flights. These small details are hard to know, if you are travelling independently.

Special Rates on your Hotels: Your travel agent will have special rates on most hotels in your chosen destination. Hotels operate different pricing structures based on who you are, and they typically break them down into three categories: rack, corporate and travel agency rates. Rack rates are what independent travellers pay, and are the full rate. Travel agents have pre-agreed confidential tariffs with the hotel, and are often in excess of 40-50% discount, over rack rates. So think about it! If a travel agent makes a saving of $50 per night on a 10 days vacation, that represents a saving of $500. In many cases the saving is actually quite a lot more! Of course special rates also apply to tours, flights, transfers, food and transport.

Local Representation: In most cases you travel agent will have a local operator who you can call on should you need them. Perhaps assistance with changing your tour, complaining about something you are not happy with or perhaps assistance with translation in a medical emergency.

Convenience: Simply many people do not have the time to plan a complex vacation. Travel agents are there to offer a professional service, so that you don’t have to worry.

The Cons

Stability: Just like all areas of business, every now and then companies run out of cash, and travel agencies are no exception. Travel agents handle large amounts of your cash every day, and only careful management of your funds mean that travel agents keep their business afloat. Be sure that you travel agent is in good working order, before you hand over your hard earned cash.

Limited Flexibility: Only very good travel agents can customize a tour to meet your specific requirements. Many high street travel agents only have standard packages in their arsenal, and may try and persuade you to take something they want you to have, rather than what you want. Only true destination specialists can get you what you want.

Hidden Fees / Or Not Telling the Whole Truth: As a travel agent, for me, it is vitally important to be open and honest about the complete package that I am selling. For example: what flights are included, what are level of accommodations, what meals are included, what entrance fees are included, and the list goes on and on. Often, when a client says to me, “I like you, and I like the tour you have put together, but you know I can buy the same thing a lot cheaper from another agent..”, I ask them to send me the quotation for comparison. Often, it is clear that the cheaper quote has not included internal flights, or is not specifying which 4 star hotel the clients are staying in, or they consider meals as optional extras. Unfortunately, this is common practice for many travel agents who are trying to show rock bottom prices. Only once you have paid your deposit does the whole truth become clear. Read you quotation properly, understand it, and ask as many questions as you see fit.

There are many more pros and cons to consider when making your choice, but at the end of the day it is really up to the consumer to decide what suits them best.

Travel Trends

Top 3 Travel Trends For Today’s Travel Agent

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

~~Mahatma Gandhi~~

1869-1948, Preeminent leader of Indian nationalism

Trend #1 – The Internet

Everybody knows that the internet has changed virtually everything… especially the Travel Industry. Online giants like Hotels.com, Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz have revolutionized travel. Even Travel Agents & Agencies are booking online while the general public searches and buys their own vacations online. In fact, it’s estimated that 82% of all travel is now being booked online. Travel is one of the most researched topics on the internet… and also the most profitable.

The internet is simple, seamless and the perfect medium for the travel industry. We just point, click, and pack our bags. Before the internet, however, an agent’s bread & butter was commissions earned with business travelers… predominantly flights. American Airlines was the first to pull the plug on paying commissions on flight purchases as the internet started coming into its own and more business travelers were finding better deals online.

Since 1997 well over 200,000 agencies went out of business. Over 1 million travel agents lost their jobs to the internet. That number grew after 9/11. The days of brick & mortar very quickly got taken over by click & order, making for a far more efficient system. However, those very few agents & agencies that could foresee the positive impact the internet could have for them, jumped right into the explosive opportunity that the internet introduced, to maintain as much of their client base as possible. Very few, a decade ago, opted to go with the flow of change. Today, everyone understands that the internet is here to stay. When we are adaptable to change, we flourish… and profit.

Because of the internet, the online travel agent is also home-based. Because of the tremendous opportunity, continuous industry growth, and #1 industry training, today’s travel agent is your mother, cousin, aunt, neighbour, best friend, etc. and earning 60-100% of the vendors commission. It’s for everyone.

Trend #2 – Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing has been and always will be the best way to market anything. Statistics prove that 80% of all vacations (most anything really) are taken because of a recommendation from a friend, family member or co-worker. Think about the last time you came home from a vacation. Did you keep it a secret? No way! We talk about it for 2 months before leaving and talk about it for 2 months after we get back! And we show everyone pictures and videos! And we recommend the destination and hotel to everyone (or not) and tell them where we bought our terrific deal!

Familiarization trips (FAMs) play a huge part in word-of-mouth marketing. The only way for agents to really learn about what they sell is to experience it first hand. FAMs are put together by cruise lines, hotel chains and destinations worldwide. They usually include accommodation, tours, meals, shows, transportation, etc. Prices are slashed making it affordable for agents to travel multiple times a year… VIP!. The vendors roll out the proverbial red carpet for agents when they arrive. They’re given the most exclusive experience possible because vendors know that when agents return home… they’re going to talk about it!

The average person will purchase his vacation online at retail, once a year.

Agents will travel multiple times a year, all over the world as far and wide as they want to go, for pennies on the dollar. For this, FAMs continue to be one of the major perks today for agents in the industry.

Which takes us to…

Trend #3 – Home Based Business

Travel students, Baby Boomers and everyone in between are bringing travel home!

Leading agencies smart enough to follow the internet trend, have gone online and now offer just about anyone the opportunity to be professionally trained to operate and sell travel from home!! Woohoo!! That’s right! YOU can sell travel from the comfort of your own home and get paid!

Doesn’t it make sense that if you’re going to travel anyway (especially as much as the Boomers), that you buy it from yourself and get paid? Or get paid commissions on the trips your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers are taking already? Of course! Most people will do business with someone they know & trust. You may as well be that person, right?

Agencies quickly caught on to the franchise phenomena online and have opened up the opportunity to just about anyone with a valuable work ethic who is willing to learn. Coupled with word-of-mouth marketing… you’ve got a winning combination! The more knowledgeable you become, the more perks, FAMs, FREE trips, upgrades, etc, become available to you… cha-ching!

I’ve been selling travel for years. Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a travel industry professional. For more than two decades I’ve been asked “How did you come by this work?”

Travel Agent

How to Find the Right Travel Agent?

In today’s Hi- Tech world, we have easy access to all kinds of information. We’re able to research, compare, and book travel right in the comfort of our own home. But the question arises – Who needs a travel agent anymore?

Fewer of us do, apparently. In last one decade the travel agents statistics had fallen by about 30%.

“They are an outdated remnant of past practices that add virtually no value to any transaction today,” says one of the employee working for Michigan airlines. After my recent recommendations of travel agent in various columns, I’ve been on the receiving end of the feedback – How could i..?.

So, here let me discuss about this common query. I believe that travel agents today still offer services and information that we can’t get on Internet. Granted, some things such as booking a simple flights, most people can successfully manage on their own. A travel agent however, can recommend smaller, alternative airports that the discount carriers use. This alone can save you quite a bit of money. However, the key thing that travel agents today offer is their first hand knowledge and right information. In planning a trip or vacation, one wants to find information about the places and regions suitable to them. Here the role of a travel agent comes into act considering the fact that they have traveled to many different places, they can provide much more insight than a brochure or web page can. Thus, finding the right travel agent is inevitable. The same thing goes for tours and specialty travel such as luxury, adventure, villa rentals, etc. A competent travel adviser can be your greatest asset when you’re planning a trip. The key word here is “competent.” And let me also define what I mean by agent: I’m not necessarily talking about an offshore call center worker reading from a script or a hobbyist who paid a few hundred bucks for bogus agency credentials. I mean a bona fide, certified travel professional. Once you decide to book a trip through an agent you must go through few quality check of an agent. These few measures include:

Understanding An Agent And Using Your Intuition – It’s important to feel out a prospective travel agent to see if you can build a rapport with them. This can be done even when you’re dealing with an Internet agency, through phone calls or e-mails. Face-to-face meetings are not necessary. The choice of right travel agent comes from knowledge, not words. The correct answers to your direct questions are what count. Before you even ask for a price quote, probe the knowledge and personality of the agent you may be putting in charge of your hard-earned vacation. If you get the right feel about this person, you then ask for a price quote. If a travel agent quotes you a price that is not the same as, or lower than the cost of booking directly, or doesn’t offer incentives like free insurance, or even a pre-cruise hotel room, they are choosing not to compete — a choice some agents do make. They hope to attract uneducated consumers. This not the kind of agent we recommend, unless the service is so fantastic you don’t mind missing out on a few perks. But price alone may not always be the best factor to find the right travel agent. We want the best price, but we also want assistance and service when we need it. Hence, when your skull asks this ” How to find the right travel agent”, the above mention criteria should strike you first.

Look For Certification – A right travel agent must be certified from some travel body or institution of his nation. This proves to be more promising or as the elderly travelers say “a certified travel agent is the right travel agent”.

Stay Local And Interview The Agent – There’s no substitute for the personal touch. My best experiences with agents have been one-on-one. The ability to meet – to look the agent in the eye, to shake his or her hand – is something online agencies can’t match. (Note: not all agents work in an office, but home-based agents can and do make personal visits.) The only exception to this rule is if you’re out to find an agent with a sought-after specialty. But even then, a trusted voice on the phone is preferable to the often unintelligible, script-reading customer service associate you’re connected to when dealing with a large agency. Mind this- a professional travel agent makes personal visits. Don’t pick the first agent you find. Talk to the travel pro. Pay close attention not only to the way your prospective agent responds, but also at what’s going on in the office around you.

Pressure Check – The only way to know for certain if your travel agent is a keeper is to see what happens when you run into trouble. A right travel agent would run through your foot steps in trouble. You must conform the services provided by the agent under such circumstances.

Good travel agents have an edge over almost any other seller of travel. They know what you want. They speak your language. And they’re there fo