Starting a career in the world of travel can be a thrilling venture. It’s also quite a profitable endeavor because the Travel and tourism sector contributed a whopping 7.6% to global GDP in 2022.
If you are a travel agent currently carving your path into the world, think about going into business. This path can be scary, especially if you’re unfamiliar with entrepreneurship. But don’t worry – we’ll guide you on how to grow and monetize your skills as a travel agent.
1. Join a Well-Established Agency
Even if you have your travel agent certification, this doesn’t mean you have the experience to find customers and satisfy their demands. This is why it’s important to work with an established agency first.
While this is unnecessary if you want to enter this business, becoming part of an established travel agency is less risky for beginners. These agencies provide extensive training for you to excel in the field.
Moreover, being associated with a well-known company allows you to gain credibility with potential clients easily. So, if we consider stability and learning opportunities, joining an existing agency is an ideal first step.
Consider Joining a Specialized Agency
Your second step would be to find your niche(s) in the big world of travel. Start by considering what makes you ecstatic about travel. It could be anything like exploring remote hiking trails or luxury island resorts.
For instance, if you’re passionate about all things Disney, you may want to become a travel agent for Disney. Disney travel agents require specialized training and must associate themselves with a Disney-approved agency before selling Disney travel packages.
2. Open Your Own Travel Agency
Once equipped with industry experience and necessary contacts, you may consider opening your travel agency. This prospect is exciting as it allows you to operate on your terms and can be incredibly rewarding.
However, being prepared is important because it involves hard work and strategic planning.
First, you’ll need a comprehensive business plan outlining your niche, target clientele, competitive analysis, financial projections, and marketing strategies. This blueprint is your guiding light throughout your journey from start-up to established business.
Remember that each state or country has its rules regarding licensing needed for operating a travel agency. So, get the necessary licenses for legal operation to avoid penalties or potential shutdowns.
You must also align with industry associations such as the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) or the International Air Transport Association (IATA). These affiliations lend credibility to your agency while providing access to benefits like networking opportunities and professional development resources.
Lastly, you must invest in a strong marketing strategy to stand out from your competitors. Depending on the niches you want to conquer, you may also want to improve your local SEO knowledge and skills,
3. Become a Travel Blogger
An unconventional yet increasingly popular route is becoming a travel blogger or influencer. The good news is that you can own your travel agency and be a travel blogger simultaneously. After all, blogging is a great way to increase your reach and bring in new customers (33% of US travelers use travel blogs for tips and advice).
However, this path requires strong personal branding and engaging storytelling skills. You also need strategic marketing knowledge about social media platforms like Instagram or YouTube.
In essence, as long as your content resonates with readers/viewers and maintains consistency in quality, you should be able to attract new readers each month. As your audience grows, brand collaboration opportunities will come knocking at your door.
The world of travel is undeniably exciting for a career, especially considering the many abilities of becoming your own boss. But if you want to ensure your success, starting slow and working with a well-established agency first is best.
As you gather more experience and skills, you’ll see a new world of business opportunities opening up. So stay up to date, focus on your growth, and grab the opportunity that best fits your plans for the future!