Helping people expand their horizons by seeing the world is one of the most rewarding things you can do for a living. And fortunately, travel is seeing a growth boom and there’s never been a better time to become part of the industry. Before you jump in with both feet, take some time to write down a list of the things you’ll need to get your career started on the right foot.
1. Ask Yourself the Tough Questions
Do you love travel? Are you the person your friends turn to for ideas and inspiration? Do you spend hours scrolling through travel sites and flipping through pages of travel magazines? While you don’t need to be well traveled to be a travel advisor, you do need a passion for helping people explore the world.
Are you prepared to make little to no money in the first year as you grow your business? Even if you have friends, family or a network that is ready for you to book their next trip, it could take months for clients to travel and commissions to come in. A good rule of thumb for first year success is to have a list of 20-25 people who you think will spend at least $10,000 a year in travel with you.
Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit? Successful travel advisors have a holistic view of their business. The know how to brand, market, relationship build, and sell. A travel career is for those who like the idea of designing your own business and juggling all of the balls in the air.
2. Don’t Go It Alone
Most new travel advisors need training. Selling luxury travel is not order taking over the phone. Luxury travel advisors are selling the entire experience. Training support is an important part of starting any new career but especially travel. Training programs should teach skills on selling, marketing, business needs and destinations.
Find the right agency fit. Make sure that the agency you chose aligns with your values. Your host agency is an extension of you and your business and will be the one you turn to in times of success and failure. Do they put the customer first, do they value their advisors with support, training and growth? Make a list of the things that are most important to you and ask yourself if the agency you are considering is aligned with those values.
Get support. Creating a network of people who want to help you succeed in the travel business is crucial to your success. One of those people is your mentor. The right mentor can provide advice and connections that help you reach heights that would be impossible alone. Supplier partners are also important to have in your corner; they are the experts on the ground that know what you can’t know.
3. Tend Your Garden
Network. Network. Network. The travel business is the business of relationships. There are people across the globe that want to help you grow your business and provide exceptional experiences for your clients. Get to know them. Meet fellow travel advisors and share best practices. Deepen your relationships with your clients.
Explore the world. Being a travel advisor will afford you the opportunity to travel on educational trips. Take advantage of them. Get to know the countries, cities, properties, ships and sites you are sending your clients to. Good advisors know which properties are in a city, great advisors know the best room numbers are the best properties in a city. And there’s only one way to know that…and it’s to be there.