Today’s travel agents are not always located in brick-and-mortar offices. An increasing number of agents work from home, on the road, while waiting in someone else’s office or airport, or on the beach.
Moving to Your Home-Based Office
There are five primary reasons to become a home-based travel agent:
1. No more 9 – 5: many home-based travel agents have “done their time” in a traditional office environment and now choose to work in the comfort and convenience of their home office.
2. Low overhead: travel agents (especially agency owners) know the costs of overhead and payrolls. Home-based agents may be able to deduct a portion of their equipment and office space for income tax purposes and don’t have the responsibilities and worries about office equipment inventory, rent and maintenance, and staffing.
3. Travel technology: industry-specific software, mobile devices, and the Internet are the tools of the trade that turn home-based travel agents into “travel power brokers.”
4. Convenience and flexibility: technology also means greater convenience and flexibility for modern travel agents. Work and personal schedules become much more flexible, adaptable, and convenient. Agents can work just about anywhere they can access the Internet.
5. Income: the home-based agent’s income is derived primarily from the commissions suppliers pay for booking travel – especially vacation travel – with those suppliers. Leisure travel is about 80% of total sales in the industry and many successful home-based agents are marketing their services to niche markets tailored to the interests and needs of specific groups and individuals. Income for truly entrepreneurial agents can be in the six figures.
The Successful Travel Agent’s Toolbox
The successful travel agent is only as successful as the tools he or she proficiently uses. Fortunately, industry-based software programs are increasingly flexible and sophisticated.
They offer the agent wider access to the GDS (global distribution system), the network that enables automated booking transactions between suppliers and agents for hotel, airline, car, and activity reservations services for clients. The TTS Web Agent is such a tool which allows travel agents to access Travelport GDSs at the comfort of their homes.
Because today’s travel agents are mobile, they utilize their mobile devices to conduct business. The Travelport Mobile Agent offers the same access ease of the standard GDS when agents are on the run, delivered through their Android or iPhone, iPad, tablet computers. The concept of a Mobile Agent means that the agent can access the Travelport GDS cores, Galileo, Apollo, and Worldspan, any time and anywhere.
Even better, these platforms are designed to work on the most important operating systems – Windows, Macintosh, and Linux.
How to be a top home-based travel agent depends on:
- How well you know the travel business.
- How well you manage your time.
- How well you utilize the technology available to you (including your computer, mobile devices, and industry-related software).
- How well you provide unique travel services and opportunities to your clients.
Successful home-based travel agents seem to have an exceptional knowledge of the industry, use technology effectively, and possess excellent people skills. And they also may infuse large helpings of passion, enthusiasm, and love into their business – every day.