Ultimate Guide to Becoming an Online Travel Agent
If you love traveling and helping people, but don’t want to work in a cubicle, then working from home as an online travel agent might be the perfect career choice for you!
You probably have a ton of questions about this job, like “What’s the pay like?” or “What exactly do you do?”
Lucky for you, we have done the research that will help you get started.
What is an Online Travel Agent?
Before we get into the details, let’s explore what a remote travel agent does. In short, a travel agent helps people book their vacations online.
This includes planning their travel itineraries like airfare, excursions, hotel stays and so much more.
This role might seem outdated with all the travel booking apps out there, but there are still so many people who want to have personalized itineraries made just for them!
In many cases, their lack of time and busy schedules become the main reason why they look for remote travel agents to make everything easy.
Being an online travel agent, you do not need to come into the office, or waste time commuting. There’s usually a lot more flexibility involved and of course the added perk of being location independent.
Now that we know how to work at home as a travel agent, let’s get into more details about how we can land and find this online job.
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How to Work at Home as a Travel Agent
It doesn’t take a lot to get started, just a simple home office setup with a phone, printer, and computer is all you need to get things going!
While experience does help for a job like this, it’s not needed to get started. Many jobs dealing with customers can give you that experience.
Formal education isn’t needed to be an online travel agent, but if you’ve majored in any of the following, then it’ll definitely help your chances of getting a job with one of the larger travel agencies:
If you don’t have any experience there are plenty of courses and webinars available online that will help ensure you’re qualified to become an online travel agent. Below are a couple of reliable options that you can consider joining.
- Dream Vacations Franchise offers a 45-minute webinar that’ll help you out with learning some of the basics for the job like building your client base and getting certified.
- The Travel Institute has coaching and a training course that can prepare you for the big certification test as well.
- Nexion is a travel group that offers both training and mentorship opportunities to its members
Depending on your experience level, certification can cost you as low as $500 or as high as $10,000.
Other skills that remote travel agent companies look for in their employees are organizational skills, the ability to act professionally for clients, and of course some admin-type skills.
Who do I work for?
I’m sure the next question you have is “Who do I work for?”. Becoming an independent contractor, and working for hosting agencies or websites can come with their own set of pros and cons.
If you’re planning on working independently at home as a travel agent, you’re also gonna need to make your own website. After that, you’ll have to find a way to secure the exclusive deals you’ll be offering to clients.
This is typically done by reaching out to the bigger travel companies and making deals with them.
But for those of you planning on working for a larger company, plenty of them are looking to hire experienced and trainable employees.
The larger cruise ship companies like Carnival, or airlines like Jetblue are always looking for more remote travel agents to add to their team.
But sometimes you might want to work more locally, and that’s fine too. Job board websites like Fiverr can help ensure you’re picking the right job in your area.
Each side has its own ups and downs about things like benefits and work expectations, but we’ll go more in-depth later.
For now, we’ll share a list of some websites looking to hire potential agents, so you can get started!
- Dream Vacations Franchise– The requirements for this one are relatively light since they’ll be the ones training you. Franchise owners can make up to $72,782/yr.
- Disney Cruises– The average pay of a Disney travel agent is $21,951/yr. This job’s requirements are pretty basic such as good communication, organization, and the willingness to work irregular hours.
- Carnival Cruises– Carnival Cruise agents can make upwards of $93,000/yr depending on how many sales they can get. Their minimum requirement is a high school diploma.
- BCD Travel– BCD Travel Agents make upwards of $44,634/yr with requirements being a little tougher than other companies as they look for people with leadership qualities.
- Royal Caribbean Cruises-The average pay for a Royal Caribbean Travel agent is between $40,340-$60,163/yr. Job requirements aren’t too difficult because they offer training, but basic skills do help.
- Disney Parks– The average salary of a Disney Park Travel Agent is $12/hr, with the job requirements being as basic as having good organization and communication skills.
- American Express– The average salary of an American Express online travel agent is $43,638/yr. One of the major job requirements is certification as a travel agent.
- Hilton– Average pay for this job is $12-16/hr, with the basic requirements being communication skills and good customer service skills.
- Jet Blue– The salary of a Jet Blue agent is $12-18/hr. Requirements are mainly customer-service skills and organization skills.
- World Travel Holdings– The salary of a World Travel Holdings agent is $14/hr with the main requirements being to have your home office set up for the job.
- AAA– The average AAA travel agent salary is between $11-20/hr. Requirements include a high school diploma, travel school accreditation of at least 18 months, and a flexible schedule.
- Enterprise– Pay for an Enterprise travel agent is $35,587/yr. The main requirement is having at least a high school diploma, but higher education is preferred.
- Hyatt– The pay starts at 15.13/hr for travel agents here. The preferred working experience is with customer service.
- Southwest Airlines– Salary for a travel agent working with Southwest is $40,873/yr with the job requirements being good communication skills, and speaking multiple languages.
- Delta– The average salary of a Delta Travel agent is 14.97/hr with the chance for a raise. Requirements are being at least 21 years of age, having a high school diploma, and a flexible schedule.
The average salary you can expect while working from home as a travel agent ranges from $31,000 to $100,000+ per year depending on your sales output and who you work for.
What should I expect?
Just like most remote jobs, you will have more opportunities for flexible hours. But that typically depends on who you’re working for.
If you’re an independent contractor, then you definitely have control over your work schedule, which is one of the biggest perks of working for yourself.
With scheduling in mind, you can still choose to treat this as a part-time job. Plenty of agents are making extra income without having to leave their full-time jobs.
But if you want to be more serious and earn thousands a month, full-time is where you wanna go.
Expect to provide excellent customer service because you will be dealing with a lot of people.
Practice a lot of patience because, in order to work at home as a travel agent, you may encounter a lot of changed schedules and itineraries. This means many last-minute adjustments from both your clients and travel companies, so be prepared.
You are expected to handle all the issues so that your clients do not have to, so make sure to be the cool-headed agent that they need to make their trip memorable.
Having a niche you’re good in also helps, it can set you apart from the competition. For example, if you are best at planning family vacations or adventures, then make sure you are marketing yourself as the expert in these fields.
If you excel in a specific niche then more clients related to those areas are bound to show up and trust that you will be able to give them their ideal getaways.
Self-promotion and marketing are also important when working at home as a travel agent. So, make sure that you are a part of online communities that pertain to your niche and use social media to market your best itineraries.
Once you get your clients, you’ll want to do everything in your power to entice them to come back and give you glowing reviews.
That is why providing your clients with the best customer service and experience is the most important thing to do as an online travel agent.
Having the right connections is another important area you’ll want to invest time into. For example, hotel reps are the very people that will help you create the most memorable getaway for your clients.
That’s why you must be kind to the sales reps you meet along the way because you never know when you’ll need their expertise!
Benefits of Becoming a Travel Agent
Now that you’ve learned what you can expect when taking on a role as a remote travel agent, I’m sure you’re eager to learn all about the benefits and perks that the job can give you.
One of the more obvious benefits is the travel discounts. These are often given to agents before their customers get a chance to use them.
As a remote travel agent, you will have the opportunity to explore places that you may include in your itineraries.
These travel opportunities will allow you to see different options for a variety of travelers and will allow you to serve your clients better.
These trips can also be deducted as a business expense, which makes them even better for you.
Other benefits are health insurance and employee discounts. Although benefits like that come less frequently for self-employed agents.
Being a remote travel agent also means saving on commuting costs as well as being free to work from wherever you want!
Before You Get Started
Now that you’ve made it this far, we’re sure you’re fired up at the idea of becoming a work-at-home travel agent!
Just remember to always do your research on the companies and agencies you’re planning on working for. What may look like a well-paid position on a job board might just turn out to be a job scam!
Working for yourself would save you a lot of that trouble, but you still need the support of a bigger company to make all of these bookings possible on your website.
Other minor things to consider are your expenses. Self-employed travel agents that work from home have a lot more on their plate than the agents who are working for bigger companies, since there are more resources available.
Resources are also another advantage that working for larger agencies has since you’re likely to be provided with everything you need right off the bat.
Becoming a work-at-home travel agent is as challenging as it is rewarding, but if you’re able to work with those challenges, then it’s the best career choice you can make!