Become a Travel Agent For Massive Savings

So I admit, I am a member of an e-commerce travel company. But this article is not about selling you on a home-based business; it’s all about you becoming your own travel agent. Believe it or not, even if you never sign up one person in this company, you can win financially in amazing ways, regardless! For less than $1,000, you can own your own turnkey travel business, receive quick travel agent training, and become an independent, credentialed agent with all the terrific benefits that offers. And what are some of those benefits?

First, FAM or “familiarization” trips are offered by tour companies, hotels, convention and visitor bureaus, airlines and cruise lines. The purpose of these trips is to familiarize the agent with the cruise line, hotel, or tour company. Of course, the particular company is hoping you will send future travelers their way. The great thing about these FAM trips, sometimes called member trips, is that they are so easy to access. Once you become an agent you are able to take one of these FAM trips immediately. These trips are extremely discounted, and can save you up to 80% on land trips and 70% on cruises. Obviously, this is more than worth it. Here are a few random examples of some of the member trips that you can take advantage of:

4Day Jamaica Vacation for only $234.00

4Day to Cozumel, Mexico only $181.00

4Day to Cancun Mexico Vacation, $230.00

6Day Caribbean Cruise for only $285.00

Myrtle Beach golf vacation for 3 nights: $359.00

7Day to Spain: Madrid, Cordova and Seville. From $990 for agents; $1090 for spouses/companions.

Disney World 3 Day/ 4 Night, only $335.00. The kids will love this one…

(Many of these quotes cover hotels, transfers, sightseeing, and at least two daily meals).

Second, on top of the discounts, earn Travel Agent commissions on your personal travel, as well as the travel of your clients. Book any travel on your own site or point friends/family to it and you get cash back. Yes, you heard me right.

Third, enjoy sometimes being treated like royalty when traveling as an agent. Even the governments of some nations offer the red carpet treatment to agents. This is because politicians realize the huge benefits tourism dollars can bring to their economy. So don’t feel as if you owe them the world. You’re helping them too.

Fourth, enjoy tax advantages for running a business. According to the IRS, deductible expenses related to business travel are the normal and necessary expenses of traveling to perform your business, job, or profession. When you become a travel agent, you make traveling your business. Deducting travel expenses from your income before paying taxes means huge savings. The average American traveler that spends $3,000 a year on travel must earn $4,500 before taxes. For the travel professional that owns his or her own business, their income is not taxed until after travel expenses are deducted. This could equate to a 50% savings on expenses and a $2,000 a year difference in spendable money. This could be cash in your pocket! (Consult with a tax accountant for details).

Have the ability to travel more and better than you have ever dreamed while you compile frequent flyer miles as well as many other rewards. Connect your FAM rates to frequent traveler numbers with airlines, hotel chains, etc. Not all providers let you do this, but, for example, if you have a frequent guest number for Marriot, try and attach it to your reservation. Not only will you get the discounted rate today, you are working towards a free stay in the future.

Sixth, receive unbelievable discounts to shows, theme parks, and attractions. Enjoy discounts on swamp tours, riverboat dinners, dinner theaters, etc. All you have to do is ask.

You may be thinking, “All this is great in theory, but I wouldn’t have the nerve to constantly ask for travel agent discounts right in front of customers who are paying full price.” Don’t worry about that. To get these discounts, most times you will receive them when you book the trip. And if there’s a situation involving a long line of full-paying customers, travel agents go to the Guest Relations, Group, or Administration office or window and get their discounts there.

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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?”

But I also get asked, “What’s the best place to go for our honeymoon?” or “Can you recommend a Caribbean cruise itinerary?” or “What hotel should we stay at in the Mayan Riviera?”

Hey, it’s not rocket science!! If I have the answers and I can get paid for the sale… Hello??

The internet made it possible for me to have my own online agency and benefit even more from the extraordinary perks available to travel professionals! Being online means I don’t really even have to be home. Because my business is online, I am accessible to the world, 365 days of the year, 24/7! Friends and family can book all by themselves while I’m hiking with my dog! I can even book flights or all-inclusive vacations right from my BlackBerry!! WOW! So my home-based travel business is really my mobile travel services!! Super cool!!

We must not forget the amazing benefits that come with owning a business from home as well!

Aside from the obvious travel perks, just about every family vacation now becomes a FAM. As professionals, when we take a few minutes to inspect and ask questions about the accommodations, tours, restaurants that we ourselves are experiencing while on vacation, we’re really educating ourselves for our customers. So our personal vacation now becomes classified as a business trip… and an expense that we can write off! Super cool, again!

On a personal note, I’m only 45 seconds from my bedroom to my office!

It’s a beautiful thing to be able to work from home, anywhere in the world, to have your own business and to qualify for such incredible travel-insider perks. Retirees, at-home-moms, students on the run… it’s available to just about anyone with a can-do attitude, has a strong work ethic, loves to learn, and is highly self-motivated. A few hours a day can earn hundreds to thousands of dollars! No bosses, no limits!

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Travel Agents

Becoming a Travel Agent

Travel agents need to become well-organized and detail-oriented in order to compile information from various sources in order to plan and organize their clients travel needs. They encourage people to travel and help them plan and prepare for their trip. Travel agents help travelers sort through large amounts of information in order to make the best possible travel arrangements. As an agent you are also expected to know how to advise travelers about their destinations, such as the weather conditions, local ordinances and customs, attractions, exhibitions, and money exchanges. These professionals increasingly specialize in specific destinations or by type of travel. Those who specialize in a travel destination, will have the best chances for success. Travel agents held about 101,000 jobs in May 2006 and are found in every part of the country.

Travel Agents face increasing competition from travel and airline websites for low-cost fares, but travelers still prefer using a travel agent who can cater to their specific needs. To attract these travelers, many agents specialize in specific interest destinations, travel to certain regions. Advanced computer systems and other networks make it possible for a growing number of travel agents to work from home; however, some agents desire to have an office presence for walk-in business. Opportunities should be better for agents who specialize in specific destinations, luxury travel, or particular types of travelers.

Visualize a vacation of self-indulgence in massages, savory culinary treats and boutique shopping. Furthermore, luxury and specialty travel is expected to increase among the growing number of Americans who are seeking out exotic and unique vacations and a growing part of travel agents business is organizing and selling tours for the growing number of international visitors.

The multi-billion dollar travel business is one of the largest industries in the country. Spending on travel is expected to increase significantly within the next 10 years. Much of the travel will continue to be related to business but as business activity expands so will business related travel. At the same time more leisure, longer frequent vacations, will also give people more time to travel for pleasure. As an Agent you will help travelers define their interests and needs, including time and budget concerns. Many new agents are under the impression that they are going to have to pay big dollars for travel agent training. Not so!

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