In Home Based Travel Agent Part Six we analyze the ingredients that make for a successful Home Based Travel Agent..
Everyone is different and each of us travels his or her own
road to success, but over the years (and in a thoroughly
unscientific way) I have noticed a number of qualities that
make for success in the home based travel agency business.
Here then are some observations about just a few qualities that successful agents bring to the table when they start out...
If you are not already a home based agent, the very fact that
you are reading this mini-course suggests that you like to
arm yourself with all the information available before making
I regularly hear from agents who signed up with the first agency that caught their eye.
Now they regret it and wonder if I can point them in the right direction.
I explain to them (hopefully with a certain amount of patience) that I cannot make decisions for them.
The host agency thatīs right for me might be wrong for them.
And vice versa.
You see, part of doing your homework is doing it yourself, not having someone else do it for you.
The thing many beginners (especially those with no real experience of being in business for themselves) fail to understand is that the sellers of business opportunities are just that, sellers.
Just as the car dealer wonīt volunteer that the car you have your eye on sits at the bottom of the "Consumer Reports" safety rankings, the ads for a host agency offer wonīt volunteer the downsides of their offer or reveal that a better deal is being offered by someone else.
Please understand, I am not saying these people are being
They are simply putting the best face on what they have to offer.
Thatīs simply what sellers do.
When you start selling travel, youīll do it too. Iīm sure that if you are considering starting a home travel agency you have visited at least several sites offering such business opportunities and Iīm also sure you understand what Iīm talking about.
My approach is fundamentally different.
I do not sell a business opportunity.
The value the Home Based Travel Agent
Resource Center and my home study course bring to the market
is to provide unfiltered and unbiased information about how
the business REALLY works and the MANY, MANY different
avenues open to you.
For example, very few host agencies go out of their way to point out that in many cases you do not have to share commissions with them.
I am free to tell you that and explain when itīs appropriate to deal directly with suppliers and how to go about doing it.
And whatever the topic I try to be evenhanded in explaining the pros AND the cons of pursuing any particular strategy.
If you do your homework properly, you will be in a far better position to make informed decisions about how to set up and grow your business.
Or you can always do what I did: learn by
trial and error.
Take it from me, losing a few thousand dollars by making a "dumb beginnerīs" mistake is a powerful incentive to do it right next time!
This principle applies not just in the start-up phase of your
business, but throughout your business career.
If you want to sell cruises, learn the cruise business inside out.
If you want to sell the Caribbean, visit the islands and the resorts, poke your nose into all the hotels, go to the seminars offered by the tourist authorities and the suppliers.
With this kind of in depth analysis, you can be
sure of offering the best product mix for both your market
and your bottom line.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
If you do your homework, you will start your home travel agency business with few illusions. Another problem beginners have is that they are dazzled by all the pretty pictures in the host agency ads. "Be a travel agent," they seem to say and youīll spend your life strolling on a white sand beach with your significant other." Well, maybe.
Sometimes. I go out of my way to let people in on the dirty little secret of being a home based travel agent. Itīs a business. Itīs a job. It means actually doing some (brace yourself) WORK!
If you havenīt read Lesson Five, "Five Good Reasons NOT To Be
A Home Based Travel Agent," do yourself a favor and read it
Yes those great deals and those special moments exist.
I have cruised free to exotic ports and I have stayed in luxury hotels for motel prices.
I also show people how to do the
same sort of thing, whether itīs a $299 cruise as part of
their continuing education or a bona-fide fam trip (familiarization trip).
But to paraphrase the old TV ad, "Home based travel agents get their perks the old-fashioned way: They EARN them!"
You are what you eat, they say. Well you are also what you sell. If you wind up selling a lot of cheap airfare, thatīs what youīll get a reputation for doing whether you like it or not.
I have noticed that successful home travel agents go into the
business with a clear idea of what they want their business
to look like.
This mostly has to do with specialization but other factors are involved as well.
The home based agent who says, "I offer high-end diving expeditions to the Caribbean" is more likely to make a go of it than the agent who says "I sell travel; where do you want to go?"
As I explain in the home study course, being a home-based travel agent is not like being a storefront agent in a different location. (It can be but it does not have to be and, in my view, it should not be.)
Once the fundamental differences between the two sink in, a whole range of possibilities open up.
This part of the start-up process is actually a lot of fun because it starts with big, no-limits dreaming followed by a period of rational analysis.
If you are just starting out, take the time to envision your dream business.
You can pull
some of the elements out of the clear blue sky, but be sure
to balance your dreaming with your own experience.
Ask yourself questions like:
Why do I love travel?
What first got me excited about traveling?
Whatīs my favorite destination?
Where have I always dreamed of going?
What are my favorite activities (walking, museums, tennis, golf, etc.)?
This is just a start; I offer many more suggestions in the course.
The point is that, if you have been drawn to this business out of a love for travel, your ideal travel business probably already exists inside you, just waiting to be discovered, developed, and defined.
The young mother who has experienced the frustrations of
getting good advice for family vacations will have a better
chance of succeeding as a specialist in family travel than in
selling very expensive opera tours to Italy.
Thatīs just one example. Whatīs YOUR example?
Obviously, there are other aspects to planning a business.
Just because I have only discussed one of them here doesnīt mean you shouldnīt think through all aspects of your travel- business-to-be.
The more and the better you think it through, the better your odds of making a go of it.
helping you do that is just part of what my home study course is all about.
Someone calls it "the paralysis of analysis," the danger that
youīll spend so much time thinking and planning that youīll
never actually DO anything.
At some point (and as screamingly obvious as it sounds), you have to do something to enjoy success.
If you are already up and running as an agent, that could mean making the leap of faith to promote that pricey African safari without being 100% sure you can pull it off.
To be successful you canīt be afraid of failure.
You must do your homework (see above) and do everything you can to insure success, but ultimately every promotion carries some risk of failure.
Chances are that even if you donīt fill up all the slots, youīll fill some.
And suppliers know that not every promotion succeeds.
If they see you are actively doing the
right things, they will be supportive and willing to work
with you again.
If you are just starting out, that leap of faith could be ordering the home study course and arming yourself with information that could take you years to amass otherwise.
But, please, please, please reread Lesson Five ("Five Good
Reasons NOT To Be A Home Based Travel Agent") first.
I have the best money-back guarantee in the business, far better than anything offered by business opportunities that cost many hundreds of dollars more than my course.
But nothing saddens me more than people who return the materials saying, "I did not realize how much work was involved."
These are people who clearly would like to work at home, make
some money, and derive some personal satisfaction, but with
that kind of attitude, the cards are stacked against them no
matter what they try.
There is only one entity in the universe that can make something from nothing.
It ainīt me.
And it ainīt you.
I hope you have enjoyed this mini-course in becoming a home based travel agent and I look forward to having you as one of my thousands of satisfied students.
This mini-course on becoming a home based travel agent is brought to you by the Home Based Travel Agent Resource Center and The Intrepid Traveler , publisher of a comprehensive home study course for home based travel agents. Copyright ĐKelly Monaghan