There are a myriad of advertisements to entice people to become a travel agent, travel for free, and tap into the billion dollar travel industry. The reality is very different from the hype.
There is more to being a travel agent than printing business cards and having a slick website. Much more. Being a travel agent is work; it’s a job. There is no magic bullet to get clients, no free travel, and certainly no path to instant riches. On top of that, you need ongoing education to ensure you are selling the right products, matching them with your client, and keeping up with changes in hotels and destinations.
Too often I see agents on forums or bulletin boards asking questions because they either don’t know where to look, don’t know how to research, or are just plain lazy. You are doing a huge disservice to your clients, the travel industry, and yourself when you fail to do research and qualify your client. You are spinning your wheels and going nowhere. And we all know that information learned is better retained than information handed to you.
All suppliers, most tourist boards, and cruise lines have agent portals with free training to learn about their brands. In addition, the Travel Institute and CLIA offer courses. There are resources on TRO for you to use and learn. Tourist boards have a wealth of information including itineraries, hotels, maps, etc. Travel42, Star Report, and Weissmann all have great hotel information. Webinars are a great way to keep up with destinations and hotels. FAM trips help you learn more about destinations and hotels first hand. But, FAMS are not vacations. They are work. You need to take notes, pay attention and learn. You are not there to close the bar down at 2 am.
Don’t know something? Google is your friend. I googled “How to qualify your clients.” The results came up with a lot of resources. We have some great sales trainers in this business who not only can help you with sales and marketing, but how to qualify your clients, your value, and what you bring to the table. And most consortia’s and/or hosts offer training to help you grow your business. If you are new to the industry and your host does not offer training or mentoring you need to find one that does. It’s crucial.
There are no short cuts in this industry. Don’t expect others to do your work. The training and resources are there, you just need to find them.