Starting at Square One | TravelResearchOnline


Starting at Square One

Most of us generally start out by marketing to a so-called “warm market.” Your warm market is basically everyone you know: friends, family, colleagues, advisers, teachers, doctor, lawyer, neighbors and other acquaintances.

Reactions will vary once you let those know that you are in the travel business. You close friends and family’s reaction will probably run from excitement to humoring you. Others who don’t know you well may be dismissive or even downright hostile to your approaches. Some agents have reported people crossing the street to avoid them when they see them coming! So you may need to develop a thick skin in this business.

And think also about what happens if someone you care about DOES proceed with buying travel from you, and everything goes wrong with their trip. Close relationships can be damaged as a result. Even with all of the risks, there are many more rewards and benefits.

No inventory – Unlike Mary Kay Cosmetics or other home-based business models, there is no need to purchase or maintain inventory when selling travel. Brochures and documents are provided by the suppliers (print or digital). This means you don’t need to worry about anything but making the sale.

Flexible Hours – You can work the hours you choose. If you have a full-time job, you can work your business in the evenings and on weekends. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, you can run it when the kids are at school. And if your child gets sick, you can take a day off.

Work from Home – You don’t need the overhead of a corporate office for this sort of business. You can run it right out of your home.

Join a Host Agent with a Pre-Existing System – When starting off, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to systems for recruiting new clients, database programs and developing supplier relationships. These are pre-established by a credible host agency. Aligning with this type of company means you can hit the ground running and start making money quickly.

Personal Growth and Development – The nature of the type of selling you will be doing in this business puts you in contact with many and varied individuals. Over time, your sales and developmental skills will become ever more finely honed. You will derive a great deal of personal satisfaction from helping your travel clients.

Effort, Energy and Motivation – Not only must you actively recruit new clients, you must stay on top of them to ensure that they maintain a loyal business relationship with you. Remember, having loyal, repeat clients is the way to make money in this industry.

So understand going in that this is a business that will require real effort on your part, and a sustained effort at that. But what in life that’s worthwhile doesn’t, right?

Have a plan to keep yourself motivated. No longer will there be a boss looking over your shoulder, so from now on motivating yourself is YOUR job. If setting goals helps you motivate, then also reward yourself when those goals are met. Because you’re earning commissions on sales generated by your own sales, you will continue to make an income as long as you work hard – that’s enough motivation in itself.

Financial Commitment – Financially, a home-based travel business generally has relatively low set-up costs compared to other small business/franchise start-ups. Allow a budget for ongoing marketing expenses, office equipment purchases, maintenance and repairs.

Who is best suited? It should be obvious from what has been said above that, in order to be successful working your travel business from home, you have to be someone who’s a self-starter and is able to persuade others to buy from you. On the other hand, if you’re someone who needs someone else to poke you into action when it comes to work or business, being independent is probably not for you.

If you’re going to take on this role, you will need to be comfortable dealing with people. This doesn’t always mean face to face, of course. If you’re running your business on the Internet, you will probably never meet a lot of those clients. But you still must be able to communicate effectively. Common sense suggests that the more outgoing and sociable you are, the more you are going to enjoy this sort of role and the better you will be at it as a result.  If you’re more of a recluse than a social butterfly, it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to comfortably get out there and do what has to be done to keep your business on track.

Finally, selling travel is a very personal way of selling.  You must exercise your own powers of persuasion and influence to encourage others to buy from you.  It is imperative, therefore, that you are 100% behind the products, destinations and suppliers that you are promoting.  Do NOT lend your name or endorsement to
something that you are not genuinely committed to.

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