One last thing about host agencies, look at their preferred suppliers. Are these brands that you feel comfortable selling? Would the majority of your prospective clients be serviced by these suppliers?
With smaller agencies, the main benefits are their size. You aren’t just a number, you are a person. Each agency will offer some training, it will vary greatly between agencies. A minimum will include training on the major preferred suppliers the agency chooses to partner with, as well as back office services including a way to report your sales. Most, if not all will include a CRM, some training and you have the opportunity to use their industry credentials. For this, most will charge a fee- either monthly or annually.
However, some may offer it for free...at a cost! Various agencies have a different commission split. Some are based on the fee you pay; some are based on your sales with preferred suppliers. Your split may not be the same as other agents simply because of the variations of the contract you signed. Basically your split is better if you have higher sales or pay a higher fee. It is possible to get a 100% split at a much higher fee; as it is also possible to get no fees at a much lower split.
ow does this work, And what difference does it make to me? Which is better? A higher split or lower fees? Let’s take a look at that in a bit of detail. I warn you, these numbers are just for example. I like simple math, so these are not actual commissions or fees!
Let’s say your book a cruise where the total commission is $100. You are on a 60/40 split (meaning you keep 60% and the agency/host keeps 40%). You have no monthly fee. If that is all you sold for that month you get $60.
Now, let’s say you have a 90/10 split and pay $30 monthly for fees. On that same cruise, you would keep $90, and pay out $30 of that in fees. If that is all you sold you would come out the same.
So, now let’s say you booked two cruises with each being a $100 commission. With the first scenario you would net $120. With the second, you would net $150. And, let’s not forget that in the months you don’t have any sales you still pay the $30 monthly fee.
The subject of fees and splits is not as cut and dry as it appears at first. This is one of those places where you need to take a long look at what you expect to accomplish in your sales. Do your research! And Don’t Forget - - you are paid AFTER the client returns home. A monthly fee is paid by you. It is a cost of doing business. You may have sold five vacations this month, but none have traveled. So zero commission coming in and get expensive with a fee.
Which brings up an important question - How often do I get paid?
The short answer is after my client travels. The long answer is- most suppliers, hosts, and agencies pay commission after travel. (some, like various cruise lines, pay commission after final payment. However some agencies and hosts hold the commission until after travel) This can be anywhere from one week to six months after travel. Once your host or agency is paid, they pay you based on your contract. Some are weekly, twice a month, or once a month. This is known as ‘long tail’. You can book travel a year in advance and not see the commission for maybe six months after travel.
This is the major downside to being a Travel Agent. There is no quick money! Cash flow can often be an issue.
What kind of questions will I be asked if I apply?
Mainly you will be asked about your travel experience. After all you will be selling and planning travel! If you will be with a host or agency that primarily sell Disney, then your travel to Disney Destinations will be important. You may be asked about your computer skills. Since 99.9% of your work is on the computer, having a working knowledge of basic computer skills is important. The other 0.1% is phone calls, primarily on hold! You may be asked where you will physically work. You will need a private quiet place as well as a phone dedicated to work.
You may be asked questions about your experience in Customer Service. Being able to ‘deliver the goods’ is the most important part of your job.
Will clients be supplied to me?
Maybe. Some hosts give leads to agents, but they usually charge for them. And they may remain agency clients and not yours. Meaning when they come back for a second trip, they may not go to you. Most agencies and hosts do not supply leads, so you will need a supply of family and friends to book travel for.
Some agencies have marketing in place that you can take advantage of; while some agencies and hosts have email marketing that you can take advantage of. Again, this can vary.
What does Morris Travel offer?
We are a small family run agency that specializes in Family travel. Cruises, Theme Parks, and All Inclusives in the Caribbean. With a nod to those family members that have special needs.
We offer a CRM, website, and offer some self guided training and some one-on-one training. We provide G Suites for our email, word processing and office needs. We do not supply leads.
Based on your experience, (both travel related and sales related) we may offer monthly fees or annual fees, with splits between 60/40 and 90/10. Because we are small, we are always a phone call away for personal help when you encounter a problem or question.
While we know not everyone is a fit for our agency, we look forward to getting to know you.
So, there is a brief overview of becoming a Travel Agent. Did I answer all your questions? Of course not! Did I pique your interest? I hope so!
If you think you have what it takes to be a great Travel Professional, I urge you to contact us. Our website has a preliminary application here, fill it out and let's see if we are a match!
In my profession, there are always questions about how someone can get into the 'business' of Travel. Some people think it is a glamourous job, and want to be a part of it. I'm very glad that I am able to make it look glamourous and easy, but actually neither are true!
It is long hours, tedious details, long times on hold, and lots of work! But the rewards are wonderful! I love what I do! I get to hep people live their dream getaway! Sometimes it is Disney, a cruise, Universal, or something completely different. Sometimes the money is fair, but rarely is it the reason I do it! First of all, you have to love helping people. Simple.
I want to start by answering a few questions. Please ask if you have any additional questions.
What does it take to be a good Travel Professional?
Foremost - a desire to help people. A love of travel A self motivating attitude. Ability to see the joy of planning a trip.
What equipment do I need?
A computer with a good internet connection. A separate phone line, and ideally a separate office space away from noise and distractions.
What can I expect when I respond to an ad about becoming a Travel Professional?
What should I look for when I’m looking for an agency? Where do I start?
This is a very complicated, yet basic, question. You’ve no doubt seen the ads for ‘work at home and get free travel”. I have never met anyone who gets ‘free’ travel or who make $2500 a week when they start! If you see these types of things, run as fast as you can from them. They are either sugar coating it to get ‘bodies’ signed up, or are out right schemes
There, I’ve said it. Schemes! Unfortunately, in the travel business, MLMs are very rampant. An MLM is simple a Multi Level Marketing Scheme. The money is not in selling a product, in this case travel, but in signing people up for membership in a travel club. In order to get ‘free’ travel, you have to sign up ‘x’ members into your club. They use promises, half truths and downright lies to get you in!
If you are truly interested in a career as a Travel Professional, then first you need to know that it is hard work. Not always glamorous. You don’t see the money until AFTER your client travels. And there are no free lunches, or in this case ‘free’ travel.
I know a lot of people go into the MLMs thinking it sounds legit and really wanting a career in travel. They are disheartened quickly when they discover that they are not taken seriously by the travel industry as a whole, and are basically shunned by Professional Travel Agents. Do a bit of research before you join any organization. Ask questions. Make sure you know what you are getting into. Don’t decide and sign up in the same day!
There are basically two ways to be a legitimate Travel Professional. Either go out on your own and open your own agency without any knowledge, support or resources (translation, expensive and hard if you are not already in the travel business) or to join an established agency or host agency. The main difference between these two options has to do with size and organization.
Let’s start with a Host agency. Host agencies are large travel agencies that may or may not be actually selling on their own. They can have hundreds of independent contractors working under them. Almost all require a start up fee or a monthly fee. In exchange for this fee you get the ability to book travel under their industry IDs. Some other benefits can be a CRM (Customer Resource Manager), intranet, training, email, and back office support.
They have strength in numbers! Hundreds of agents booking with a specific supplier can put them in a position to negotiate higher commissions on those bookings. In return the hosts give these suppliers Preferred status and prefer that you book with them. It is in your best interest to book those preferred suppliers because your bottom line is directly affected.
This is also one of their downfalls. You never get a chance to know your direct representative with the supplier. Why is this important? Let’s say supplier A has a training session in your town. It is by invitation only. Your direct representative is based in a different state. Not the one putting on the training. There is no incentive for the one doing the training to invite you. Let’s say you have an issue with Supplier A. You have no rapport with your direct representative, and in most cases they don’t know who you are. Many times, hosts do not want you to contact the direct representative, instead preferring you go through them. This makes the host agencies customer support EXTREMELY important.
Most of the training you will take is self guided and done on the supplier’s website. A host agency may offer some one on one training, but it is primarily on their private systems. Some hosts offer sales training (that could be expensive on your own) and some hosts offer basic newbie training (which could be invaluable!)
With some hosts, you have your own business, your own business name and can even hire your own subagents to work underneath you. Each host operates a bit differently in this respect. Some cover you under their E&O Insurance (Errors and Omissions), some require that you have your own. Some will cover you under their various state SOT licences (Seller of Travel), but most hosts will tell you that you have limited coverage under theirs and need to get your own as an agent. Whatever they tell you, make sure you do your own independent research on these two items. These SOT laws change frequently on a state by state basis, and ultimately you are responsible for the hefty fines not your host!
That is enough for part 1. Stay tuned for another part next Thursday where we will take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of working with a smaller established agency. In the meantime, check out this site to join our team!
Most of the content is written by people at JMorris Travel. Every once in a while we will have a guest blogger, usually it is part of our 'family'.Always with a nod to Family Travel!