Why You Should Become a Travel Agent This Year

by Cheryl Rosen
Why You Should Become a Travel Agent This Year

Travel advisor careers are more lucrative and rewarding than ever, and there is more support and training available from reputable host agencies to help newcomers learn the basics. Photo: Shutterstock.com. 


Looking for a profession that lets you work from home, be your own boss, earn a good living, and see the world — and while you are at it, build understanding and human relationships? This year, many travel advisors say, their chosen career is more lucrative and rewarding than ever, and there is more support and training available from reputable host agencies to help newcomers learn the basics.

Here’s how some travel advisors replied when Travel Market Report asked why people should consider joining the profession.

Because travel is a growth industry
“2019 is a great time to be a travel advisor. Travel is on the rise and many people are realizing that travel is not just a reward for hard work; it is homework for living,” said Limor Decter, luxury travel advisor and concierge, at Ovation Vacations. “Our industry exemplifies true hospitality and personal connections. In our tech-driven age, travel advisors focus on personalizing experiences and trips in a seamless way, so that clients’ ideas become reality. Leisure time is our most valuable asset and we are there for our clients from the first moment they reach out until they get home safely. Our goal is to create memorable vacations through our network of expertise. We care about taking that extra step to make a client feel special.”

Janet Harris, director of recruitment, at Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc., also sees the increasing opportunities: “This year, the economy is strong and people understand the value of taking a vacation. Many Baby Boomers are retiring and want to stay active; they find becoming a travel advisor not only provides supplemental income in retirement, but it gives them the opportunity to see the world now, while they still can. It’s a booming business opportunity.” 

Susie Cleary Chau, founder, Carpe Diem Traveler, talked about an encouraging trend: “Although 52% of Americans did not use all their vacation days last year, the average number of days Americans are taking off has been increasing since 2014 and is now 17.2 days/year — and that means more demand for travel advisors. Plus, Baby Boomers are retiring — as many as 10,000 per DAY — and many have been waiting most of their lives to take the bucket list trips they've been dreaming about! They especially need help from a professional to plan their trips.”

Geoff Millar, manager, Ultimate All-Inclusive Travel and Ultimate Hawaii Vacations, said: “As travel has gotten more complicated and confusing, many more people need help. We get more and more calls where the person says, ‘I have tried to do this myself and have only succeeded in confusing myself.’ A good agent can make a lot of money doing this while having a fun time, as long as they have a great business and marketing plan, along with some seed money and understanding that this is a sales job.” 

Because consumers are understanding the value of travel advisors
“Now more than ever, people value time; there’s never been a better time to offer value (and be rewarded for that service),” said Glenda Beagle, business coach at MainStreet Business Academy. “Travel professionals offer the service of saving time, and more clients than ever truly appreciate that and are willing to pay for convenience and time.”

Along the same lines, Rob Belles, independent vacation specialist, at Cruises Inc., in Rockford, Illinois, said: “There is no substitution for a real person who listens, understands, and builds a rapport — someone who is more than a travel professional, someone who is your friend. Mature clients have always known the value of relationships, while younger clients are slowly learning that while technology may be great for focusing, it is not an end-all to the best value. People of all ages see the value in the service and empathy that a professional travel advisor provides.”

Lynne Adams, owner, Lynne Adams Travel LLC, talked about the win-win of the traveler/advisor relationship: “Traveling to exotic places is more complicated, and flight delays, strikes, civil unrest, and weather create stress for my clients. I love solving problems and creating stress-free and memorable itineraries with back-up plans in case of hiccups. My clients know they have an experienced agent who is available, if they need me while they are traveling. This is why I love this career. It satisfies my people-pleaser needs. And of course, I love to travel. So, win-win.”

And, Helen Prochilo, owner, Promal Vacations, brought the repetitive message home: “There are so many stories of do-it-yourselfers getting into trouble booking their own travel; that is helping bring more attention to ‘why book with a travel advisor.’ We can save the public from themselves; we tell them the documents needed to travel, ensure their plane tickets are booked properly, make sure there is adequate time between connecting flight, and much more. There is no better satisfaction than a client returning home and thanking you for a seamless trip.”

Because you can be your own boss
“The employment landscape is changing; people used to work at one company until they retired, but it is no longer this way,” said Margie Lenau', travel consultant, at Wonderland Family Vacations, LLC. “As an entrepreneur, you can manage your own risk, instead of waiting to see if you lose your job — and there is no retirement age. Many older people need more income, and younger people building families can supplement their income. This career allows people to work from a home office, as well as pass on their passion for travel.”

Renee Newallo-Stanley, owner, Renee Stanley – Cruise Planners, said: “There also is no loyalty given by employers to employees anymore. Being in control of my life is way better than letting someone else control when, where and how I should live. I left my old life last year and am embracing this new path.”

Because it’s fun
“This is a booming industry that does have its challenges, but can be so fun!” said Lauren Capotosto Doyle, vice president, at The Travel Mechanic. “At the end of the day, it is a sales job, but it has so many ways to specialize and service an industry that needs better customization and clarity in an internet-cluttered world! As our society moves toward more work-from-home jobs, getting into the industry now will benefit you for sure!”

Stef Katz, owner/travel specialist, at The Travel Superhero, offered: “As a travel agent, I get the personal fulfillment of taking care of, delighting, and surprising my clients. I need this and the American ‘too many options, not enough time’ public wants it. Life is far too short to not follow one’s dreams.”

In the same vein, Alan Rosenbaum, Dream Vacations franchise owner and vacation specialist, in Johns Creek, Georgia, said: “As with any career, you should enjoy what you’re doing. As a travel advisor, you should enjoy and get satisfaction from helping people; you should be able to put disappointments behind you and look forward to new opportunities. Booking vacations that you’ve never booked before should excite you more than it scares you. And as for income, as a travel advisor, income will depend on a lot of things, including how hard you’re willing to work.”

Adding in some humor, Jay Dill, owner, The Travel Junkie, LLC, quipped: “Don't do it! It's a terrible job! (I don't want to let the word out that it's pretty much the best.)”

And, Rebecca Falkenberry, travel advisor, at Brownell Travel said simply: “Because it’s the best career ever.”

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