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Old March 20th, 2006, 12:58 AM
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Default At home travel agent biz what do you think?

Hi Cruisemates,
Im considering turning my passion travel into a business at home travel agent. My options are choose a website send them money and take an online course, or take a course at my local community college, get certified and see if I can make some money, while traveling at a discount rate and seeing the world.
Have any of you done this?
Is there real money to be made these days when most people book themselves on the internet? Any reccomendations or advice especially from TA's would be apresheated.
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Old March 20th, 2006, 06:43 AM
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Hi, I do outside sales for a local large agency. I have the freedom of making my own hours. I do a lot of personal services for the clients. I go to their homes and help them choose their cruises, get all the info then I go home and do the booking. Personally deliver documents to local clients. Need to advertise the service though. Most people would never realize there are those of us out there offering these services. I sometimes work with groups and get great rates from the cruise lines. The agency I work with does a lot of volume in cruise sales so they do get great deals from the Lines. I took a course from a school in Florida in the 90's. Good luck with it.

Laura
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Old March 20th, 2006, 07:15 AM
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Absolutely! Go for it! I love an entreprenuer!!!

My advice would be: find what your customers want and then do it better than anyone else. People who appreciate quality will always pay for quality.

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Old March 20th, 2006, 10:39 AM
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Our TA/friends started doing that about 5 years ago, they now are so busy, but they take sooooo many cruises and are always telling us about good deals available. I say if you have the time and inclination, go for it!! BTW they don't advertise, it was all done by word of mouth.
Good Luck!1
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Old March 20th, 2006, 03:45 PM
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Im going to look into this for sure, thanks for the encouragement everyone. I already have some ideas about the type of people I want to market too and the type of services. Im going to take a mini class on becoming a tour guide as well, so maybe I can travel with some groups. Im in the service industry and have a sales type promotion job so Im pretty good at networking and talking to people. I would want to start slow, by word of mouth with family and friends and then grow as my confidence does.
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Old March 20th, 2006, 04:07 PM
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The same here as cruisenut2. Except I just got into it.

Like everything else I do in my life, I do it right, or not at all. So the first thing I did was to research it to death. There are a lot of online "Card mills" out there that you really want to stay away from. IMO they are hurting the industry by setting people up to sell something they really don't know enough about or the sources for help if they need it. That's ok, for some, but just not the way I think. I too work as an Independant Agent for a very large local Travel Agent. That gives me the backing and support if/when I need it and also gives me an office if I want to meet people there as well. It gives me all the things that CN2 listed as well, freedom to do what I want, to whom I want and when. I recieve training with my host agency, (rare for most) and also with a "legitimate" Travel School. Which BTW was not easy to find one, over some of the others that are only wanting you to buy their books and software. You don't have to have a host. But you can't beat a good host's reputation with the suppliers. You said you have classes available at your local college. I'd do that. They should be able to advise you on all you options and even help with job placement. If you do still want online schooling, PM me and I'll tell you the name of the school.

People get into it for a lot of different reasons. Second business, hobby, personal travel, whatever. I too, like you decided to take what I love and see where it goes. Take it all in stride thou, it's a tough business and there is a lot to learn. It is not for everyone.

BTW, some people on these actual boards had a part in helping me make that decision, they have been great. I've been amazed by how willing people have been to helpout and offer info. Thanks to those.

Good Luck,

Tina
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Old March 20th, 2006, 04:18 PM
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This has been my dream for years also. Just a few months ago contacted a travel school we have in my town. But when I talked with someone in the industry she said she would not encourage anyone to go into it because 9/11 changed the industry so much. I've been really down about it since. The cost of our local school is $900.00 so it's not cheap. I love to travel and love the research involved in it.

Just don't know what to do


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Old March 21st, 2006, 10:37 AM
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Interesting question. My husband has been looking into doing just the same, to prepare himself for his retirement (he wants to still be able to travel and cruise!). Howevr, he's run into a stumbling block here. For one thing, he is not bilingual, which is a must in any business in Quebec, and more importantly, he was not getting the answers from the travel agency that he felt they should know in order to properly sell cruises to others. Some people woking for this agency had never even cruised! So he was disillusioned about the whole thing, but has not stopped researching the idea.
Good luck to you, and I say GO FOr It!

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Old March 21st, 2006, 10:43 AM
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I think the first thing any agent will tell you is, don't do it if you want to get rich. It's a grinding business, and if you are working for an agency, or if you're joining a larger "outside agents" group there are plenty of costs involved, and commission sharing.

I believe it takes ALOT of work and time before you can start making an "actual living" at it.

Not trying dissuade anyone. Just be sure you go into it with realisitic expectations. Easy money and lots of cheap cruises really isn't part of the picture when you're just starting out.
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Old March 21st, 2006, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rollerdonna
Interesting question. My husband has been looking into doing just the same, to prepare himself for his retirement (he wants to still be able to travel and cruise!). Howevr, he's run into a stumbling block here. For one thing, he is not bilingual, which is a must in any business in Quebec, and more importantly, he was not getting the answers from the travel agency that he felt they should know in order to properly sell cruises to others. Some people woking for this agency had never even cruised! So he was disillusioned about the whole thing, but has not stopped researching the idea.
Good luck to you, and I say GO FOr It!

donna
Really Donna if you have taken a cruise you can sell it. Customers I talk to are looking for a certain confidence. To the OP yes nothing is black and white but if you can find the cruise they want at the price they want and answer some general questions you are good to go. As far as the school goes I learned on the job save they money unless you really need to go.
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Old March 21st, 2006, 09:42 PM
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Do your homework, the road is not easy. If you have a good network of friends, family, are friendly, outgoing, customer service oriented these are all pluses.

As Kuki said it is not easy out there, alot of small travel agencies and travel related businesses have gone under since 2001. Internet has
drastically changed the business, too.

I wouldn't discourage you but do alot of checking first. I did outside sales in the early 80's, took a travel course, got a certificate but just didn't work that hard at it. I didn't really have the contacts or know people that did any serious traveling (besides a few friends/coworkers).

I was the only one interested in traveling!!! :-)
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