Working in the travel industry is one of the most exciting and rewarding career options available. Selling a product everyone desires, opportunities to travel and a varied workload are all reasons to pursue a career in the travel industry. As exciting as travel can be, the truth is, the role of a travel agent can be very challenging at times too.
At Inspire, we believe that if you have the following six attributes, you are well on the way to overcoming the challenges to be a successful home-based travel agent:
Travel homeworker trait 1 – Personalised customer service
The old adage ‘people buy from people’ is never truer than in the travel industry. Being available for the customer when they need you, helping with booking details specific to the client; and even little things like organising transfers, pet care and homecoming gifts will ensure that the customer returns to you time and time again to book all of their travel. As a self-employed travel homeworker, you can decide the precise customer service for each client.
Travel homeworker trait 2 – Commercial awareness
A common customer objection is price – the customer can easily shop around online and find the same holiday for cheaper. In this case, you do not want to get caught up in a race to the bottom in price, which will ultimately eat into your hard-earned commission. Commercial awareness will help you recognise when to upsell your service to justify your price, when to make a discount and most importantly, when to walk away from an unrealistic client expectation.
Travel homeworker trait 3 – Self-motivation
Working from home can sometimes get lonely or distracting, so to overcome this, self-motivation is essential. The benefit of travel homeworking is that it is a very sociable homeworking opportunity. Meeting clients face to face or talking on the phone, joining in networking opportunities or getting involved with head office training and support are all ways to increase social interaction.
Self-motivation is needed in times of crisis; customers arrive in destination to find the accommodation is not as described; or in more extreme circumstances, the operator goes bust. The ability to take the rough with the smooth to resolve the customers’ issues is essential.
Travel homeworker trait 4 – Attention to detail
There is a surprising amount of detail booking a clients’ holiday. From checking all customer names, dates of birth and passport numbers, to ensuring the very best room at the destination.
Travel homeworker trait 5 – Communication
From negotiating travel prices and itineraries, sending travel documentation, to being a source of advice to the customer when checking if they need a visa for travel, clear, concise written and verbal communication skills are one of the most important attributes a travel agent can possess.
Travel homeworker trait 6 – Networking
Opportunities to sell holidays do not just appear. As a self employed travel agent, you will need to source your own leads and our experience is that networking is one of the most effective methods to win new customers. Your network could be an existing membership of a club or society; but it is best to spread your wings to join new networks, such as a local business networking group. Everyone loves a holiday, so networking in a new group can be easy.
Note that ‘travel experience’ is not essential to being successful as a homebased travel agent. If you possess all of the above traits, along with a passion for travel, Inspire travel are open to discuss the opportunities open to you as a travel homeworker.