The COVID-19 pandemic has been a transformational time for the travel industry – businesses in the industry have been shattered by border closures, cruise ships have stalled and airlines have reduced capacity.
The good news is that now, more than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry is well on its way to a full recovery. TSA passenger numbers, while not quite at 2019 levels, show the gap is closing between pre-COVID levels, even with struggling business travel and some safety rules. test still in place.
The current problem for the travel industry is to close the employment gap, including in the travel counselor sector. Executives speaking to TMR this year all said that, churn during the COVID-19 pandemic in the travel advisor population, combined with a consumer base that by all measures is more likely to booking through a travel agent than before the pandemic, has created a major need for more agents.
The industry is already attracting new talent from all corners of the economy (TMR interviewed some of these new voices), but it takes more to join the ranks of travel agents who have learned the benefits of becoming a travel agent. or starting a travel agency (think remote work, flexible hours, and the ability to earn money). But there is still a lot to do.
If you’re considering starting a travel agency or becoming a travel agent, here are some resources to help get you started on your trip:
How much does it cost to become a travel agent?
In a survey of 218 currently operating travel advisors, TMR found that advisors, whether experienced or new to travel, mostly report that the costs of becoming an advisor, especially those working from a home office without a physical location, are weak.
6 things every new travel consultant needs to know
TMR spoke to several long-time travel advisors to find out what advice they would give new advisors if they had to boil it all down to one thing.
8 things long-time travel agents wish they had known when they started
To help shorten the learning curve for new advisors, Travel Market Report spoke to experienced travel advisors to find out what they wish they had known when they started.
How to know which hosting agency is right for you
Joining a hospitality agency is a crucial step for many travel counselors who seek the advice, resources, education, and mentorship that so many of them offer. But when it comes to choosing a hospitality agency, the possibilities can seem endless for new travel consultants. Still, there are places to go and things to look for when narrowing down the ever-growing list of hosts.
The 4 Most Important Things New Travel Consultants Should Know About Customer Service
Customer service is at the heart of the travel counselor business. That’s why most travelers choose advisors over online booking engines or low-cost wholesalers. TMR spoke to a number of long-time advisors to find out what they think newcomers to the industry should know about customer service.
How to Successfully Implement Service Fees
Service fees allow travel advisors to create a separate revenue stream from vendor commissions, which became increasingly important in 2020 when these commissions were reduced and unpaid commissions were suspended by some advisors. VMR spoke to two travel agents about their fee-for-service business, including how new travel agents can implement service fees for their business and why they are so important.
ACTA or ASTA
The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) and the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) are your advocates, leveraging their strength as national associations with their respective government agencies. Their efforts on behalf of the advisor community have been integral to securing advisors with much-needed relief during the coronavirus pandemic. They also signal to the traveling public that travel counselors are an essential intermediary in the industry.
From joining in support of the industry to gaining member benefits including additional commissions, becoming a member of ASTA or ACTA is increasingly important. You can find information about ASTA here and ACTA here.
6 tips to be a more successful independent entrepreneur
Perhaps the fastest growing segment among travel agents is the independent contractor, an agent who is not an employee but operates through a host or larger agency. Despite its name, being an independent contractor (IC) doesn’t – or shouldn’t – mean operating in a vacuum. Host agencies and independent contractors need to be in a symbiotic relationship that serves both parties.
Not sure what this means for you as an IC? Travel Market Report spoke to a number of longtime advisors to find out what advice they had for independent contractors.