Home Based Travel Business
It's not surprising that a home based travel business would be one of the most popular of all the new businesses started in American homes in the last ten years. One hundred and fifty million people in the United States have home based businesses and the combined gross income of those residence based commerce ventures totals more than four hundred and twenty seven billion dollars a year. Low cost start up, flexible hours and of course the Internet have made a home based travel business one of the most sought after ecommerce ventures on the web. With all information that is available at a traditional agency now at the fingertips of those at home, it makes sense that the trip industry move from a mall store paradigm into a more decentralized online ecommerce model. What steps must be taken to set up a home based travel agency?
First a person has to like to journey, but then who doesn't? Everyone likes the excitement of getting and away and being pampered and treated a little more royally than the usual fare at home. But this is where the individual who really has a calling for the trip industry shines. The person who, when journey arrangements go poorly, the hotel room leaves something to be desired and the food is less than stellar can be thinking positively about the lessons learned. The successful home based travel business agent will in the midst of journey adversity will not be complaining but thinking of how improvements could be made to clients' next trips from lessons gleaned by first hand experience. Customers can soon tell the difference between the profit first trip agent over against the client first journey specialist.
Anyone can claim to be a trip agent and start some kind of a business. But the trip industry has more secrets, more changing specials and more trade insider tips than Tiger Woods has trophies. In fact, there are certifications and licensures that may be required in the state in which the reader resides. Journey experts are even suggesting that because moving around the world has become more complicated through airport restrictions, and frayed nerves among nations, a home based travel business agent would do well to at least have an associate's degree in the hospitality industry. Jesus painted a picture of the lives of Christians who are rooted and grounded in the truth of scripture. "They are like a man which has built an house and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and then the flood arose the stream beat vehemently upon that house and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock." (Luke 6:49)
If an associate's degree is not an option, there are courses that are offered through community colleges that can help prepare a person for a home based travel business. There are a number of industry standard software programs that must be mastered in order to offer the public the kind of service it has come to expect from traditional agents. Logistical problems, flight schedules, daily fare changes, weather alerts as well as trip restrictions for various modes of travel are all part of a home based travel business. The cruise industry has developed to the point that it is an industry unto itself. This means that the agent must understand fully issues such as passport regulations, customs laws, vaccinations and money exchange policies in order to represent the vacationer wishing to experience this specialized leisure activity.
Speaking a foreign language can be a huge asset for someone wishing to start a home based travel business. As more and more of the United States population is becoming increasingly represented by foreign immigrants and eventual citizens, a journey agent having a working knowledge of at least one non-English language will assure that a niche travel business can be built with service directed towards one specific non- English segment. Another niche business can be built on an agent's very personal knowledge of a certain part of the world and becoming a trip expert on Europe or Asia or another popular destination can further insure a home based travel business success story. One of the perks of the agent's business is the ability to journey and experience a number of travel destinations firsthand in order to coach customers on the nuances of the culture. Trip agents are privy to a number of discounts that can substantially lower their traveling costs and of course these expenses can be written off as business deductions in most cases.
If a person is not a clear communicator and not detailed oriented, this particular homed based business should not be pursued. A great deal of phone work and data entry is part of the job description as well as giving clear and precise advice and directions. It is not a business for the faint of heart when it comes to tenaciousness. An agent is working for the customer to find the very best prices on tickets, rentals, motel rooms, and attractions. A client's limited budget may often pose a challenge to the agent to make a lofty journey dream come true. The agent with a true heart for the customer will work long hours and will run into plenty of obstacles along the way, especially in peak journey seasons such as major holidays and summer. Weather delays can upset a long and complicated trip itineraries and the agent must be able to quickly and coolly redirect and reassure the client that alternate plans are available.
Work At Home Travel AgentThe dream of being a work at home travel agent can become a reality for anyone who knows where and how to go about getting everything a person needs for that very position. There are very few people that aren't intrigued with the idea of getting out of bed each morning and strolling into their own office right there in the house or apartment where they live. No more getting in snow bound cars, no more fighting bumper to bumper traffic, and no more high prices at the gas pump. This career really may seem like a dream but it can be done. And since everyone likes to visit far away places, the chance to help people enjoy vacations of a lifetime is a great way to make a living.
The first thing to remember about all of this is not to fall for just any come on from the Internet about making big money in the travel business. Really, really good money for a home based travel agent will be about fifty thousand dollars a year. That means the average money will be quite a bit lower. Not exactly get rich money. But this is a way to either have a helpful and convenient second job, or have a good stay at home business that will at least pay some bills. But let this be repeated again, do not fall for just any Internet come one inviting someone to become a work at home travel agent. Without being prudent, careless choices will be a disappointment and a waste of good money!
Now the issue is where to get training to become a work at home travel agent. The options are taking courses online or perhaps getting an associate's degree from a community college. Courses online and from an actual college classroom may not differ too much these days. And while it's always more exciting to take a course in person, the online option may be much more convenient. The important thing to know about any course is the certification to which the course leads. There has been developed a national standard of entry level proficiency for the travel industry which is called the National TAP an acronym for national agent proficiency. Any online course that does not prepare a person for this test is a waste of money.
The training a person will receive for such a certification will cover the intricacies of handling a computer reservation system for airlines, cruise lines, car rentals, hotels and resorts. Since each of these components may have their own separate systems, knowledge of how all work is critical in giving customers the kind of care and service they will expect. In addition, a brush-up on geography, problem solving skills and trip terminology will be covered. All of this knowledge will be necessary to pass the TAP evaluation. Without this certification, a person wanting to become a work at home travel agent will have no credibility, and bonding may become difficult to obtain for the business.
Once the training is complete, a work at home travel agent will have to make the decision to go it alone or align oneself with a host agency. For the new travel agent, the best choice may be to coop with a host agency. Choosing one is not always easy, because many are more interested in making money than helping the independent agent succeed. Stay away from agencies that have a number of complaints lodged against them, stay away from agencies that boast about getting big discounts for their travel agents on airfares, etc and stay away from agencies that try to go out and recruit other travel agents. All three of these are of great concern and should signal an immediate red flag to the work at home travel agent shopping for a host. Going the extra mile for a customer is advice straight from the lips of Jesus Christ. "And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain." (Matthew 5:41)
If a person chooses to go it alone, there will be a number of expenses that will immediately be realized. But even before those are discussed, make sure that zoning will allow a person to conduct a business at one's residence. Advertising will be the most costly of all the expenses a work at home travel agent will incur. The enormity of getting one's business recognized in a community may be overwhelming. Discussions with an advisor with the Small Business Administration might help develop some ideas and eliminate costly errors. Along with those expenses will be software specifically for the travel industry, office equipment such as a combination copier and fax machine. It may be important to purchase a cell phone capable of producing email to catch messages while out of the office.
Being a work at home travel agent may sound exotic, but if a person has a family, the work at home atmosphere may prove to be a daunting one for productivity. Between children's expectations and the daily interruptions that being at home can produce, giving customers undivided attention may prove difficult. Of course logistical issues regarding the placement of the office away from regular family traffic patterns should be considered even before beginning the plans to start a business. There is something pretty intriguing about being one's own boss, but it also means that all the complaints, all the problems and headaches belong to the Big Kahuna. Be prepared for all the junk one has to wade through as well as the outstanding rewards that can come as the owner of one's own enterprise venture.