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View Full Version : Becoming a TA, advise please


love__goofy
05-16-2010, 04:05 PM
Hi all,
I am not sure where to post this, so please move if necessary.

Being a great advocate of Disney World, I would love to become a
home based travel agent for Disney. Does anyone know how to get
started, and have an idea of a realistic income starting out, and
possibly an average income for being a TA?

Thanks so much for all you help. I truly do appreciate it.

4Seasons
05-16-2010, 05:33 PM
Do you like sales, can you handle rejection or your best friend, neighbor or family picking your brain for detailed information and you working for hours putting together the "perfect package" only to find out they go online and book it themselves, totally cutting you out of the picture?

If so, read on.....

Assuming you have no industry experience, you may want to see about getting a p/t job at a local storefront. Even interning with no pay just to learn the ropes and see how things are done. IF you decide to bypass that option and go with one of the many host agencies out there, do your due diligence about picking them. Don't just go for the one with the lowest or no upfront cost, but don't get tied up with a MLM company either. I've known people who've gotten totally screwed by both.
You must really be totally a self-starter and very ambitious to make something out of this business, ESPECIALLY when you are home based and alone. You must take the intiative to do trainings, attend events and tradeshows, network with other agents (I can tell you even with many years of experience in this business, that the times I've had the opportunity to network and chat with agents who've been in the business 20, 25, 30+ years have proven invaluable). If you are not naturally gifted at sales (and yes this is after all a sales career), take some sales and marketing classes.
Realize you will need to reinvest a (sometimes substantial) portion of your income in training, marketing and firsthand experience. Also realize that you don't get paid for your client's trips until AFTER they travel, which can sometimes be several months or over a year from the date you originally started working with them. Sometimes you will have the most wonderful clients, and sometimes you will have people that just plain are not easy to deal with. You have to take the good with the bad. You will be splitting your commissions with your host agency, who provides the credentials to work with the suppliers and maintains the agency accounts. Starting out it can be anywhere from 30-50% of your commission, depending on your host agency's agreement.

I'm not trying to give you a negative impression of the career or industry, just a realistic one. And yes the initial scenario does happen at times, although thankfully (for me anyway) very rarely because of measures I've adopted in my business. I love my career and have been very successful, but it's not always the easy or glamourous career some think it is. But it can be very rewarding.

My advice would be either intern at a local storefront to get your feet wet, or find and sign on with a reputable host agency who is willing to mentor you and get you up and running.

Please feel free to ask any questions, I'd be happy to answer them for you! :goodvibes

lovetoscrap
05-16-2010, 06:22 PM
I have seen this question come up numerous times all over the boards. You may want to do a search and see what you can find.

eeyorethegreat
05-16-2010, 08:24 PM
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2454834
that is a recent thread on the topic

Tinkerbelle9980
05-16-2010, 08:32 PM
Do you like sales, can you handle rejection or your best friend, neighbor or family picking your brain for detailed information and you working for hours putting together the "perfect package" only to find out they go online and book it themselves, totally cutting you out of the picture?

Do you know my family and friends? Sorry I am not a travel agent but this is what they do to me. They ask for opinions on places I will find them the perfect place, and they book somewhere else. Then it's my fault when they don't like it. It's kind of ironic. I applaud anyone who works in the travel and hospitality industry. Tons of work and little to no thanks.:)

Carmell226
05-17-2010, 12:18 PM
I worked as an independent travel agent (part time) for about a year. I found it to be exhausting and I only booked ONE Disney vacation. The rest were mostly Mexico or people looking for cheap airfare. TAs don't really make anything on Airfare. The Disney commission for TAs wasn't great either, so don't expect to make alot of money doing it. I tried very hard and exhausted all of my "leads" (family, friends, neighbors, etc) and only made about $1,400 for the year. I was only doing if part time and it was really just for fun but I did not really enjoy it. I thought in the beginning I would be selling all sorts of Disney vacations and get to help plan them, but it ended up most people just wanted my knowledge for free and would book elsewhere. I didn't have to pay anything to start I just have to give 40% of my commission to the agent I was working for but if you do want to pay to become a TA it can be very expensive.
Make sure you do alot of research before you make the plunge. You will have to spend alot of money in advertising/sales aswell if you really want to make money at it. And don't expect your family and friends to book their travel with you, alot of them already have TAs or prefer to just do it themselves these days. Good Luck to you with whatever you decide!

drcmk
05-17-2010, 03:36 PM
I read an article just last week about jobs that were lost during the recession that are unlikely to return. Travel agent was one of those jobs. It seems like people no longer need someone else to plan a trip for them and/or don't want to pay someone to plan a trip for them. Personally the last time I consulted a travel agent was to plan my honeymoon in 1992.

I wouldn't invest in a career as a travel agent at this time. You might do better as a travel writer, since people seem to want to do research themselves to plan vacations. Of course, I have no idea if that is lucrative.

4Seasons
05-17-2010, 05:05 PM
[QUOTE=drcmk;36678992]I read an article just last week about jobs that were lost during the recession that are unlikely to return. Travel agent was one of those jobs. It seems like people no longer need someone else to plan a trip for them and/or don't want to pay someone to plan a trip for them. QUOTE]

Not necessarily true. Yes the industry did shrink during the recession, but I think it was a good thing in the long run. Alot of agencies also consolidated and many storefront agents went home-based, which leads to an inaccurate picture of exactly the number of agents currently in the industry. Homebased agents are particularly hard to count.
Last year, during the "height" of the recession, I had my best year ever. This year is on track to be even better. I focus on a couple specialities which bring me alot of business. And based on a huge national industry conference I attended last month, where many of the panelists were top executives from some of the nations' largest travel suppliers (ALL the major cruise lines and many of the large tour operators i.e. Funjet, Globus, and my absolute favorite...Sandals :lovestruc ), travel agents still bring them the bulk of their business.
The majority of agents I know do not charge any type of fee. That's one of the biggest misconceptions about using a travel agent.
Like alot of other careers, it's what you make of it that determines how successful you will be.

poohfriend
05-17-2010, 06:21 PM
Do you like sales, can you handle rejection or your best friend, neighbor or family picking your brain for detailed information and you working for hours putting together the "perfect package" only to find out they go online and book it themselves, totally cutting you out of the picture?



This is so true! I have a particular friend who will never book through me and it took me a little while to "get over it!"

I also work from home part-time (which is sometimes full-time). I love helping people plan their vacations and enjoy the extra money that allows me to invest in my own travel! Disney travel is my favorite!:dance3:

There are many host agencies that will give you a start. Do your homework before you sign-on.

My business continues to grow and I see the prospects as great! The TA industry is a service industry. There are LOTS of people who DO want help with travel. This is not like opening a book store! As long as people travel, there is going to be a place for people helping them. (I guess the question is ...over time will TAs have to charge a fee ? )



By the way, I don't make a lot, but it is lots of fun!