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Old 10-15-2012, 02:54 PM   #31
OrangeCountyCommuter
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24/7 is when I arrive at Disney at midnight on Saturday and they can't find my reservation SOMEONE is on the phone to deal with this. I don't have to wait until Monday at 10 AM when my agent comes back to work.

If your agency does not have a 24/7 service then... I won't use it.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:02 PM   #32
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I work as a TA full time from home, but corporate rather than leisure (corporate is a whole nuther kettle of fish...) but I do know a bit about the independant leisure side and of course the industry in general.

As a whole the discounts ain't what they used to be, it was going down hill when I started in the late 90's and industry discounts generally just aren't there anymore unless you're a top producer and that usually means FT rather than PT work. As a perk of my position I get a certain number of free airline tickets a year and that's about it. Lets put it this way, my main credit card for reward points is a Starwood Amex so I can get free hotel stays, that's how lousy the discounts have gotten.

That said, it's still a good option for people looking to work from home and/or want a 2nd income. I would not recommend it as a main source of income, it can take a while to start getting paid and like any other sales position, you can't alway be sure what you'll make from month to month. Also no fringe benefits like health care, 401k, etc.

I would also be open to booking destinations other than Disney. Focusing on Disney might be a good way to get your feet wet but I'd really look in to expanding if at all possible. A lot of people feel comfortable booking Disney on their own without the help of an agent, and anyway there are tons of people who (beleive it or not!) have no interest in traveling to Disney, or only want to go once "for the kids". Crazy, I know! So you'd be missing out on a lot of potential clients right there.

While you don't need to be on call for your clients 24/7, you do need to be available a lot, especially evenings and weekends as that's when your clients are more apt to be calling/emailing you to book or if they have questions. You might be able to do something like you are "closed" monday and tuesday mornings if you need a set time off, but generally you'll need to be available during waking hours. That said, if your host agency has an after hours emergency hotline that would be ideal. You should be getting something for that commission split afterall, if your host doesn't offer one I'd look for one that does.

ETA: My own agency has an after hours emergency number, most large agencies do. It's only for people who are traveling and are having an issue, anyone looking to make a new reservation or has questions about an existing reservation (that they aren't currently traveling on) is told to call back during normal business hours.

When working on your own, getting time off can be tough. You'd either have to leave your clients to their own devices for however long you want to be gone or have someone be able to cover for you.

Also, "working from home" does not automaticly equate to "don't need to pay for child care". I work from home FT and still send my DD to a sitter 2x a week, if it wasn't for my husband working 3rd shift and being willing to short himself sleep, it would be 5x a week just as if I worked at an office. I can't work and watch my DD at the same time, it's not fair to my employer OR my DD.

As other's have pointed out, you'll get a lot of "shoppers". They want a ton of quotes and once you find the best deal, they suddenly aren't interested. Sometimes that's true but often they'll just go and book on their own. There are ways to combat that, like asking for $25 upfront to start searching and then you credit that to them if/when they book but then you can also turn away clients that way too, if they don't want to pony up. A better way to handle it is to keep track of those that want quotes and don't book and do a "3 strike rule", 3rd time they want a quote and don't book, you drop them as a "client' (or charge then the $25 reserch fee as I previously stated). Don't ever be afraid to "fire" a client that doesn't make you any money.

When you aren't researching or booking travel for someone, your job is to read read read and keep up with things. If Disney is your only destination it won't be quite as hard but things at Disney do change and you need to keep up. This Fantasyland expansion is a great example, your clients will want/need to know about it and you have to know what you're talking about, even if you haven't seen it for yourself yet.

Travel agents/agencies are making a bit of a come-back. A lot of people don't want to spend hours trying to reserch trips on Kyak or Expedia and just want someone ele to "deal with it" so you're picking a good time to try it out.
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Old 10-15-2012, 05:26 PM   #33
nunzia
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Is there a rule people can't review specific companies on the Dis? I'd be interested in knowing who these sucky agencies are (or rather someone's sucky experiences) and what agencies people have had good luck with.
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Old 10-16-2012, 06:52 PM   #34
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Hmm I don't know

Quote:
Originally Posted by nunzia View Post
Is there a rule people can't review specific companies on the Dis? I'd be interested in knowing who these sucky agencies are (or rather someone's sucky experiences) and what agencies people have had good luck with.
I don't know if there is a rule or not..I've always thought it's a little questionable to mention specific agencies that I've worked for as a note of respect to DIS boards and Dreams Unlimited (major sponsor).

I bet there is no problem to saying, I've seen/heard/applied with _____ agency. If it ****** out, then it means that company has violated Disboard rules. Maybe you can get some feedback.

Truth is there are so many agencies if it's not a big agency, you're likely not to get feedback. If you are looking at applying with an agency, I think it's reasonable to ask for a number of referrals of agents currently working with them. I'd ask: 1) Do you get paid on time and according to the terms of your agreement? 2) have you ever heard of someone not getting paid on time 3) have you considered going to work with another agency since starting? If so, why? 4) Do you receive travel documents in a timely manner? 5) Is there anything you wish you knew about working as a travel agent before you got started? 6) Do you recommend working with this company?

When I started I saw several posts just like OPs. One of them mentioned an agency she was considering. I contact the poster for feedback. It was okay. I eventually left that host agency because I wanted documents in a timely manner (Some of my Disney documents were coming days after the client left and since Disney sends they WAY early, I didn't think that was acceptable for my client.) I would still be with that host agency today if they'd taken my concerns about documents more seriously.

I think there are 3 things you need to consider before accepting a job as a travel agent or part time travel agent. 1) Do you really think you'll like doing this? -- It's more than some advice on the pre-school playground. Your opinion matters to your client and it impacts their trip. 2) Will your agency give you the tools to serve your client (Documents, systems access, help if needed.) 3) Are you going to get paid? Well a great agency has to write checks.

The Disboards was helpful to me when I got started and I'm glad to help where I'm able. It doesn't mean that I think the path I took is the only path or the best path. Or that the agency I work for is the best/ end all for new TAs. For many of you finding a local agency will be best because then you can talk with the owner or manager face to face. Lots less hassle with documents if you're in the same city. (It also is good for looking someone in the eye and asking, Where is my Check?)

I still love what I do. Occassionally I work too much on a weekend or at night, but the trade off for my family is extra spending money and a Mom who has more self-esteem because I know I'm good at what I do. I think in the end that makes me a better mom.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:36 AM   #35
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I am very interested in this thread! I've pm'd some of you already, but if any current/former TA's wouldn't mind pm'ing me about specifics of what they consider to be good and bad companies, I would be so grateful! I am applying at earmarked agencies now and want to know which ones to avoid!!
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:21 PM   #36
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I hope I don't get in trouble for posting about this (I already received docked points because of another travel agent thread)... I started with an agency in July and have yet to make a sale. I have a few people who are going to book but they're waiting for a good deal. So far my only sale has been myself. The commission really is NOT much at all and I've put more into it so far than what I'm earning. If you offer gift cards or gifts as incentives, the cost comes out of your commission so that will make it even smaller. Also, most agencies will take any postage costs from your commission. So far I do love it and hope to get a lot of repeat customers once they book with me. It is a lot of work for very little compensation though. There's no way I would want to do this with another full time job either.
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:52 PM   #37
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I'd also love info from any current agents or specifics on which companies to avoid. Feel free to pm me! Thx.
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:13 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rachel09985 View Post
My clients would still be able to reach me during the day. I have a flexible job that allows me to take breaks if needed.
Coming to this thread a little late, but wanted to throw out one more thought...speaking from the standpoint of someone who works in an HR capacity, our personnel policy manual expressly forbids performing functions of any type of side job during the hours you are working for us. When you are "on the clock," you may take the occasional personal call or check personal emails, but cannot do any work at all for any side business. I would check with your HR department for your employers' policy.
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