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Old 12-22-2012, 10:23 AM   #1
tojam
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TA Advice

I am looking at changing career's to work for myself as a TA. I have been blessed to travel the world and cruise a good bit. I would love some non-biased thoughts on your use of TA's and thoughts on this type of career change.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:28 AM   #2
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This is not really the board for this. I am going to move it to the Community Board.

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Old 12-22-2012, 10:43 AM   #3
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I am a TA. Do you have any idea of what it takes to be a good TA? Planning client's trip is very different from planning your own. Are you willing to put in the time and expense to set up your business, get training and continuing education necessary? Can you market yourself? Also, are you willing to available to your clients at all hours? I was on a cruise a week ago and checked email every day because I had clients getting ready to travel. I was booking a trip yesterday at 10:00pm.

If you can answer yes to all of those, then give it a shot. It's a fun job, and I do well, but it's not easy by any stretch of the imagination.
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:55 AM   #4
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I think the amount of people who use TA is spiraling downward. Booking your own travel is a lot easier than it used to be and anyone willing to do a little research can plan their own trip. I do not know anyone in my age bracket or younger that usesTA anymore. I think they will eventually become obsolete. Maybe not right away, but it will be harder and harder to make a living. You know what I am gong to do a poll, since it just might be my circle hat does not use them anymore.
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdsoccermom View Post
I am a TA. Do you have any idea of what it takes to be a good TA? Planning client's trip is very different from planning your own. Are you willing to put in the time and expense to set up your business, get training and continuing education necessary? Can you market yourself? Also, are you willing to available to your clients at all hours? I was on a cruise a week ago and checked email every day because I had clients getting ready to travel. I was booking a trip yesterday at 10:00pm.

If you can answer yes to all of those, then give it a shot. It's a fun job, and I do well, but it's not easy by any stretch of the imagination.
I have a pretty good idea as my best friend is a TA. I put the post out as generic as possible to see what responses would be obtained.
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dakcp2001 View Post
I think the amount of people who use TA is spiraling downward. Booking your own travel is a lot easier than it used to be and anyone willing to do a little research can plan their own trip. I do not know anyone in my age bracket or younger that usesTA anymore. I think they will eventually become obsolete. Maybe not right away, but it will be harder and harder to make a living. You know what I am gong to do a poll, since it just might be my circle hat does not use them anymore.
TAs absolutely are not becoming obsolete. There have been many reports and articles about how travel agents are making a comeback (not that we ever went away). Sure, there are a lot of people that book on their own. But, there are a lot who 1) don't have the time to plan their own trip; 2) don't know where to start; 3) want the convenience of having someone to do the work for them; 4) have complicated trips that are best planned by a professional; 5) like knowing there is someone there to help them when something goes wrong and so on.

I get new clients every week. I know agents that have millions in sales each year. We're obviously doing something right.
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:51 AM   #7
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You have to do a ton of business to make a living at it.

Most places only give the company 10% of the booking in commission. So for a $1000 trip the company gets $100 and only once the trip is taken.

I am a part time travel agent with an online agency. I only get 80% of that 10%. You won't get that many clients off the bat, plus you have to wait for them to complete their travel.

Make sure you have money to live on for a long time.
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:31 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by katrina1122 View Post
You have to do a ton of business to make a living at it.

Most places only give the company 10% of the booking in commission. So for a $1000 trip the company gets $100 and only once the trip is taken.

I am a part time travel agent with an online agency. I only get 80% of that 10%. You won't get that many clients off the bat, plus you have to wait for them to complete their travel.

Make sure you have money to live on for a long time.
If you get only 10% on all your bookings, then you need a new host agency. A lot of hosts offer 16% with their preferred suppliers (and that's actually most suppliers - it's generally a long list). I get 16% on most bookings with a 90-10 commission split with my host.
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Old 12-22-2012, 02:42 PM   #9
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See my poll and other thread. Most people are no longer using TA. Glad you are doing well, but I would not encourage anyone to go into this as a career now. Nor would I encourage anyone to go into newspaper printing or owning a Blockbuster. While there still are some people who use these things still, they are declining. I encourage people to chose a career with possible growth.
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Old 12-22-2012, 03:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdsoccermom View Post
If you get only 10% on all your bookings, then you need a new host agency. A lot of hosts offer 16% with their preferred suppliers (and that's actually most suppliers - it's generally a long list). I get 16% on most bookings with a 90-10 commission split with my host.
My host agency is still small. Some of their bookings are close to the 16% eligiblity, we need a few more agents to become a preferred vendor. As far as keeping 80% I keep 100 on my personal bookings and 90 on others sometimes. I was just trying to keep the sentence easy to understand. Even at 90% on a $1000 booking you only get $10 in your pocket than me. My point was that this isn't a get rich quick job. You need money or another job to sustain yourself if you are going to go out and do this on your own, that's all.
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Old 12-23-2012, 01:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dakcp2001 View Post
See my poll and other thread. Most people are no longer using TA. Glad you are doing well, but I would not encourage anyone to go into this as a career now. Nor would I encourage anyone to go into newspaper printing or owning a Blockbuster. While there still are some people who use these things still, they are declining. I encourage people to chose a career with possible growth.
I commented on your other post. It certainly isn't the industry it once was.
I have been using the same Travel Agency for 31 years. They have survived because they focus on high end trips. Owner told me their average customer is spending over $30,000 on a trip ! My $2,000 cruise certainly was small potatoes to them, but they treated like royalty just the same.
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:58 AM   #12
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My husband uses a travel agent for business. His travel is often very complicated, and changes rapidly, not to mention often multiple times within the course of any given itinerary.

So, maybe you should look into corporate travel if you want to be a travel agent. However, to be a good corporate agent, you need to really know international destinations and routing.
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Old 12-24-2012, 09:39 AM   #13
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It has seemed to me that it is a declining field, because of the Internet & the things that are available there.
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:59 AM   #14
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I found this thread because I was thinking the same thing -- specializing in disney trips.

We're selling our family business so technically I get to retire early, but I need to do something and I'd rather do something I enjoy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdsoccermom View Post
I am a TA. Do you have any idea of what it takes to be a good TA? Planning client's trip is very different from planning your own. Are you willing to put in the time and expense to set up your business, get training and continuing education necessary? Can you market yourself? Also, are you willing to available to your clients at all hours? I was on a cruise a week ago and checked email every day because I had clients getting ready to travel. I was booking a trip yesterday at 10:00pm.

If you can answer yes to all of those, then give it a shot. It's a fun job, and I do well, but it's not easy by any stretch of the imagination.
Yes to all of those -- our family business is property management. I got called in at 9 pm on Christmas night. When we get calls at night or on holidays, it truly is an emergency. But it would be nice to have issues I can deal with without leaving my home.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dakcp2001 View Post
I think the amount of people who use TA is spiraling downward. Booking your own travel is a lot easier than it used to be and anyone willing to do a little research can plan their own trip. I do not know anyone in my age bracket or younger that usesTA anymore. I think they will eventually become obsolete. Maybe not right away, but it will be harder and harder to make a living. You know what I am gong to do a poll, since it just might be my circle hat does not use them anymore.
I can't get over the number of people who apparently still use a travel agent here, and the number of travel agents who just don't know disney at all -- my mom's neighbour is a well respected TA and I often buy our trip insurance through him, but he is clueless about disney. It's just sad. I would never let a TA book my disney trip, because I know I can do better. And most people on these forums are probably the same. But I realize how much more I know now than when I booked my first trip. And I know there are a lot of families that only go once, or just once in a while. And most of them aren't members here.

But...I don't even know where to start, let alone how to find a job once I get the right training.
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:20 AM   #15
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The key to being successful as a TA is to specialize - and be really good at what you do. While people are willing to plan their own trips for destinations they are comfortable with, they will use a TA to plan a "special" trip. For example, my mom will plan trips to NYC and other US destinations by she will us a TA for trips to Europe.

More than half of my clients contact me because after doing their own research they feel overwhelmed. They are much happier placing their trip in the hands of a professional - especially since it doesn't cost them anything. Then when I find ways to save them money, they are even more grateful.

I think perhaps the reason people on the Dis tend to plan their own trips is because they are planners by nature. They are not the ones who are overwhelmed after doing research. So I'm not sure I would trust a Dis poll to accurately measure the future of the TA profession.
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