Becoming a certified Disney Travel Agent?

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by sl_underwood, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. sl_underwood

    sl_underwood DIS Veteran

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    I am not sure if this is the right board to post this on but I have been trying to find ways to earn money and stay at home. Several family members mentioned since I love Disney I should become a travel agent and help families plan their disney vacations. It sounds like it would be something I would enjoy and might make a little money as well to put in my disney fund. Anyone have info on how to do this? What kind of start up costs are there? Classes? Do you start your own business or are there companies you work for? Any info would be appreciated!
     
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  3. Brenda in CA

    Brenda in CA Mouseketeer

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    I'd love to know more about this too.
     
  4. 2forMe

    2forMe DIS Veteran

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    Hey me too..
     
  5. Hedy

    Hedy <font color=blue>I'm <s>22</s> 27 and I still kind

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    Just a suggestion, but a lot of people have been posting that their local adult ed. programs have had Disney planning courses. That might be an idea.
     
  6. Bibbidi

    Bibbidi DIS Veteran

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    I'm not a travel agent, but I've looked into it before for the same reasons as the OP. From what I've been able to gather, if you get a job as a travel agent, then you can take the disney college of knowledge program online and that is how you become certified in disney travel. This could be wrong, but that was my impression based on what I could read up on online.

    A couple years ago I sent my resume and other info to an online disney agency and they had a startup fee of $395 which included some things like web access, insurance, etc. I didn't pursue it at the time because my youngest was only 10 months old and I didn't have a lot of time to myself to be on the phone without kids in the background. I might have to revisit it now that they are both in preschool a couple mornings a week.

    I'd start by checking out the different disney vacation agencies and seeing if their website says anything about "join our team". I'm sure some of them are probably hiring. HTH.
     
  7. sl_underwood

    sl_underwood DIS Veteran

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    Just bumping, hope some disney travel agents will respond.
     
  8. Tinkerbell_Girl

    Tinkerbell_Girl <font color=red>2<font color=purple>3<font color=t

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    I want some more info too! I am in school to become a TA and hopefully a Disney TA!
     
  9. got2travel

    got2travel <font color=green>Disney lover<br><font color=deep

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    This question comes up frequently here. I'll try to find the last one but the search function is not one of my favorite things.

    Bottom line is that this is not really a great way to make money. There is very little commission left in the travel industry. You have to work really hard when putting quotes together, then you don't get paid unless someone actually books a trip with you.
     
  10. got2travel

    got2travel <font color=green>Disney lover<br><font color=deep

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  11. CPM

    CPM <font color=blue>Stands up in the Spider-Man ride

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    Try emailing Small World Travel. I know TA's that work for them and they make much more than people that work at McDonald's.
    You also don't need a host agency if you are just booking Disney. You can book directly through them.
    You do need a CLIA number.
    Here is a site with some good info:
    http://www.hometravelagency.com/travel-agent-license.html
     
  12. CarolinaBlue

    CarolinaBlue I solemnly swear that I am up to no good<br><font

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    I'm interested in doing this as well. I tried Small World at the end of last year, but she said they had already hired all the agents they needed for
    2007. I live in a small town, so there aren't any places around here that offer courses for this, not even at the community college just down the road. I don't know if I really need to take any courses since it appears that you don't have to be certified or have a license to become a travel agent. :confused3
     
  13. Woodcourt

    Woodcourt Mouseketeer

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    Soooo many people asking for help planning their trips. Anyone ever work with Mickey Vacations?
     
  14. ThreeMusketeers

    ThreeMusketeers DIS Veteran

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    subribing for the great thread attatchments!
     
  15. Chicago526

    Chicago526 <font color=red>Any dream will do...<br><font colo

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    I posted this on the thread that was linked, but I'll put it here to.

    I also wanted to add, that if you become an outside agent, your taxes and Social Security are not withheld for you, so your tax situation will become more difficult. Also, you may need to carry your own Errors and Omission insurance, that's like malpractice insurance for travel agents. Mistakes can be expensive! Some agencies do provide it to their outside agents as a part of their deal with you, but check and make sure, never assume!
     
  16. SplashMountainRocks

    SplashMountainRocks Earning My Ears

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    This is true of any job when you are considered an Independent Contractor and you get a 1099, you are responsible for your own taxes, as you are NOT an employee of the travel agency.

    E&O insurance for a home-based agent is as low as $350 per year for $1M worth of coverage.

    There are 2 excellent sites that explain all of the ins and outs:

    hometravelagency.com and homebasedtravelagent.com
     
  17. Dancemom03

    Dancemom03 Flexican wannabe

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    I'd be an actual TA, if you can call it that in these days of internet bookings - and I have the Disney college of knowledge mouse ears on my desk to prove it.
    Our agency makes 10% of most (but not all) bookings. The owner keeps half and the booking agent gets the other half. A whopping 5% for wdw packages.
    It's still a fun job to have but not nearly as nice as it used to be. These days, I see many more bargain shoppers who are interested in getting multiple quotes, express enough interest to keep you working on their folder, and then may not call back after I've put hours of work into it (often holding rooms & flights for them to secure rates) because they've discovered an internet site and booked it themselves or ended up booking with an online agency recommended by people who posted on one of the many Disney sites.
    Those who'd like to do travel - especially from home - may want to consider their social connections. If you're very active in your community with the opportunity to meet new people regularly, you'll likely do fairly well but I wouldn't count on getting rich either.
    I have many very loyal and enthusiastic repeat clients. The majority though were referred by a friend or relative who may have used our services in the past or connected with us thru business travel we may have handled for their company.
    20 years ago when I started booking travel, I was the newbie who answered the phones and manned the office walk-ins on Monday mornings each week after Sunday's travel section generated calls. It was more of a service job then and each new destination was a challenge to put together just the right package, today it seems more like a sales job. I'm not sure you could do well selling just Disney destinations alone.
    Discounts, Perks and Fams are not what they were even 10 years ago either.
    Airlines, Cruiselines & Resorts have tightened their belts and with it the requirements for eligibilty for industry discounts. As many of the TAs who take advantage of WDW discounts can tell you, WDW has greatly changed the benefits for travel industry partners in recent years.
    Full-time Inside TAs can get 50% off WDW room only rack rates assuming that certain criteria are met. Sometimes though that 50% is just a few dollars above what the AP rate or code is for the same time period. In the summer of 2004, when wdw did the buy 4 get 3 free promo, I actually booked clients using that package for less than my TA rate with passes. TAs cannot book the DDP this year even if we pay for it. To keep our ID cards current we need to renew memberships and complete additional educational/travel courses each year.
    I've stayed using AP rates even though I qualified for an industry rate in WDW before because they were available when TA discounts were not.
    Currently, the rate for early July at the Swan is nearly $100 lower per night for teachers than it is for travel agents. The AP rate is often the same as a TA rate at Swan/Dolphin but, ironically, the AP rate will get you a free room upgrade that the TA rate won't.
    I've worked for 4 agencies in the last 12 years - 3 of which have gone under. Two of those went under before my final commission checks were cut and I, along with several other agents did not get paid. For the most part, I think I could make more money selling items on ebay. I've even seen TAs selling wdw vacations on ebay recently in what I suppose might be an attempt to attract new clients.
    It's wonderful to be able to make money at something that you love. Many local agencies will accept part time outside agents who would like to start in the field. Some may even offer training sessions to help you learn the different systems/aspects of booking travel for others. They will not charge you to do it but you will likely only make commission on your bookings instead of an hourly wage. To find out more, you could visit the agencies in your area and speak with the owners/managers. Most will welcome you, even if they don't have a position for you. Talking to them though will give you a feel for what is in demand in your specific area and whether it is something you'd want to explore further.
     
  18. Muushka

    Muushka <font color=red>I usually feel like I just stepped

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    just subscribing for more info....
     
  19. SplashMountainRocks

    SplashMountainRocks Earning My Ears

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    While everything Dancemom03 say is true, her post has the slant of a brick and mortar agent and all of her points are very valid. However, many new travel agents and agencies today are home based, and work with a host agency - and many only have an online presence vs an actual storefront.

    Here are some of the differences:

    - many host agencies offer at least a 60/40 commission split, some will give you as high as 90% commission (of the (usually) 10% earned from Disney), I would say the average I've seen is 75%. (If the agency books a high volume of Disney Cruise Line, the commission can go as high as 16%, but WDW and Disneyland are 10%; commissions on tickets vary from 3% to 8%)

    - many home based agencies use the internet to their advantage, rather than viewing it as the enemy or the competition - look at DU or Small World or the others for example.

    - many of you who frequent the DIS can learn much more here and on MouseSavers and AllEars than the College of Disney Knowledge will ever teach you; but its a great credential to have nonetheless.

    - there are many ways of discouraging bargain shoppers so they don't waste your valuable time; I can recommend 2 books if you are interested. Yes, travel agents have to learn to make sales, just like real estate agents; gone are the days of taking orders for travel and just booking it.

    - as far as doing well just selling Disney, I have 4 friends that work for one of the online agencies, one made $600 last year because she hardly did anything, the most one of the others earned was in the $14,000 range, but he works it about 20-30 hours a week and has been doing it for a few years and has a loyal following (he does it as a second job). The other 2 earned around $2000-$3000 each. Some of these agents have already booked well over $150k (combined) in 2008 Disney West Coast cruises.

    - if you are becoming a TA just for the travel discounts and perks, you are doing it for the wrong reason; IMHO, you should be doing it because you love the destinations, you want to earn a little extra money doing something you love, and you like to work with people. If you have things setup properly, your visits to WDW, etc, would be considered a business expense and would be deductible. Some host agencies prey on those looking to make the quick buck and get the TA perks, so beware.

    All of this is discussed in great detail on the 3 sites I've listed in previous posts.
     
  20. lorli

    lorli Perfectly Pixieish

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  21. happygirl

    happygirl DIS Veteran

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    My friend who is a travel agent not a disney travel agent just a regular one, had to go to college
     

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