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How to become a part-time Disney travel agent?

Discussion in 'The DIS Unplugged Podcast' started by StitchesGr8Fan, May 9, 2012.

  1. StitchesGr8Fan

    StitchesGr8Fan DIS Veteran

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    I want to use my Disney knowledge, organizing skills, and free time to be a Disney travel agent part time. I have no idea where to start. I want to work from home and be someone's employee, not have a business of my own. Any idea where to start?
     
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  3. evildiva

    evildiva Reading "Twilight Series" has produced unhealthy e

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    I'd be interested in this as well. Everyone always tells me I should write a book on trveling to Disney World.
     
  4. Kimberly Hill

    Kimberly Hill DIS Veteran

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    There are a gazillion and a half travel agencies - starting with Dreams Unlimited - that are Disney-focused or deal heavily with Disney. There are all sorts of business models from mega-agencies with several hundred agents to small 1-2 person agencies and each of them handles bookings, clients, and commission differently.

    If you're planning to work from home, most likely you're looking at an independent contractor (IC) position, not an employee. You're essentially running your own business, responsible for your own taxes, and receiving commission checks, not paychecks.

    Google "disney travel agent" (which only Disney employees are, by the way) or "disney vacation planner" and start reading. Talk to friends who've used agencies. Visit websites and fill out the application form.

    One thing to remember - it's a sales job, not a travel job. You have a fabulous product to sell but you have to get out there and sell it. It's very hard to get rich, or even make a living, by selling Disney (or most travel) so keep that in mind while you look.

    Best of luck!
    - Kimberly
     
  5. DisneyKevin

    DisneyKevin Kelvis Moderator

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    The above is some good advice.

    Most people think this is an easy job.

    Trust me....it's not.

    Don't get me wrong, I LOVE MY JOB....but the hours are long, you don't really get a day off and you might not see a dime for 12 - 14 months.

    The majority of folks that start doing this, stop very quickly.
     
  6. Justin Jett

    Justin Jett <font color=darkorchid>I will do my Elvis impressi

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    So true......I lasted a year.
     
  7. SugarSpice

    SugarSpice Mouseketeer

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    The very first thing you have to do is get certified. I'm currently in "Travel School" through a local travel agency. They gave me all of the materials, books, assignments, etc. I have a year to complete it and turn it in to them.
     
  8. dalt01

    dalt01 DIS Veteran

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    if you have a dream, follow it. whats the worst that can happen? i like to think about a scene from the first Transformers when the yellow car rushed up to save them from the bad guy, shia.....Get in the car. Megan.....NO...Shia....listen do you want to be old and grey and think back that you were afraid to get it the car??????? all your life well meaning people will tell you what you cannot do. follow you own heart.
     
  9. DisneyKevin

    DisneyKevin Kelvis Moderator

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    I wasn't suggesting that anyone give up their dream.

    I was explaining that this is not the easy job that folks think it is and trying to point out some of the things you might experience along the way.

    It's been my experience that people starting a new job / career, are usually doing it as a way of supporting themselves.

    As you will see no financial gain until weeks after your guest has completed travel, this can mean working for months and months with no income.

    It takes dedication to provide a service for which you will see no financial reward for maybe a year or more.

    As I said previously, most folks that start this end up stopping pretty quickly.
     
  10. DSNYDREAMER

    DSNYDREAMER <font color=deeppink>Cruising with Unlimited Dream

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    I think you have gotten some good advice here. I would also like to add be careful of any agency that charges a fee to join it. Also beware of agencies charging you to take courses or achieve certification. A legitimate agency will not ask you to pay a fee to join them.

    Like any business you will have expenses and operating costs...one of those should not be a fee to a travel agency.
     
  11. dalt01

    dalt01 DIS Veteran

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    whats up Kevin, long time no talk? i was not suggesting that you were suggesting anything:duck: i was just putting a positive spin on it because each arguement needs two sides.........and i have always had a go for it style myself.
     
  12. DisneyKevin

    DisneyKevin Kelvis Moderator

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    Hey Dalton....I guess the difference is that you saw this as an argument and I saw it as a conversation about something with which i have some experience.

    I get a dozen emails a day that begin with some form of "because I plan all my families Disney vacations....people tell me I should become a travel agent" or the other version "I don't like my job and I want to do what you do...travel and have fun".

    I think it's good to have a clear picture of what your dream truly entails instead of an "I'm going to run off and join the circus" idea of what comes with being a travel agent.

    Most folks find that once they have booked vacations for their family members who can and will agree to travel, there are not a bunch of potential clients knocking on their doors.

    As someone pointed out...this is a sales job above all else.
     
  13. dalt01

    dalt01 DIS Veteran

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    on that we can agree......and as one salesman to another, most people do not realize what it actually entails. i go through people like you would not believe and on the way out they always say something like "i need to get my life back" and "you are nuts, i am not working 12 hours a day!!"......... not for everyone.
     
  14. taylor3297

    taylor3297 DIS Veteran

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    I am lucky enough to help a friend of mine who is a travel agent for MEI-Mouse Fan travel. It is a very busy job, lots of things to keep up with, and works all hours of the day.

    One time I received a pin code that could be applied to to my already booked trip. Well, my friend was on a trip at the Bahamas at the time. I sent her email stating I had the pin code, and she called Disney while on vacation in order to apply the pin code for me. Not too many people will do that.

    Right now I am helping her file, complete files, write thank cards, make sure documents are correct etc. All of the mundane jobs that take time to do.

    As others stated you get paid a commission and you won't be seeing the commission until after the party travels.

    If this is something you really want to do, then go for it. Just go into it with your eyes open.
     
  15. StitchesGr8Fan

    StitchesGr8Fan DIS Veteran

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    Thank you all for the information. I know it isn't an easy job, and I'm fine with not seeing the financial benefits for a while. I guess I'm just looking for a way to make some extra money to pay for some nice-to-haves and I'm trying to figure out a way that I can do that from home and use my Disney knowledge and super organizing skills.

    I think I am going to have to try to find something else though. While I'm great at selling once someone approaches me, I'm to shy to go out and cold call/drum up leads.

    Kudos to you great travel agents out there!
     
  16. Spaceace5150

    Spaceace5150 Mouseketeer

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    Was there a post deleted from this thread? I just came back to read it and it seems there was a post about host agencies and the commissions involved.

    Just wondering!
     
  17. anonymousegirl

    anonymousegirl DIS Veteran

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    I would think that it would be hard to be a part-time travel agent. This job is 24/7 when you have clients traveling. Of course, being an independant contractor means you can pick and choose your clients and when you work, but once you have the clients, you need to service them on their time frame (or Disney's) rather than yours.

    I may go home at 5:30 but I am not "off duty". I need to check my email regularly and be prepared to handle whatever comes up--be it a quick question, or an airline snafu.

    We have an agent here that works from home from 6am to 10am, then comes into the office, then leaves at 530pm and is still available to her corporate clients until 11pm or so. Of course, she charges a pretty penny for this kind of service.

    I think you are smart to do some research on this. Talk with some local agencies and maybe see if they need a temp to help around the office so you can get a first hand look at what is actually involved. You could even see about a non-paid internship perhaps. People rarely say no to free help!
    Good luck!
     
  18. mjtm610

    mjtm610 Mouseketeer

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    Just a word of caution. My daughter was approached by a recognized Disney Travel company (not dreams) Her husband is in the military and therefore they have contact with many young families with military discounts etc.
    My daughter was very interested!
    She had to put out a tidy sum of cash to get her "Mickey credintials" (my term not theirs)
    Made and paid for her own cards, etc....new computer because you can't use MAC.....you get the picture.
    And guess what the outcome was......all the "promises" were bogus, the little cash she made didn't come close to offsetting her expenses.....and to top it off the Major Firm has started emailing her clients.......and suggesting someone else.......
    Just be careful
     
  19. Leigha

    Leigha DIS Veteran

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    If you're with a reputable company, wouldn't they get the clients for you? The other reasons might stop you but I'm not sure that one should but I don't know.
     
  20. Jazcat

    Jazcat Mouseketeer

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    No one is out there getting clients for you, especially if you are an independent contractor. The whole point of the job is bringing in new clients and generating sales. Sure, the really big agencies with long advertising arms generate sales leads that get distributed to agents. However, that is not where most of your business would come from.
     
  21. pigletforever

    pigletforever DIS Veteran

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    I just got a position as a Disney authorized Travel agent. It was not easy but I know the end result will be easy. I start the Disney school next week. I work for a travel company on the east coast. they do not supply leads - most don't. A lot is word of mouth by friends. but ANY decent company will also offer you the chance to not only book Disney but other travel as well. I looked at lots of companies and many wanted fees upfront for things that you should not be charged for. one company wanted 350.00 to hook me up with the disney online class but if they are authorized disney planners it is free to them from what I was told. Another one insisted I have my house rewired to accommodate an extra fax, phone line, and computer for me to use exclusively.

    It is a matter of looking and finding a good fit. If you want more info let me know.

    Cathy
     

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