How to become a home-based travel agent
Working from home is becoming more popular in the Internet age. One business that can be run from a home office is a travel agency. Only relatively simple pieces of equipment such as a computer and a telephone are needed. While travel agents are no longer licensed, many states do require travel agents to be registered and some also require them to pay bonds or satisfy other conditions. Even in states that do not require registration, airlines, hotels and other vendors may refuse to do business with unregistered agents.
- Make a commitment to becoming an agent. Register as a travel agent with a travel authority. This can be done by contacting The Travel Institute, ASTA, ARC and CLIA, all of whom offer professional travel designations.
- Set up an office at home. This should be a quiet area where you can do your research for trips, make phone calls and meet with clients.
- Register through a host agency. Host agencies are not necessary but can help you find clients, charities and other groups. They also give you a forum to book your airline and hotel tickets for relatively low, flat fees. Registering for an agency relieves much of the pressure on individual agents by offering them support.
- Practice by booking trips for your friends and family. Treat these individuals as real customers, thereby working on your customer service skills. If a good job is done, ask them to refer you to their friends.
- Market yourself. The best marketing can be done in your local community through posters, flyers and word of mouth. Hang signs are your local gym and supermarket. Tell your friends about your new business as well as make business cards to distribute.