What Becoming an Independent Travel Agent is All About. The largest portion of your income will derive from booking with suppliers. While the importance of a fair commission should not be downplayed, it is vital to factor in other characteristics of your potential host agency that are just as important. As an independent travel agent, it is up to you to understand what type of vacation packages you are offering so you can advise based on true experience. One of the common misconceptions about this career choice is that you will have no support. The perks of being your own boss are quick to entice, but before you start ordering your business cards, it’s important to understand the basics. Home-based agents (who typically have at least a decade of experience) are often eligible for some travel expense and home tax deductions, too. Fostering these relationships are what will secure your business. If you don’t know where to start, try offering up your travel agent skills to the people you are already connected with. Becoming an independent travel agent can be a profitable undertaking if you do your homework. The freedom of being your own boss may have drawn you to learn how to become an independent travel agent. You will have first-hand knowledge to pass down to each client so that together, you can plan the best experience possible. What about commissions? Becoming an independent travel agent can be a profitable undertaking if you do your homework. You can think of your role as an independent travel agent more like a consultant. More than anything, an independent travel agent is a salesperson. Is it a system the agent is already familiar with or is GDS training provided? The Big Reveal: Average Independent Travel Agent Income. Which global distribution system (GDS) does the host agency use? Does the agency belong to ASTA, NACTA, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), or International Air Transport Association (IATA)? Travel Quest Network offers training, technology resources, marketing, and flexible pricing plans that range from 70-100% commission in the agent’s pocket. In your quest to become an independent travel agent, finding the right host agency is like finding the North Star. Host agencies split commissions with agents, but some also charge monthly fees or other agent charges. On your part, it is also about listening and reading people to provide them with experiences they will love. So what are you waiting for? © 2020 Host Agency Reviews, LLC. But it is not the only perk of this profession. These companies have you covered! We’ll start with one of the most important questions: If you break down the job title word-for-word, you can easily get a sense of what your role as an independent travel agent will be. Relationships with your clients, suppliers, and most importantly your host agency, are all essential components of your success. Bruce Bennett / Getty Images News / Getty Images. Join GlobalTravel.com to become a travel agent and start saving up to 70% on all of your travel and entertainment, plus earn cash back! Independence does not mean that you are alone. Who keeps track of sales and commissions? The first step in becoming a successful independent travel agent is to attend travel school to learn about the travel and tourism industry. A successful agent needs to develop knowledge and experience about some aspect of travel. When first breaking into the travel selling business, the majority of new agents learn the ropes as a "hosted" agent of a host agency. One of the main hurdles is the investment of time and money you must make when starting out. Becoming an independent travel agent is a long-term endeavor, and if you are willing to put in the time, it can be your career for life. Some well known host agencies include Nexion Travel Group, Outside Agents, Oasis Travel Network, Uniglobe Travel Center, and Cruise Planners. In fact, 75 percent of independent travel agents specialize in cruises and earn an average of 14 percent commission from their sales. What is the agent/agency relationship like. Benefits of Becoming an Independent Travel Agent. It’s a challenge trying to sift through all the advice out there to find clear instructions on how to become an independent travel agent. Travel agents can narrow the scope of this definition by specializing in a niche, like honeymoons, luxury, family, adventure, European, or multigenerational vacations. You are the expert, and you must convey your expertise through confidence in what you are selling. Bonnie has been a travel industry professional for over 25 years, teaching classes and writing for other travel agents. Now that you know the truth about becoming an independent travel agent, it’s time to take the first step: finding the right host agency. It is something everyone craves in their career, but few are able to experience completely while working as an employee. (Host agencies are bonded, accredited agencies through which the home-based agent makes bookings, generally as an independent contractor or IC. One of the common misconceptions about this career choice is that you will have no support. “Independent” refers to being self-employed. Looking to travel with a small group? They help legitimize you as an agent, especially early on, and provide access to resources and their established network. Does the agency give agents referrals to potential clients? However, because travel is an intimate and expensive endeavor, your purpose will not be to get your clients to book as quickly as possible. Host agencies are a key partner to help you become a successful independent travel agent. That’s why we’ve filtered through the resources to provide you with the truth, challenges and all, so that you can take your next steps. Unlike many careers in the 21st century, you won't need to commit four years to getting a degree, either, because the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and the National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA) provide training resources online. When Travel Quest Network began hosting agents in 1998, they made sure that working closely with their agents to reach a common goal was the focus of their business. In 2019, full-time independent agents earned an average annual income of $59,976. It’s scary taking the first leap into the depth of self-employment without any clue on where to go from there. Independence does not mean that you are alone. That’s why when you’re starting out as an independent travel agent, your goals should align with the agency you choose. Don’t worry, there is no need to start counting all of the stamps in your passport.


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