MINI-COURSE EMAIL #1 Subject: Home-Based Travel Agent Course, Pt 1
Dear [[firstname]]! I just got your email request for our FREE six-part minicourse on becoming a home-based travel agent. If you did NOT request this, someone else signed you up for the course. You can CANCEL the course right now by clicking on the link at the end of this email. If you DID request the course, Part 1 follows. Enjoy! All the best, Kelly Monaghan The Home-Based Travel Agent Resource Center http://www.HomeTravelAgency.com ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Becoming a Home-Based Travel Agent, Part 1: The "Traditional" Travel Agency Copyright (c) Kelly Monaghan, http://www.HomeTravelAgency.com The twentieth century saw the rise of the travel agent. Middlemen (which is what travel agents are, in effect) became necessary for a number of reasons. Travel is a very complex product -- a whole series of products, in effect. In the early days, at least, the companies that provided the products were far more adept at providing than at selling. Their customers were also very widely distributed geographically. These and other factors created an opportunity for entrepreneurs who agreed to represent the products of many different travel suppliers to a local market in exchange for a commission on the sale. That commission was traditionally ten percent, although as in all selling situations top producers were rewarded with higher commissions, called "overrides" in the travel business. The system of distributing travel products through a network of travel agencies took hold and travel agencies themselves came to look very much alike, sharing a great many common features. They were storefront, retail businesses, located in
commercial districts of town, open during normal retail business hours. In short, they were very much like the clothing shops, boutiques, grocery stores, bookstores, and other retailers with whom they shared the block. This picture is what I call the "traditional" travel agency. The traditional travel agency looks the way it does for many reasons, but several concern us here. Mostly they have to do with the airlines. Airline tickets are written (or printed, now) on blank paper called "ticket stock." In its blank form this paper is like a blank, but valid, check. Anyone who has it can write a ticket to anywhere for any value. Hence the term, "write your own ticket." Ticket stock is extremely valuable and since it is entrusted to travel agencies the airlines had a very valid reason to ensure that their ticket stock was safe. So they developed a set of rules that would tend to ensure that they could trust the travel agents who were selling their tickets. These rules included things like: A business location in a commercial district. In other words, the travel agency had to look and act like a "store." A system of bonding, to assure the airline that the travel agency owner was solvent and respectable and, therefore, not likely to be tempted to do anything fishy with the airline's precious ticket stock. Another factor determining the look and feel of the traditional travel agency is the computer. Travel agencies were one of the first businesses to be extensively computerized. The complex and expensive computerized reservations systems (CRS) that made ticketing easy encouraged even more centralization and "professionalism" in the travel agent industry. In other words, if you wanted to be a travel agent you had to open a storefront agency with its high overhead and complex computer systems. This took a lot of money. Of course, you could also get trained to operate a CRS and go to work in a storefront agency, and many agency owners started out just this way. This pattern, in turn, created another distinguishing characteristic of the traditional travel agency: it was a place to which would-be travelers came to talk to agents sitting at a desk operating a CRS. Most travel agents became
"order takers." Of course, there were always exceptions to this general rule. Many travel agencies employed "outside agents" to hustle up business. These outside agents were, in effect, free ranging inside agents who returned to the agency and their CRSs to generate the airline tickets and other bookings they had made outside. Some agencies used "bird dogs" as they are called, people who sent customers into the agency location where inside agents would cater to their needs. Bird dogs performed a valuable service and were compensated with a small percentage of any commissions that resulted from their referrals. This was very much akin to the "finder's fees" paid in other industries. Nonetheless, these were exceptions that proved the rule: most travel agents were reactive order takers tied to their desks and the CRSs that sat on them. All this began to change in the 90s thanks to a number of interrelated trends, which we will discuss in the next lesson. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ This mini-course in becoming a home-based travel agent is brought to you by the Home-Based Travel Agent Resource Center and The Intrepid Traveler, publisher of a comprehensive home study course for home-based travel agents. For more information, visit: http://www.HomeTravelAgency.com/homestudy.html EMAIL #2 Subject: [[firstname]], Your Home-Based Travel Agent Course, Pt 2
Hello again, [[firstname]]! Welcome to Lesson Two of your home-based travel agent course. If you did NOT request this course, some sneaky person did. You can CANCEL the course right now by clicking on the link at the end of this email. All the best, Kelly Monaghan The Home-Based Travel Agent Resource Center http://www.HomeTravelAgency.com ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Becoming a Home-Based Travel Agent, Part 2: The Home-Based Travel Agent revolution Begins Copyright (c) Kelly Monaghan, http://www.HomeTravelAgency.com The "traditional" travel agency was a place where people came to place orders. That began to change in the 90s due to a number of related trends: SMART MARKETING Some clever fellow decided he could make money marketing the "romance" and "mystique" of being a travel agent, or more specifically the travel benefits that (in theory) came with the mere fact of identifying yourself as a travel agent. This notion was copied and very quickly there were any number of travel agencies working a high-powered and sophisticated twist on the old bird-dog system. "Be one of our outside independent agents," the pitch went, "and refer business to our inside agents. In return, we'll give you a small commission and, best of all, a photo ID card that proves you're a travel agent and that you can use to get all sorts of discounts and other goodies." This marketing approach has met with varying degrees of success on its own terms. What is less in doubt is the fact that it has been extremely controversial within the travel agent community and vigorous efforts have been made to put an end to it, thus far to no avail. Although this may change in the future, the current situation appears to be that, while what these travel agencies are doing (and they have to be bonded, accredited travel agencies to do this!) may anger other travel agents, it is not illegal. These agencies call themselves referral agencies; their critics call them card mills. Whatever terminology you prefer, they seem to here to stay. THE RISE OF THE PERSONAL COMPUTER Employees of travel agencies were for a long while the most computer-savvy people to be found outside academia or large corporations. When personal computers started popping up everywhere, just about anyone could do what travel agents did if they had the right software. IMPROVED COMMUNICATIONS
It's hard to imagine now how recent and revolutionary the introduction of the fax machine was. In retrospect, it had a profound effect on the travel distribution system with its ability to transmit bookings quickly and accurately. Now, the Internet is replacing the fax as a means to quickly send and receive data. COMMISSION CAPS AND CUTS Then the airlines started cutting travel agents' commission rates and limiting the amount of commissions they paid at those rates. Airline tickets had never been something that travel agents got rich on, but they were steady and those first and business class tickets paid very healthy commissions. Now the airlines were dropping agents' pay below their costs. In other words, many agents were actually losing money on every airline ticket they wrote. Today, most airlines pay zero commissions on base fares. However, many agencies do receive some commission income based on volume. A lot of agents started asking themselves some hard-hitting questions. "Why am I carrying all this expensive overhead just to please the airlines when the airlines are driving me out of business?" A lot of smaller agencies closed, some to go out of business forever but many to reopen as home-based agencies, freed from the heavy financial burdens of a storefront agency and also free to spurn the airlines that had spurned them, free to concentrate on selling higherpriced, higher-margin products. Many agents who took this route saw a dramatic increase in their take-home pay. As we enter a new millennium, these intertwining forces have combined to create a true revolution in how travel products are distributed. If the twentieth century was the century of the travel agent, the twenty-first will be the century of the home-based travel agent. Home-based travel agencies are opening up at an ever-increasing rate, while the number of storefront agencies has been declining every year. The homebased agent can be a seasoned storefront veteran or a newcomer, but both are in the same boat. They are entering a brave new world of travel marketing that is very different from the traditional storefront model. To succeed in this new environment requires new strategies and new skills. In our next lesson, we will take a closer look at this "new" home-based travel agent.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ This mini-course in becoming a home-based travel agent is brought to you by the Home-Based Travel Agent Resource Center and The Intrepid Traveler, publisher of a comprehensive home study course for home-based travel agents. For more information, visit: http://www.HomeTravelAgency.com/homestudy.html EMAIL #3 Subject: [[firstname]], Your Home-Based Travel Agent Course, Pt 3
Hi, [[firstname]]! Here's Lesson Three of your home-based travel agent course. If you did NOT request this course, some sneaky person did. You can CANCEL the course right now by clicking on the link at the end of this email. All the best, Kelly Monaghan The Home-Based Travel Agent Resource Center http://www.HomeTravelAgency.com ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Becoming a Home-Based Travel Agent, Part 3: What Is A Home-Based Travel Agent? Copyright (c) Kelly Monaghan, http://www.HomeTravelAgency.com Broadly speaking, a home-based travel agent is anyone engaged in the marketing and selling of travel products from a home office. That can cover a wide variety of different types of home-based travel agents. However, in the travel industry and more specifically in the travel distribution industry, the term "home-based travel agent" is most often used to refer to someone who . . . 1) works out of a home office as an outside sales representative for a bonded, accredited ARC/IATAN travel agency, usually referred to as the "host agency," 2) works as a reseller of products of various travel
suppliers, without involving a host agency, or 3) does a bit of both. Most home-based agents fall into this third category. The home-based travel agent finds, qualifies, and books the customer; the host agency prints the tickets (if any) and serves as the conduit between the home-based agent and the travel supplier whose product the home-based agent is selling. The home-based travel agent and the host agency share the commissions paid by travel suppliers according to a negotiated percentage split that reflects (or should reflect) the amount of work and effort expended by each party in making the booking happen. By definition (as well as by contract), the home-based travel agent is an independent contractor, which means that he or she has a great degree of freedom as far as determining how and with whom to do business. That means that some home-based travel agents function simply as referral agents, funneling business to a travel agency but not handling any of the booking details themselves. Some home-based travel agents bypass host agencies altogether. One way to do this is to become a "cruise-only" agency. Another way to do this is to specialize in condominium vacations, a niche that has been underserved by traditional travel agencies and which is more than happy to deal directly with home-based travel agents. Other home-based travel agents simply market a limited number of travel products and form direct relationships with individual travel suppliers whose products they represent. Some home-based travel agents specialize in forms of travel that have developed distribution channels outside the traditional storefront travel agency distribution channel. For example, some people are very content to market educational tours that not only offer extremely attractive pricing but allow the tour organizer (the home-based travel agent) to travel free and earn a stipend (a sort of commission) as well. Organizers of student travel, many of whom are full-time students, are another example of this approach. Home-based travel agents, of whatever description or level of sophistication, can work either full-time or part-time or only occasionally. That's because the very nature of being an
independent contractor is that no one can tell you when to work, how to work, or how hard to work. There are home-based travel agents who earn pin money, home-based travel agents who earn a tidy part-time income, home-based travel agents who bring down a substantial middle-class income, and homebased travel agents who earn six-figure incomes. As you can see, there are so many variations and combinations that it is difficult to define the "typical" home-based travel agent. This means that virtually anyone can be a homebased travel agent, on their own terms and at their own pace, creating the type of home-based travel marketing business that makes sense for them. But is being a home-based travel agent for you? We'll consider that question in the next lesson. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ This mini-course on becoming a home-based travel agent is brought to you by the Home-Based Travel Agent Resource Center and The Intrepid Traveler, publisher of a comprehensive home study course for home-based travel agents. For more information, visit: http://www.HomeTravelAgency.com/homestudy.html EMAIL #4 Subject: [[firstname]], Your Home-Based Travel Agent Course, Pt 4 Hello, [[firstname]]! Here's Lesson Four of your home-based travel agent course. Once again, if you did NOT request this course, you can CANCEL the course right now by clicking on the link at the end of this email. All the best, Kelly Monaghan The Home-Based Travel Agent Resource Center http://www.HomeTravelAgency.com ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Becoming a Home-Based Travel Agent, Part 4: Is Being a Home-Based Travel Agent For You?
Copyright (c) Kelly Monaghan, http://www.HomeTravelAgency.com Who should get into the travel agent game? Now that I've been in it myself for a while and know how easy it is to get started, to make sales, to make bookings, and to make money, my answer is simple and straightforward: Everyone! After all, even if all you want to do is save money on your own travel for business and pleasure, becoming a home-based travel agent is one of the best way to do just that. If you're eager to start a fun, moneymaking home business, you'll find that becoming a home-based travel agent can be done quickly and cheaply. In fact, most people who take my home study course are so excited by the possibilities that they start their travel agent career rolling even before they've finished the course! It's that easy to get started. In the meantime, however, consider these good solid reasons for joining the thousands of people who are having fun and making money in the home-based travel agent lifestyle: Are you a traveler? If you love travel yourself, you have already mastered a major challenge for anyone in sales -- you know your product. It is now a relatively simple matter to translate the knowledge and enthusiasm you already possess into powerful sales presentations that will bring you your first bookings and steady repeat business. In addition, you'll start saving money on your own travel instantly. Are you looking for a low-investment part-time business? Look no further. As I've already said, and explain in detail in my home study course, you can become a part-time home-based travel agent today. And your initial investment can be absolutely zero (okay, maybe you'll use a stamp or two and make a few phone calls). I made my first several bookings with no business card, no stationery, no nothing! Do you need a flexible schedule? Here's a business that allows you to set your own hours like few others. You can chat with folks at work or call them at home at night. Work full-time one week and scale back the next. Whatever schedule works best for you, you can design a travel business to accommodate it. Are you a field are have more time that teacher? Many opportunities in the part-time travel aimed specifically at teachers. Moreover, teachers free time than many other professionals -- free can be both a boon and a curse. As a part-time
travel agent you can use your free time to sell travel and take advantage of it too! Do you have a built-in audience? Teachers do. They can reach their students and their students' parents. But other professions also offer their practitioners access to large groups of people -- ministers, accountants, salespeople, beauticians, the list goes on. All of these people come in contact with many people in the course of their work, people who are often prime prospects for any travel business. Do you belong to a club or organization? Clubs and other affinity groups represent superb opportunities to make major sales. If you get ten people in your club to go on a cruise with their spouses, that's a $30,000 to $40,000 sale. Are you a small businessperson? If so, why not make travel an add-on to your existing product line? Everyone who comes into your shop can learn about the travel opportunities you have to offer. If you send catalogs or brochures to your customers on a regular basis you have already paid for the postage to send them a flyer about a great bargain on an upcoming tour or cruise. Or why not offer discounted travel to your employees as an extra benefit? You'll forego some or all of the commission, but the goodwill you generate will be hard to beat. Do you travel on business? Many people who travel on business pay their own way and then get reimbursed by their employer or client. As a travel agent, you can earn a commission on every bit of that travel. If you own your own business and spend a considerable amount of money on travel, then the prospect of saving 5% to 7% on your travel expenditures should make your bottom line sit up and take notice. Are you in sales? If you are, you've probably already thought of a dozen ways you can prosper in this sideline. Your existing sales skills will fit perfectly in a home-based travel business and you no doubt already have a large and ever-growing pool of prospects. Are you retired? Perfect. Not only do you now have the time to devote to learning about travel, but you are an integral part of the largest and fastest growing market for leisure travel. You can make a handsome income, and enjoy some wonderful fringe benefits, just by specializing in the travel interests and needs of folks just like you.
Are you home with the kids? Here's a way to make a bit of extra money at the same time you're burping and diapering. Much of your business with customers can be conducted on the phone; your friends probably won't mind if you're bouncing junior on your knee while you talk to them. You can use baby's nap time to get on the phone and call the travel suppliers. It's a perfect scenario for the homemaker or househusband. Are you committed to a full-time career? If you are not sure, you can test the waters for a minimal investment. If you find you love the travel business as much as you thought, great! You'll be ideally situated to maximize your income potential. If, on the other hand, you decide the travel business is not for you (it's not for everyone), you have the option of continuing on a part-time basis or getting out altogether without having spent a small fortune discovering you've made a wrong career turn. Are you sure you want to work in an agency? Many people thrive in an agency atmosphere, but many become bored and disillusioned with the rote work that taking orders and working the CRS often involves. The strategies outlined in my home study course will show you how easy it is to progress to the status of an agency owner -- without the huge upfront investment and high overhead. In the process you will put yourself in a position to earn many times what you would make as an entry-level inside employee. So, you see, just about everyone has a good reason to become a home-based travel agent, but there are still some reasons to think twice before you jump in with both feet, as we will see in the next lesson. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ This mini-course on becoming a home-based travel agent is brought to you by the Home-Based Travel Agent Resource Center and The Intrepid Traveler, publisher of a comprehensive home study course for home-based travel agents. For more information, visit: http://www.HomeTravelAgency.com/homestudy.html EMAIL #5 Subject: [[firstname]], Your Home-Based Travel Agent Course, Pt 5
Hi there, [[firstname]]! Glad you're still with us! Here's Lesson Five of your homebased travel agent course. You can always CANCEL the course by clicking on the link at the end of this email. All the best, Kelly Monaghan The Home-Based Travel Agent Resource Center http://www.HomeTravelAgency.com ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Becoming a Home-Based Travel Agent, Part 5: Five Good Reasons NOT To Become A Home-Based Travel Agent Copyright (c) Kelly Monaghan, http://www.HomeTravelAgency.com If this is all sounding too good to be true, I know exactly how you feel. I felt the same way. In fact, I still feel that way. Part of me keeps wondering when I'll find "the catch." So far there doesn't seem to be one. But if what you've read on this site has pumped you up too much so far, perhaps it's time to bring you down to earth a bit. If there is a catch to the new travel game, it's letting your goals outstrip your gumption. Another way of saying that is you've got to determine, first, what you want out of your travel business and, second, if you have what it takes in terms of skills, time, commitment, and whatever to get it. So the first step is top get clear on your goals. As I mentioned in Lesson Three, there are any number of ways to go: "There are home-based travel agents who earn pin money, home-based travel agents who earn a tidy part-time income, home-based travel agents who bring down a substantial middle-class income, and home-based travel agents who earn six-figure incomes." My advice is to restrain yourself from being overambitious or over-optimistic. If you set realistic, reachable goals , you can always "up the ante" later and be joyful in doing so. On the other hand, if you have unrealistic goals, it can be very disheartening to have to scale them back. The next to reach thinking purchase that may step is to determine whether you have what it takes your goals, whatever they may be. To help guide your as you ponder whether you want o proceed and perhaps my home-study course, let me share some thoughts help you put all this in perspective:
**This is no get-rich-quick scheme. Those who make large sums of money selling travel work very hard and earn every penny. How much money a person makes and how hard they have to work to make it, varies from person to person. Some people have more time to devote to their travel business than others. Some have more drive and determination than others. Some folks are natural salespeople; others will have to work harder to hone their skills. It may sound like a cliché, but how much money you make is up to you. I certainly can't predict how much you'll make, but I can guarantee you that if you think you can make a small fortune working just a half hour a day while watching television, you'll be disappointed. **It's a business. The statistics tell us that the majority of new businesses fail in a year or two. There's no reason to expect that your travel business won't meet the same fate. The saving grace is that, if you follow my strategies, you will not lose more money than you can afford in a failed venture. Also, if you decide being independent is not for you, you should have enough of a track record to make you an attractive employee for a local agency. It's quite possible to use my strategies knowing you'll earn just a few hundred dollars a year. If that's fine for you, then everything's okay. Of course, you can also seek to make selling travel a moneymaker. And that's fine, too. **It's a service business. Whatever else you are selling, you are selling customer satisfaction. If you have never worked in a setting in which you had to "please the public," you may be surprised at how much people will expect from you and how readily they'll blame you for things over which you have no control. Believe me, if the toilet in the luxury hotel in Nairobi backs up and overflows, it's your fault! **Things go wrong. Most people who go into business have at least some bad experiences. I certainly can't guarantee that you won't have some of your own. You may just accept problems as a natural part of life. I think that's a healthy attitude. On the other hand, you may decide that the kinds of problems that tend to come up in this business aren't worth whatever you're getting
out of it. So be it. For those who are truly serious, my home study course discusses in depth some of the things that can go amiss and some ways you can protect yourself. **It involves selling. No matter how glamorous travel may be, to make real money at it you have to sell. That means looking for new customers, finding out what their travel needs are, presenting them with attractive options, answering their questions, dealing with their objections, and, above all, asking them to part with their hard-earned money. I happen to have a background in sales and marketing. In fact, over the years I have trained hundreds of salespeople in a variety of industries. I know from experience that selling is a skill and that like any skill it can be learned. I also know from experience that not everyone is cut out for selling. It's not so much that they can't, it's just that, for whatever reason, they find out they don't enjoy it that much. You may be one of those people. Above all, here are no guarantees. I can show you every trick in the book (and I do!), but ultimately the only one who can guarantee your success is you. Now that we've eliminated the faint of heart, we're ready for the last lesson in which we'll discuss the secrets of successful home-based travel agents. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ This mini-course on becoming a home-based travel agent is brought to you by the Home-Based Travel Agent Resource Center and The Intrepid Traveler, publisher of a comprehensive home study course for home-based travel agents. For more information, visit: http://www.HomeTravelAgency.com/homestudy.html EMAIL #6 Subject: [[firstname]], Your Home-Based Travel Agent Course, Pt 6 Hi there, [[firstname]]! Whew! You made it! Here's Lesson Six, the final installment of your home-based travel agent course.
All the best, Kelly Monaghan The Home-Based Travel Agent Resource Center http://www.HomeTravelAgency.com ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Becoming a Home-Based Travel Agent, Part 6: Secrets of Successful Home-Based Travel Agents Copyright (c) Kelly Monaghan, http://www.HomeTravelAgency.com Everyone is different and each of us travels his or her own road to success, but over the years (and in a thoroughly unscientific way) I have noticed a number of qualities that make for success in the home-based travel agency business. Here then are some observations about just a few qualities that successful agents bring to the table when they start out. THEY DO THEIR HOMEWORK If you are not already a home-based agent, the very fact that you are reading this mini-course suggests that you like to arm yourself with all the information available before making a decision. I regularly hear from agents who signed up with the first agency that caught their eye. Now they regret it and wonder if I can point them in the right direction. I explain to them (hopefully with a certain amount of patience) that I cannot make decisions for them. The host agency that's right for me might be wrong for them. And vice versa. You see, part of doing your homework is doing it yourself, not having someone else do it for you. The thing many beginners (especially those with no real experience of being in business for themselves) fail to understand is that the sellers of business opportunities are just that - sellers. Just as the car dealer won't volunteer that the car you have your eye on sits at the bottom of the "Consumer Reports" safety rankings, the ads for a host agency offer won't volunteer the downsides of their offer or reveal that a better deal is being offered by someone else. Please understand, I am not saying these people are being dishonest. They are simply putting the best face on what they
have to offer. That's simply what sellers do. When you start selling travel, you'll do it too. I'm sure that if you are considering starting a home travel agency you have visited at least several sites offering such business opportunities and I'm also sure you understand what I'm talking about. My approach is fundamentally different. I do not sell a business opportunity. The value the Home-Based Travel Agent Resource Center and my home study course bring to the market is to provide unfiltered and unbiased information about how the business REALLY works and the MANY, MANY different avenues open to you. For example, very few host agencies go out of their way to point out that in many cases you do not have to share commissions with them. I am free to tell you that and explain when it's appropriate to deal directly with suppliers and how to go about doing it. And whatever the topic I try to be evenhanded in explaining the pros AND the cons of pursuing any particular strategy. If you do your homework properly, you will be in a far better position to make informed decisions about how to set up and grow your business. Or you can always do what I did: learn by trial and error. Take it from me, losing a few thousand dollars by making a "dumb beginner's" mistake is a powerful incentive to do it right next time! This principle applies not just in the start-up phase of your business, but throughout your business career. If you want to sell cruises, learn the cruise business inside out. If you want to sell the Caribbean, visit the islands and the resorts, poke your nose into all the hotels, go to the seminars offered by the tourist authorities and the suppliers. With this kind of in depth analysis, you can be sure of offering the best product mix for both your market and your bottom line. DO YOUR HOMEWORK! THEY GO INTO BUSINESS WITH THEIR EYES OPEN If you do your homework, you will start your home travel agency business with few illusions. Another problem beginners have is that they are dazzled by all the pretty pictures in the host agency ads. "Be a travel agent," they seem to say and you'll spend your life strolling on a white sand beach with your significant other." Well, maybe. Sometimes. I go out of my way to let people in on the dirty little secret of being a home-based travel agent. It's a business. It's a job. It means actually doing some (brace yourself) WORK!
If you haven't read Lesson Five, "Five Good Reasons NOT To Be A Home Based Travel Agent," do yourself a favor and read it now: Yes those great deals and those special moments exist. I have cruised free to exotic ports and I have stayed in luxury hotels for motel prices. I also show people how to do the same sort of thing, whether it's a $299 cruise as part of their continuing education or a bona-fide fam trip. But to paraphrase the old TV ad, "Home-based travel agents get their perks the old-fashioned way: They EARN them!" THEY PLAN THEIR BUSINESS BEFORE IT PLANS THEM You are what you eat, they say. Well you are also what you sell. If you wind up selling a lot of cheap airfare, that's what you'll get a reputation for doing whether you like it or not. I have noticed that successful home travel agents go into the business with a clear idea of what they want their business to look like. This mostly has to do with specialization but other factors are involved as well. The home-based agent who says, "I offer high-end diving expeditions to the Caribbean" is more likely to make a go of it than the agent who says "I sell travel; where do you want to go?" As I explain in the home study course, being a home-based travel agent isn't like being a storefront agent in a different location. (It can be but it doesn't have to be and, in my view, it shouldn't be.) Once the fundamental differences between the two sink in, a whole range of possibilities open up. This part of the start-up process is actually a lot of fun because it starts with big, no-limits dreaming followed by a period of rational analysis. If you are just starting out, take the time to envision your dream business. You can pull some of the elements out of the clear blue sky, but be sure to balance your dreaming with your own experience. Ask yourself questions like: Why do I love travel? What first got me excited about traveling? What's my favorite destination? Where have I always dreamed of going? What are my favorite activities
(walking, museums, tennis, golf, etc.)? This is just a start; I offer many more suggestions in the course. The point is that, if you have been drawn to this business out of a love for travel, your ideal travel business probably already exists inside you, just waiting to be discovered, developed, and defined. The young mother who has experienced the frustrations of getting good advice for family vacations will have a better chance of succeeding as a specialist in family travel than in selling very expensive opera tours to Italy. That's just one example. What's YOUR example? Obviously, there are other aspects to planning a business. Just because I have only discussed one of them here doesn't mean you shouldn't think through all aspects of your travelbusiness-to-be. The more and the better you think it through, the better your odds of making a go of it. helping you do that is just part of what my home study course is all about. THEY TAKE ACTION Someone calls it "the paralysis of analysis," the danger that you'll spend so much time thinking and planning that you'll never actually DO anything. At some point (and as screamingly obvious as it sounds), you have to do something to enjoy success. If you are already up and running as an agent, that could mean making the leap of faith to promote that pricey African safari without being 100% sure you can pull it off. To be successful you can't be afraid of failure. You must do your homework (see above) and do everything you can to insure success, but ultimately every promotion carries some risk of failure. Chances are that even if you don't fill up all the slots, you'll fill some. And suppliers know that not every promotion succeeds. If they see you are actively doing the right things, they will be supportive and willing to work with you again. If you are just starting out, that leap of faith could be ordering the home study course and arming yourself with information that could take you years to amass otherwise. If you'd like to do that, visit http://www/hometravelagency.com/homestudy.html But, please, please, please reread Lesson Five ("Five Good
Reasons NOT To Be A Home Based Travel Agent") first. I have the best money-back guarantee in the business, far better than anything offered by business opportunities that cost many hundreds of dollars more than my course. But nothing saddens me more than people who return the materials saying, "I didn't realize how much work was involved." These are people who clearly would like to work at home, make some money, and derive some personal satisfaction, but with that kind of attitude, the cards are stacked against them no matter what they try. There is only one entity in the universe that can make something from nothing. It ain't me. And it ain't you. I hope you have enjoyed this mini-course in becoming a homebased travel agent and I look forward to having you as one of my thousands of satisfied students. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ This mini-course on becoming a home-based travel agent is brought to you by the Home-Based Travel Agent Resource Center and The Intrepid Traveler, publisher of a comprehensive home study course for home-based travel agents. For more information, visit: http://www.HomeTravelAgency.com/homestudy.html