Starting a travel agency can be a lucrative business venture, but it’s important to understand the job requirements before you commit. To become a travel agent, you’ll have to take a number of steps, including obtaining a license, getting certified, and joining a host agency. You may also want to sign up for a training program. The process can take some time, so it’s important to get started as soon as possible.
Get a Travel Agency License
To work as an independent travel agent or open a travel agency, you need to be licensed by your state’s Department of Consumer Affairs. The requirements vary from state to state, and may include getting bonded. To obtain your license, you’ll typically have to submit an application and pay a fee. Your license will have to be renewed every two years.
Consider Travel Agent Education Programs
While there are no formal educational requirements to become a travel agent, completing a travel and tourism degree program can be helpful. These programs are offered by community colleges and will take around two years to complete.
To get certified, you need a high school diploma or equivalent. Then, you’ll have to enroll in a training program and pass an exam. You’ll have to renew your certification every two years.
Travel Association Certification
There are many different travel associations that certify travel agents. The most popular one is the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA). To become certified through ASTA, you must complete their training program and pass an exam. There is a fee for the training program and the exam. You’ll also have to pay a fee to renew your certification.
Travel Institute Certification
To become certified through the Travel Institute, you have to complete their travel training program and pass an exam. There’s a fee for the training program and the exam.
How Long Will It Take to Get Certified?
The length of time it will take to get certified depends on the travel association you choose and the amount of time you dedicate to your studies. Generally, it takes around two years to complete the process.
Join a Travel Consortium
A travel consortium is a group of travel agencies that have pooled their resources in order to offer discounts and commissions to travel agents. The most popular travel consortium is the Ensemble Travel Group. There is a membership fee to join Ensemble.
Find an Experienced Host Travel Agency
A host travel agency offers training, support, and resources to travel agents. It’s important to find a reputable host agency that’s been in business for many years. You should choose a host agency that offers a good training program, access to travel booking systems, and other resources.
Get Travel Insurance
As a travel agent, you’ll need to have travel insurance to protect yourself and your clients. Travel insurance covers you in case of an emergency while you are traveling. It also protects your clients if they need to cancel their travel plans.
Obtain Necessary Travel Industry Business Licenses and Permits
Before you can launch your travel agency, you will need to obtain all the necessary business permits. This can be done through the Small Business Administration or your state’s Department of Consumer Affairs.
Complete the Travel Agent Training Program Offered by Your Host Agency
Once you have found a reputable host travel agency, you will need to complete their travel agent training program. This usually takes about four weeks to complete.
Open a Business Bank Account and a Merchant Services Account
In order to accept payments from your clients, you will need to set up a business bank account and a merchant services account.
Business Bank Account
A business bank account is a separate account from your personal bank account that you’ll use to manage the finances of your travel agency. You will need to deposit all of the money you earn from your travel agency into this account.
Merchant Services Account
A merchant services account allows you to securely accept credit card payments from your clients. This is essential if you want to be able to accept payments online or over the phone.
Set Up a Business Website
In order to market your travel agency, you will need to set up a website for your business. Your website should include information about your travel agency, the travel services and products you offer, and your contact information. You might also want to add a blog to improve your search ranking and build your brand.
Start Marketing Your Travel Agency Business
Once you have everything set up, you can start marketing your travel agency business. You can advertise in travel magazines, on travel websites, or on social media. You can also attend travel trade shows and take travel agent Fam trips, trips to familiarize yourself with different travel destinations and opportunities.
Becoming a travel agent can be a rewarding career but you should be aware of the requirements you’ll have to fulfill before you can launch your business. These include getting licensed, joining a travel consortium, and obtaining travel insurance. You will also need to complete a travel agent training program and set up a business website. Once everything’s in place, you can start marketing your travel agency business.