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My understanding is that travel agents receive commissions on cruises in the 10-15% ballpark (and generous commissions on hotels, car rentals, group travel, etc. as well - though usually not flights). I've been doing an increasing amount of group-based adventure travel recently - not cheap, and the latest tour operator I'm looking at rarely runs promos and won't offer a discount for booking without an agent. I spoke to a travel agent who was willing to offer me a kickback from her commission, which got me to thinking: why don't I become a travel agent myself? My friends and family have expensive taste in travel, don't typically rely on the advice of an experienced travel agent, and would probably be more than happy to direct their reservations through me provided I could get them at least as good a price and pass some of the commission back to them. Seems easy enough to do in my spare time.

There seem to be two ways to get started with this: (1) form my own travel agency, or (2) try to affiliate with an existing travel agency. The upside of (1) is that the commissions would flow entirely to me/my business. The downsides are that I don't have experience forming a business - I'm sure it's a bit cumbersome - and that some states have licensing and insurance/bond requirements. The benefit of (2) would be not having the administrative burden of running a business and establishing links with all the cruise lines, etc., while the downside is obviously that someone else would be taking a (probably meaningful) cut of the commissions.

Has anyone become a travel agent "on the side" for this purpose? Any tips?

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Just want to thank TKRAD (and others here) for such good posts. Always humbling to realize how smart and experienced the... (more)

FW10001 (Mar. 02, 2013 @ 2:21a) |

I am my extended family's unofficial travel agent. I manage my family pool of points and miles and book discounted ticke... (more)

EugeneV (Mar. 04, 2013 @ 11:14p) |

"Becoming a Travel Agent for Fun & Profit"

certainly will not be fun/nor profitable

skh12 (Mar. 05, 2013 @ 4:56a) |

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

Send people your FW CashBack link for Expedia.

/thread


Bizatch said:   Send people your FW CashBack link for Expedia.

/thread


That's a very good solution for Carnival and the like, but many of the nicer operators don't list on Expedia as far as I know. Abercrombie & Kent (great for nice safaris), Ecoventura (great for Galapagos), SilverSea / Regent Seven Seas / Un Cruise (all great for Alaska) don't offer referral links as far as I'm aware but do give travel agents a meaningful cut. I know a lot of people who spend a lot of money on these types of trips (myself included).

edrucker said:   My understanding is that travel agents receive commissions on cruises in the 10-15% ballpark (and generous commissions on hotels, car rentals, group travel, etc. as well - though usually not flights). I've been doing an increasing amount of group-based adventure travel recently - not cheap, and the latest tour operator I'm looking at rarely runs promos and won't offer a discount for booking without an agent. I spoke to a travel agent who was willing to offer me a kickback from her commission, which got me to thinking: why don't I become a travel agent myself? My friends and family have expensive taste in travel, don't typically rely on the advice of an experienced travel agent, and would probably be more than happy to direct their reservations through me provided I could get them at least as good a price and pass some of the commission back to them. Seems easy enough to do in my spare time.

There seem to be two ways to get started with this: (1) form my own travel agency, or (2) try to affiliate with an existing travel agency. The upside of (1) is that the commissions would flow entirely to me/my business. The downsides are that I don't have experience forming a business - I'm sure it's a bit cumbersome - and that some states have licensing and insurance/bond requirements. The benefit of (2) would be not having the administrative burden of running a business and establishing links with all the cruise lines, etc., while the downside is obviously that someone else would be taking a (probably meaningful) cut of the commissions.

Has anyone become a travel agent "on the side" for this purpose? Any tips?


I tend to avoid businesses that are essentially already dead and just waiting for a bullet to be put in them.

As a hobby? Whatever floats your boat.

dshibb - if you enjoy cookie cutter Las Vegas and Caribbean cruise vacations forgo the travel agent. They make little to no commission on airfare, car rentals and hotel stays. Let me know when you book a 2 week trip of a lifetime safari to Africa on Expedia. A skilled travel agent who knows the ins and outs of a particular destination and the local operators are worth their weight in gold and will save your butt and wallet many times over. While the internet is great for run of the mill travel, travel agents still have their place in this world and will open your eyes to experiences you never knew existed. My mom has owned and operated a travel agency for 30 years and it has always been a labor of love but there is a reason people continue to come back for all their complex travel needs. I have the added benefit of hearing about people who troll for information only to book online because they think they can get it cheaper and call up in haste when something goes wrong and they don't know who to turn to. Fortunately my mom has a bigger heart than I do and helps out wherever possible. As with most things in life you get what you pay for and taking a chance on screwing up a trip over a couple of bucks is a penny wise and a pound foolish.

LynchMobHoo said:   dshibb - if you enjoy cookie cutter Las Vegas and Caribbean cruise vacations forgo the travel agent. They make little to no commission on airfare, car rentals and hotel stays. Let me know when you book a 2 week trip of a lifetime safari to Africa on Expedia. A skilled travel agent who knows the ins and outs of a particular destination and the local operators are worth their weight in gold and will save your butt and wallet many times over. While the internet is great for run of the mill travel, travel agents still have their place in this world and will open your eyes to experiences you never knew existed. My mom has owned and operated a travel agency for 30 years and it has always been a labor of love but there is a reason people continue to come back for all their complex travel needs. I have the added benefit of hearing about people who troll for information only to book online because they think they can get it cheaper and call up in haste when something goes wrong and they don't know who to turn to. Fortunately my mom has a bigger heart than I do and helps out wherever possible. As with most things in life you get what you pay for and taking a chance on screwing up a trip over a couple of bucks is a penny wise and a pound foolish.

You want to know what the problem with your answer is? It's not whether or not I'll benefit from having a travel agent if I ever go on a Safari, it's whether the travel agent will ever benefit from having a limited(and falling) number of people that would actually want or need that level of travel planning service.

There are plenty of businesses I could get into because I might be able to help a customer out, but many of them don't make business sense at all for the owner hence why they are dying. I'm not in the business of working my a$$ off for a low income per hour worked. And time sitting around waiting for someone to actually have a need for my service is time I could have spent doing something more financially rewarding.

In order for something to be a good business it needs to be *both* good for the customer and make business sense for you. Regardless of what you have to say about the former, travel agencies clearly fail in the latter.

My post wasn't really about whether or not traditional travel agents add value or whether the travel agency business is in decline (which I don't dispute)... though I suppose an interesting tangent?

edrucker said:   My post wasn't really about whether or not traditional travel agents add value or whether the travel agency business is in decline (which I don't dispute)... though I suppose an interesting tangent?Part of starting a business is determining whether it will be sustainable. The travel business is essentially an industry that sells proprietary information. Unless you have a competitive advantage (knowing the best swimming spots, being in the right circles of prospective customers) your business will disappear.

I think writing a travel blog, with affiliate links would be a third possibility, negating the need to have an emergency hotline 24/7.
Affiliating with a travel agent would be my second choice, as you'd need lots of insurance/contacts. I remember previous posts mentioning that travel agents can beat the internet for international travel.

Are you going to be planning the cruises, or partnering with the cruise lines to sell excursions?
According to a CNBC documentary, the cruise lines basically sell the tickets for cost, and get their revenue from drinks, gambling, and excursions. (They farm it out to locals, and take a 50% cut, or buy their own island and keep the revenue for themselves.)

I've somewhat researched this as a more junior traveler than you, and it came across as a pain in the ass to save 15% on hotels here and there. I think I get the spirit of what you're asking/saying - and if you go through with it - I hope you'll detail your adventure. For those of us who value travel as our "thing" - anything we can do to shave 10-15% off the cost seems like it would hold value - especially on these 8000-10000 dollar packages (and higher) - and the knowledge one might get - but it seems with accreditations and memberships you have to join in to get the numbers that work on the websites, you're looking at hours of education and financial outlays and bonds. Might be worth befriending one instead or taking the path of least resistance..

Travel agents also get discounted or complementary tickets to most attractions. My folks used to be "travel agents" for this perk; though many businesses have made attempts to thwart this type of fraud, the benefits still exist for legitimate agents.

ThomasPaine said:   edrucker said:   My post wasn't really about whether or not traditional travel agents add value or whether the travel agency business is in decline (which I don't dispute)... though I suppose an interesting tangent?Part of starting a business is determining whether it will be sustainable. The travel business is essentially an industry that sells proprietary information. Unless you have a competitive advantage (knowing the best swimming spots, being in the right circles of prospective customers) your business will disappear.

I think writing a travel blog, with affiliate links would be a third possibility, negating the need to have an emergency hotline 24/7.
Affiliating with a travel agent would be my second choice, as you'd need lots of insurance/contacts. I remember previous posts mentioning that travel agents can beat the internet for international travel.

Are you going to be planning the cruises, or partnering with the cruise lines to sell excursions?
According to a CNBC documentary, the cruise lines basically sell the tickets for cost, and get their revenue from drinks, gambling, and excursions. (They farm it out to locals, and take a 50% cut, or buy their own island and keep the revenue for themselves.)


I think you're missing my point. The point would be to become a travel agent in the easiest manner possible and collect commissions/discounts on expensive trips that I was already planning on taking and that my close friends and family also regularly take. Travel is the single splurge category in my budget. I am not looking to build a traditional travel agency and attract outside clients (or even friends/family) who are seeking a travel agent for extensive trip planning services or inside knowledge. Just to be extra clear, I'm envisioning this as a 0-2 hour/week type commitment (beyond setup) entirely outside my current job. Seeking any advice on this plan!

flyertalk has taught me a lot about traveling well for cheap

I have an aunt who was a travel agent for many years. I asked her a long time ago what she thought about me getting into the business. She recommended against it as the only people using agents anymore are those that have BIG money to spend on long expensive vacations. They lost the majority of their business to the internet and the ability of people being able to book their own travel online.
I think the hassle you will encounter will far outweigh the savings benefit you are envisioning.

vickh said:   flyertalk has taught me a lot about traveling well for cheap

Indeed- people still pay to travel?

edrucker> I don't think many posters on here take frequent lavish trips like yourself, so it's probably going to be hard to relate or provide good feedback.

I'd liken it to me saying, "I should get a car dealers license to save a ton of money buying cars at dealer-only places", then somebody replies, "This doesn't make sense to me, because I only buy 1 car every 3-5 years".
I however buy 10-30, depending on how I'm feeling.

You're probably going to have to just run the numbers yourself and see if it's worth the money to become licensed as an "agent" and if you have enough trips planned to come out ahead with the percentage savings. I wouldn't expect much from FW, as many of us are in the business of using free airline miles, getting a super cheap hotel, and using BOGO at the buffet.

I did the part time agent thing decades ago. The main impediment is that there are minimum production requirements to get any decent agent discounts (IATAN card.) Honestly, I find more free travel opportunities from FWF/FT exploits than ever did as an agent.

As for the business, the economics of it are terrible. Air commissions are nonexistent now, so the main profit opportunities are in selling high-end cruises and tours.

I do miss having GDS access for buying my own tickets. It's so much faster and more flexible than the retail way.

If after all of this you're still dead-set on it, I suggest establishing a relationship with a local agent to sell travel under their ARC number for a split of the commissions. Setting up your own agency, especially if you want to be able to sell airfare, is expensive and overkill in your situation.

TravelerMSY said:   If after all of this you're still dead-set on it, I suggest establishing a relationship with a local agent to sell travel under their ARC number for a split of the commissions. Setting up your own agency, especially if you want to be able to sell airfare, is expensive and overkill in your situation.

I agree that this is your best bet. Those in any field are protective of their interests and have stringent requirements to outsiders looking to cash in on savings.

A simpler option to consider. Some tour operators offer a free tour to the organizer of a group. You don't have to be a travel agent - you just need to book a certain number of people into a specific tour/cruise/etc. and you'll earn a free spot on that tour/cruise/etc. I don't know if this arrangement would work for you but that's an option to consider if the circumstances are a fit.

TravelerMSY said:   I did the part time agent thing decades ago. The main impediment is that there are minimum production requirements to get any decent agent discounts (IATAN card.) Honestly, I find more free travel opportunities from FWF/FT exploits than ever did as an agent.

As for the business, the economics of it are terrible. Air commissions are nonexistent now, so the main profit opportunities are in selling high-end cruises and tours.

I do miss having GDS access for buying my own tickets. It's so much faster and more flexible than the retail way.

If after all of this you're still dead-set on it, I suggest establishing a relationship with a local agent to sell travel under their ARC number for a split of the commissions. Setting up your own agency, especially if you want to be able to sell airfare, is expensive and overkill in your situation.


Thanks for sharing your experience!

What sort of minimum production requirements are we talking about? Is it based on $s or number of reservations?

Since this would be all about collecting commissions, is there any upside to selling airfare (would you have access to better rates? I've never been quoted a cheaper rate than I could find myself by a third party)? I could easily help book airfare off, say, Kayak for friends/family if they felt that was an important part of setting up their trip through me, though I think most of them would be fine telling me the name of their tour operator and dates and just letting me book that piece.

bippie said:   A simpler option to consider. Some tour operators offer a free tour to the organizer of a group. You don't have to be a travel agent - you just need to book a certain number of people into a specific tour/cruise/etc. and you'll earn a free spot on that tour/cruise/etc. I don't know if this arrangement would work for you but that's an option to consider if the circumstances are a fit.

Thanks! Will keep this in mind. I usually travel with a total of 2-6 people, so probably not enough, I'd think. The upcoming trip I'm looking to reserve soon is only 3 people.

I booked my honeymoon with a travel agent. I price-checked her with Costco, and she was able to come in slightly under them, with additional perks (like bottle of champagne included, etc). So there is still a place for travel agents for particular destinations, I would say. But overall, you're probably better off doing reward point app-o-ramas.

I don't have time for a full reply - but the short version: Google 'host agencies' - that is who you would partner with if you want to be a part-time home based agent. They do take a cut of your commissions but it would take a lot to get your own IATA number (become your own agency).

web site that reviews host agencies

I don't think OP wants to be a travel agent. Rather, he/she wants to give the appearance of being a travel agent in order to get some Cash Back. Wondering what the barriers to entry are for actually meeting the definition of an "agent". If the requirements are minimal and the rewards big enough, this could provide many opportunities for the budget traveler to branch out a little bit. I'm guessing you pay some fee, jump through some hoops and you are set. What's the minimum cash outlay required?

edrucker..... To answer your original question w/o silly comments ... I experienced both scenarios. My friend bought a Travel Agency and then contracted to me as an independent working in his office. I had to get a business license and report quarterly my sales to the state (Washington). We had an established client base that called in for trips (ended up being not enough). I learned alot about the travel industry and dealing with clients. So don't do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

First: The absolute worst clients are going to be your friends. They tend to expect huge discounts and then if they cancel (alot of people get caught up in planning a trip then back out)they expect a (full) refund that same day. Alot of people are very ignorant about travel and assume things that are not realistic. First example.. A friend wanted a trip to Reno. I found a good package deal. Spent time on it, then he ended up finding another deal through another TA. He saved 5 dollars pp on the trip. I kid you not. What he didn't know was I had priced a nonstop and the other TA had him on a Connecting flight. He saved 10 bucks total but spent an extra 2 hours of flying and a plane change. Second example... My wife got me a Hawaii booking from her best friend for her Honeymoon. I was very clear that once booked, the refund policy from this company was restrictive. They booked ... Their relationship sank and they split. It took me a month to get her refund after multi calls to the Tour company but I was able to get it all w/o penalty. However this "Friend" made multi calls to me expecting full refund w/o penalties even though I had explained all this prior. I could go on an on about "friends" booking though me and how bad it gets. These were the two easiest examples to write. Don't do business with friends!!!!!!

Second: Most clients book with whoever is the last TA they talk to. Alot like to chat about their trips then move on to another TA. However, that last TA can cut your price by cutting their commission making you look like you are overcharging. Also tickets and packages can change price multi times per day. Some you can lock into by putting a hold but if a client backs out you spend alot of time taking those holds off. It takes a long time to build loyal customers who don't try and find another TA to undercut you. You can only make decent money on very expensive trips with loyal people that don't require alot of your time.

Third: You will not make much money if at all. Figure an average of 10 percent on PRE TAX bookings. Example: Figure a Carnival Cruise 7 Day inside cabin...1000 total for 2 people. Maybe 800 is before taxes but probably even less. That gives me 80 bucks. I do get a volume perk after maybe 10 cabins booked but that takes a bit. If I own my agency, booked it myself and are paying Office rent and all the expenses then after taxes I get maybe 60 bucks. If I am affiliated with an owner then 30 bucks. Time spent with client, collecting info, payment and usually multi change request or cabin assignment questions can start around several hours. All this if they don't cancel on you. Some days you make sales others you don't. I didnt recieve any pay until well after a trip was completed.

Fourth: After finally realizing I could not make any money and was spending alot of time on it I stopped and sent my cancellation notice to the State of Washington. My business partner lasted about a year longer. Within 6 months the State was sending me threatening notices that I was not reporting Travel income. Each time I called and spoke to an apologetic person who realised I had closed. It took another several quarters of threats from the state before I called and told them to contact my Lawyer as I had quit a year prior and was not selling Travel. That got them to stop. Funny part is in Washington and probably elsewhere, Most if not all the travel you book, the taxes are paid by the tour company or airline. I never had to pay any state taxes.

Now I still help friends with booking travel. Its kinds an odd hobby. They ask advice, I look up prices and help them book it themselves. Everything is online. I still notice that most get caught up in the trip planning and booking a good deal then lose interest and cancel. But I am not out anything. I find amazing deals through multi sites. Some of my favorites are Flyertalk and Las Vegas Advisor. I use ITASOFTWARE.COM to check tickets, fare codes and alerts then book through the airline website. It used to be part of Sabre that Travel Agents use. I like Southwest but they are not the cheapest for tickets. Just good baggage policies. Tripadviser is a wealth of info too. I believe a TA is going away unless you work for a tour company. Don't even get me started on getting ARC numbers or IATA or CLIA... you need those if you are in business. The days of good FAM trips are gone, too much abuse. Your TA discount is basically a bit better than your commission and that is usually during off season. Good Luck I understand your Hobby.

Sounds like a 10% Cash Back opportunity with maybe some headache involved. TKRAD I am assuming that new resorts want travel agents to see their destinations and talk up their experiences back home. Is there an avenue to getting deeply discounted resort stays for agents only?

I became a home based travel agent about 4 years ago to supplement my income from my day job. I affiliated myself with a company called Outsideagents.com which charges no monthly fees and pays you 80-90% of the commission. They process all my paperwork, handle the invoicing and accounting, and I get to use their buying power to get higher commissions. I market myself to the local area, family, friends, coworkers, and referrals.

The free benefits that are out there are not as prevalent as they use to be. Before you get any of them, you have to an IATA or CLIA membership as the travel companies need to see that you are a legitimate agent. A couple of years ago there were a companies called "card mills" that were getting people these cards for paying a high fee. The discount hotels can be tough to get as there are a lot of restrictions on them. The other free perks have come down in the last couple of years as well as these companies tighen their own fiscal belts.

The commission amounts have come down in the last couple of years as the amounts of a trip that are not commissionable have come up.

With a lot of these companies, a lot of them will not pay you a commission on your personal vacations unless you do a certain amount of travel bookings for otheres. At the company I work with, you need to keep a ratio of 3 to 1 non personal to personal to get commissions on personal travel. This is to limit people just trying to get paid on their own reservations and not do any business.

TravelerMSY said:   I did the part time agent thing decades ago. The main impediment is that there are minimum production requirements to get any decent agent discounts (IATAN card.) Honestly, I find more free travel opportunities from FWF/FT exploits than ever did as an agent.

As for the business, the economics of it are terrible. Air commissions are nonexistent now, so the main profit opportunities are in selling high-end cruises and tours.

I do miss having GDS access for buying my own tickets. It's so much faster and more flexible than the retail way.

If after all of this you're still dead-set on it, I suggest establishing a relationship with a local agent to sell travel under their ARC number for a split of the commissions. Setting up your own agency, especially if you want to be able to sell airfare, is expensive and overkill in your situation.


+1 what TravelerMSY says.

My family went the affiliate route for their travel agency for a few reasons - one, the infrastructure costs are lower, but the other big thing, the way a travel agency is able to "beat" some of the online discounted fares on things like cruises is by reserving block space on cruise ships. If you're part of an affiliate, not only is it easier to sell that block space, it's easier to reserve more rooms in a block, thereby lowering the price.

There are definitely some perks - travel agent rates on cruises can be nice but they don't allow for any planning really (you get late notice from a cruise line if they have space available) so its typically fairly last minute that you get big discounts there. There are discounts to some events here and there but the list of places offering those discounts seems to get shorter and shorter every year.

Overall though, it does take a lot of effort to cover your costs in the travel business in order to get things like your IATAN card. It's not even worth an agent's time typically to search for airfare for someone because there aren't any commissions...hotels are far and few between it seems. It's a very tough business these days.

Given all the people saying not to do it, even though they have actual experience, I fully expect OP to do it any way.

szymon said:   I don't have time for a full reply - but the short version: Google 'host agencies' - that is who you would partner with if you want to be a part-time home based agent. They do take a cut of your commissions but it would take a lot to get your own IATA number (become your own agency).

web site that reviews host agencies


Use this website

Nexion and outsideagents are the two I've seen part time home based agents hook up with to start their own agency without all the bs

saladdin said:   Given all the people saying not to do it, even though they have actual experience, I fully expect OP to do it any way.

Given the specifics of the OP's situation, it isn't clear from the actual experience that this is a bad idea. Depends on the costs involved, and no one has really detailed those.

The folks at hostagencyreviews.com do a bad job of listing bottom-line prices of each one of their listed vendors.

Three vendors I've looked at for a slightly different scenario (I just want GDS access, don't care as much about ticketing) are:

* Nexion @ $199 one-time fee + $45/month for Sabre access + ticketing (nexion.com)
* ICTravel @ $195 one-year E&O insurance fee + $25/month for GDS access (Sabre+Amadeus) + ticketing (ictravel.com)
* Sabre alone with no ticketing @ $45/month ( http://www.sabretravelnetwork.com/home/solutions/travel_agency/c... )

PitPirate said:   saladdin said:   Given all the people saying not to do it, even though they have actual experience, I fully expect OP to do it any way.

Given the specifics of the OP's situation, it isn't clear from the actual experience that this is a bad idea. Depends on the costs involved, and no one has really detailed those.


It sounds like a terrible plan for the OP. He is trying to make money off of the traveling of his friends. That doesn't sound like something that will have a good result.

edrucker said:   TravelerMSY said:   I did the part time agent thing decades ago. The main impediment is that there are minimum production requirements to get any decent agent discounts (IATAN card.) Honestly, I find more free travel opportunities from FWF/FT exploits than ever did as an agent.

As for the business, the economics of it are terrible. Air commissions are nonexistent now, so the main profit opportunities are in selling high-end cruises and tours.

I do miss having GDS access for buying my own tickets. It's so much faster and more flexible than the retail way.

If after all of this you're still dead-set on it, I suggest establishing a relationship with a local agent to sell travel under their ARC number for a split of the commissions. Setting up your own agency, especially if you want to be able to sell airfare, is expensive and overkill in your situation.


Thanks for sharing your experience!

What sort of minimum production requirements are we talking about? Is it based on $s or number of reservations?

Since this would be all about collecting commissions, is there any upside to selling airfare (would you have access to better rates? I've never been quoted a cheaper rate than I could find myself by a third party)? I could easily help book airfare off, say, Kayak for friends/family if they felt that was an important part of setting up their trip through me, though I think most of them would be fine telling me the name of their tour operator and dates and just letting me book that piece.



It was working a minimum hours per week as an employee or minimum sales quotas for independents. Google "IATAN Card" for more info.

The prices for air are generally the same, although as an agent you would be able to sell consolidator airfares on a net basis. That means you buy the ticket from a consolidator like Unitravel, then add whatever markup you think is fair. The good consolidators only sell to agents. One thing you should keep in mind about selling air, is that you are an agent of the airline, not the customer, so you are on the hook for any ticketing errors. So don't even think about booking a bunch of Flyertalk mistake fares under your agency #.

I found that I generally had better pricing than the customer could do on their own, but keep in mind this was in 1992 before there were tons of online pricing tools. I actually had to dial into the agency computer in PHX to get GDX access. No internet back then.

I used Incentive Connection Travel out of Phoenix and had no problems with them. Probably even easier now that paper tickets are gone. It was a huge pain to ship the paper tickets back and forth every week. Keep in mind that ticketing permissions come with a huge liability for the agency, so the large service-bureau type agencies like Nexion or ICT are going to review your bookings before an experienced agent hits print on them. If you work with a local agency, you might get to the point where they trust you enough to fly solo.

I've thought of an account directly from SABRE, then just queuing the bookings to a local agent. Problem is, almost all agents are charging additional fees now on air bookings, so it's much more expensive to work that way now.

You would do good to break even on the fixed costs just doing bookings for friends, unless your friends are very rich and travel a lot. Also, do you have a job already? Client service takes time, and you will be expected to deal with any problems that arise with their bookings. And that means drop everything and deal with it right now, not take their messages and wait until after work to fix it.

Good luck, and feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions.

I should add that it is kind of fun if you're a travel geek. I broke even on it but really learned a lot from the experience. I'm not saying the OP shouldn't do it, just that he shouldn't do it for financial reasons.

Still wish I could type in cryptic codes for my fare queries. Entering 0MSYLAS14Apr is so much easier than all the mouse clicking. ITA is a decent substitute though.

Thanks for the great advice, all! I need to price things out. If I can get myself onto a platform for $600/yr (with a few hundred dollars in additional costs initially) and book travel for myself and my close family earning 8-9% back on tours/cruises, it would already be worth my while. That said, I have a lot of work to do to figure out if the operators I have in mind in fact offer commissions in that range through through the various hosts, and whether there'd be any requirements like the 3 to 1 non personal to personal bookings Ktremor mentioned above... and if there are other costs that I haven't learned about yet.

Hopefully some of the fantastic advice and inside tips here prove that this wasn't a silly place to float this! Always impressed by the depth of FWF knowledge!

wow... I really love this advice.

Plenty of money in the travel business. During my last vacation to India at the Taj there was a large group as an organized tour from Nat Geo priced at about 13-15k for a 10 day. I certainly travel for pennies on the dollar but thinking there is no profit in this game is naive.

You will need to know how to deal with HNW individuals (but don't panic, that's a lot easier to do than dealing with FWers)

I think most of the posters went at it the wrong way discussing profit margins...

Do you really think you'll only have to work a few hours a week/month and that it will only cost $600 a year plus a "few hundred" dollars to get licensed?

If you read between the lines of the other posters, it's like claiming that becoming a real estate agent will save you a ton of money in the long run on your house, sure it might save you a bunch overall but the licensing, bonds, insurance, and education will set you back far more than you will save.

You're looking at it as a part time hobby, and I guarantee you that you won't be able to get yourself on a platform that will let you operate in that manner.

What everyone is subtly saying but that you seem to be ignoring is that it won't be worth your time and/or money, and that it won't only take a few hours a month to get those 8-9% kickbacks on tours/cruises.

If it sounds too good to be true it usually is, you could probably make more steering your friends AWAY from cruises given how overpriced they are, how much you'll save them when they're NOT hugging the toilet after getting sick on said cruise, and by helping them plan trips that don't involve a Gallon of Gasoline per 6 inches that the cruise ship moves.

Just my thoughts but IMO tours/cruises have always been for suckers given that you don't "really" get to explore the local scenery and also I would hate to be the "travel Agent" that sends a "friend" or client on a cruise where they get to shit in a bag when their power goes out.

Skipping 16 Messages...
"Becoming a Travel Agent for Fun & Profit"

certainly will not be fun/nor profitable



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