How to become a successful Travel Agent ? (5 Tips)
January 12, 2024
minutes of reading
In the aftermath of the pandemic, the travel industry reinvented itself with dazzling growth, witnessing a significant increase in the number of tourists of 43% between 2022 and 2023. 📈
In the midst of this revival, travelers are looking more than ever for reliable advice, ready to invest in the expertise of professionals able to guarantee safety and crucial information.
This sector is attractive to many, yet it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the flood of information. This article therefore aims to provide a comprehensive and synthetic answer to the most common questions,
What is a Travel Agent ?🤔
The job of a Travel Agent involves the roles of advisor and salesperson, orchestrating the world of flights, packages, and various travel-related products, such as car rentals and activities.
As the architect of escapades, the travel agent distinguishes himself by his ability to book for travelers and personalize each excursion by keeping abreast of market trends. His main objective is to remove obstacles throughout his customers' trips.
The skills required to excel in this profession go far beyond simple transactions. Being in direct contact with customers, the travel agent must be endowed with a large number of commercial and social qualities, such as :
Great sense of service and listening skills
Perfect presentation, perfect knowledge of the subject
Good interpersonal skills
Patience, diplomatie, teaching skills
Strong organization, rigor
Know how to speak one or more foreign languages
Travel agents can focus on a single sector of activity, be it leisure or business travel, specific locations or activities.
Specialization is often the key, and often involves selling tailor-made packages. This will be discussed later in the article, in theBest Advice section.
How to become a Travel Agent in France ?🧳
Since 2015, obtaining a BTS in tourism or a bachelor's degree is no longer a requirement for setting up your own travel agency. However, these diplomas are still highly recommended, not only to facilitate access to a job, but above all to acquire the essential skills of the trade, thus ensuring the smooth running of your agency.
For post-baccalaureate studies in the field of tourism, there are several options to choose from, offering paths adapted to different academic levels :
With regard to vocational training and retraining,the Compte Formation (CPF) is an invaluable tool. It lists the rights acquired throughout a person's professional career, offering financing possibilities for training.
For advice tailored to your professional project, we recommend that you consult France Travail, which offers several training courses to support individuals in their career transition.
If you need further information, there are travel fairs in every major city where you can get in touch with trainers and players in the travel industry. They'll be happy to answer any questions you may have, and offer concrete feedback and advice. Here are just a few examples:
What are the costs of an independent Travel Agent ?
First, we need to look at the costs involved in setting up a travel agency, whether as a franchisee or as an independent.
For a franchisee
Franchising is an agreement whereby one company, the franchisor, grants another company, the franchisee, the right to market certain types of products and/or services, in exchange for direct or indirect financial compensation.
In this way, you'll enter the market with the colors and reputation of an already well-established agency, receiving support before, during and after the company's creation, and benefiting from its resources and influence, as Selectouror Tourcom do.
In Paris, for example, the first year of a franchised travel agency would cost around €65,000 on average.
For an independant
For an independent, setting up a travel agency involves several unavoidable costs. Accreditation, which is required to operate, entails an initial investment of between €150 and €500. Creating a website also requires an estimated budget of between €100 and €300, while logo development ranges from €50 to €800, plus branding costs. License fees range from €150 to €300, while annual insurance costs reach at least €780. Finally, the acquisition of premises, essential to set up a 40m2 agency, represents a substantial investment of between €60,000 and €100,000 (it is also possible to rent premises, as described above).
What are the sources of revenues of an Travel Agent ?
In contrast to the various inherent costs, several sources of revenue exist within a travel agency. The main sources of revenue for a travel agency are :
A travel agent's main source of income is the commissions they receive from customers who purchase travel products through them, and these usually represent a significant percentage of their sales. It is therefore essential to work with reliable, quality partners;
Apply service charges
The commissions come from the partners, but the service fees come directly from the customers, for each reservation made. Fixed fees, hourly rates, per-transaction fees, etc. are all possible;
Even if they don't buy, travelers sometimes need help putting together itineraries or being directed to the right contacts. Guiding them through this ordeal will generate additional revenue;
Sell complementary product
Travel insurance, for example, is something travelers often forget. It's also possible to offer local Internet connection packages to keep customers in touch with the agency and their loved ones in an emergency, or local public transport passes.
What is the best advice for a Travel Agent ?✍️
1. Positionning to an untapped niche
For better relative visibility, it's possible to specialize on a geographic region, a type of trip or even a mode of transport. For example, Pérou sur mesure is specialized - as its name suggests - in the Peruvian niche, and Terres d’Aventure in sporty travel. However, it's important to make sure that your chosen sector is in demand. Sustainability has been a hot topic for the past twenty years, so it's possible to focus on Slow Travel (find out what Ezus has to say on the subject here).
However, it's important to point out that specialization is a complex business, requiring customized tours, the right suppliers and, of course, the right tour presentation for every customer.
To do this, web-based software such as Ezus are available, enabling you to centralize supplier and customer information, rapidly build interactive itineraries and budgets, and then generate personalized travel documents (proposals, travel books, quotes, contracts, vouchers) in a single click, automatically put online on a website dedicated to the customer.
2. Careful selection of customers (Persona)
Rather than letting customers come to the agency, the agent's goals and mindset should be focused on specific customers who will undoubtedly increase sales.
3. Continuous enhancement of knowledge
If you want to have an impact in your sector and among your direct competitors, it's essential to multiply "fam trips" (familiarization trips) to get to know the product on offer inside out, and to facilitate exchanges with future partners and potential customers. It's also a good idea to keep abreast of industry news via social networks.
4. Becoming an influencer
An online presence is a necessity. Having a presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will translate into free advertising without requiring considerable effort. With targeted, well-crafted content, it will also be much easier to land relevant partnerships. During those famous familiarization trips, taking quality photos and videos and posting them on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook will reach the agency's audience. Not only will this let hotels, tour operators and other tourism players know that the agency is open to creating content for them (in exchange for commissions, of course), but it will also let travelers know that it can act as an intermediary between them and those incredible places being showcased. As illustrated by WeRoadand Chilowé, creating a community on social networks is very useful in order to make yourself known, and, ultimately, to sell more trips! To find out more, take a look at Ezus' article on managing social networks for a travel agency.
5. Strategic use of advertising
Eventually, it will be necessary to invest in advertising to reach your target audience. As each day passes with increased use of the Internet, online advertising is bound to reach a wider audience, bringing more potential customers to the agency's services.
Thanks to this article, all the conditions are now in place to become the best travel agent possible - or almost! The most important element in becoming an outstanding travel agent is a passion for creating unique experiences, remaining curious and thirsting for new knowledge within the travel world. For the more dedicated, it's a good idea to sign up for tourism newspaper newsletters such as La Quotidienne orL'Echo Touristique. Finally, organization and time optimization are essential, as one minute saved could become one more customer to the agency.
Ezus not yet part of your daily routine ?
Dive into the future of travel management with our software solution, dramatically reducing your document creation times and simplifying the centralization of your personalized documents. Find out how during a demonstration.