How to Start an Online Travel Agency Working From Home

Have you noticed that there are not many store front travel agencies these days? I guess it may have had a lot to do with the fact that many people are using their computer to book their own flights online. Also, after the disaster in New York on September 11th, people were scared to travel and a few years ago, a couple airlines lay off their workers and caused a slow period in the travel industry.

However, I think the main reason is the comfort of booking a flight from your own personal computer that fascinates the consumer to a do-it-yourself attitude. In lieu of this fact, it is apparent that an online travel agency is a good idea for a business opportunity to assist these consumers with trip planning and other customer service issues that they may still need.

There are two types of home travel businesses:

· Referral travel agencies

· Booking and selling agencies

A Referral travel agent is the easier of the two because all it requires is a word of mouth advertising to guide the customer to the online portal where they can book their flight. It is also a relationship business because the referrals in most cases come from family, friends and associates first.

The referring travel agent is compensated with a paid commission, which is decided in advance by the agency to which the referral will go. It is easy to be an online travel agent because it only requires handing out business cards, flyers and maybe placing online ads. There is no immediate contact with the customer unless it is someone who needs additional questions answered. This can be done on a part time basis until the full time income is replaced, then anyone make the transition to a full time business.

The booking and selling agencies fall into a category of only one travel agency. Since we have already confirmed that these agencies are not so popular anymore, we will only concentrate on the referring travel agent.

A referring travel agent does not need to know too much in-depth information about the specific travel details. All they do is to direct people to the website where they book their own flights and get help directly from the airline. In the case of the booking and selling agencies, they have to do the hard work of finding out all the information for the customer, which can be quite time consuming.

If you are considering the opportunity that is open to being a referral travel agent, be sure to find out if the company is stable, if they provide adequate customer service, what the compensation is, can you work full time or part time, do you need any special training, and is it something I can recommend to others with confidence.

One of the perks of being a referring travel agent is that you can work from home, you work on your own time, you get free trips called FAM trips, you get to travel first class, you get discounted air fares and priority baggage claim.

Once you have decided to pursue a travel business opportunity, make sure you treat this as a real business. Get a business name, if possible and a tax identification number. Keep good records of income and expenses because this business is tax deductible. Your vacation trips can be tax write offs if you use it also to refer travel to others.

I would also suggest that you choose a travel category and learn as much as you can about it and specialize in that category. An example is cruises or honeymoon packages. With cruises, you can target the baby boomers who love to take cruises and for the honeymoon packages, you target anyone you know who is thinking or planning to get married.

Let your enthusiasm about this travel business be infectious to everyone you meet. Make sure you take some vacations that you can talk about or suggest to your clients. Educate yourself and take this business seriously.

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