Anyone can become a travel agent. Anyone can start My Name Travel Agency and begin directing people towards their dream vacations. But without experience, knowledge, and training, you are likely not to be a very good travel agent. This is the nature of the business.
Good travel agents have developed extensive networks and are tapped into professional travel agent networks, receiving frequent offers for domestic and global destination packages that the independent travel agent simply does not have access to. It is almost impossible for someone with no training or background experience in the travel industry to begin working as an independent travel agent or start a agency and become successful. If you are serious about becoming a successful travel agent in Texas, follow the steps presented here. It takes time, but in the end, you will be setting up destination packages and reaping the benefits of your own extravagant vacations.
Step 1: receive the appropriate education. At minimum, a high school diploma or equivalent is necessary to begin working in the industry.
Step 2: enter the industry. When you have your diploma or equivalent, begin applying for starter-level positions for local travel agencies. You can begin as a secretary or even hold a part-time job doing small tasks for local travel agencies, but you will be earning invaluable industry experience.
Step 3: earn a college education. Many travel agencies require at least a bachelor’s degree to work as a travel agent. This does not have to be a degree in a travel or tourism related field, but it would certainly be helpful for you to explore a degree in such a field. You would also benefit from learning a foreign language or two.
Step 4: become certified. There are many different certifications that a travel agent can receive. Certification from The Travel Institute and the International Airline Transport Association’s Training and Development Institute is a must. If you want to begin your own agency or work independently one day, you will need this. Most agencies will require this certification as well. This certification will connect you with exclusive airline deals and networks. Other reputable certifications will connect you with other networks and deals. Different agencies may have different requirements. Now, it’s time to start your own business or find an agency to work for.
If you want to start your own business, see steps 5a and 6a below. If you want to secure a position in an existing travel agency, see steps 6a and 6b below:
A: starting your own travel agency. It is now time for you to become a travel agent. You have developed extensive knowledge and received sufficient training to develop travel plans and setup high-quality deals for your clients. But now, you must become an entrepreneur. You need a business name. Try to think of something memorable and local. Ideally, it should be creative, but above all, it should be memorable. If you are going to be a specialized travel agent (such as a Caribbean vacation specialist), include this in your business name. Register your business with your local municipality and obtain a tax VIN number. Have a website developed. If your budget allows, rent an office space and setup a professional space. In today’s digital world, local travel agents do not need a dedicated office space, but it certainly helps in establishing trust as it suggests permanence. If you do not setup an office space, plan on doing so in the future when the funds are available. Begin marketing. If you have a vast network of friends, let all of them know that you would appreciate any referrals. Tell family members too. Develop a marketing strategy and then begin targeting your desired audiences. Generally, you want to target upper- and middle-class families and the retired.
B: That’s it! There is no Texas state license for becoming a travel agent. Remember, anyone can be a travel agent or claim to be one. But by following these steps, you will not only be able to secure a position as a travel agent, but be a successful one. You have started your own venture and it is up to you to make it work. The harder you work, especially at marketing and setting up the best deals for clients, the better your results.
C: working for a travel agency. It is now time for you to become a travel agent. You have developed extensive knowledge and received sufficient training to develop travel plans and setup high-quality deals for your clients. But now, you must secure your position as a travel agent. Ideally, you will have built a strong enough reputation with the travel agency you work for to either begin working as a travel agent with that agency or use their staff as your primary references. Get your applications out as soon as possible and begin interviewing. If you believe that your interviews are going poorly, then take a class on communications and begin practicing. Interviews are extremely important in this industry because they reflect how well you will engage with clients.
D: secure a position at a reputable travel agency. That’s it! There is no Texas state license for becoming a travel agent. Remember, anyone can be a travel agent or claim to be one. But by following these steps, you will not only be able to secure a position as a travel agent, but be a successful one. If, after becoming a successful travel agent working for a reputable agency, you decide to venture out on your own, see Steps 5a and 6a above. Otherwise, enjoy your new job!