Any Travel Agents Here on TPF?

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  1. Any Travel Agents here that can give advice about becoming one? General advice would be much appreciated and specific advice from any Canadian travel agents is even better as I am in Canada.

    I am concerned that it may not pay what I currently earn and I wonder if travel agents are becoming less and less in demand due to people (like me) who do their bookings themselves online.

    I checked out my my government's website to find the average salary for TA's and according to it, it does pay what I would need but according to one of the people I work with at my part time job who recently sold his travel agency, it pays much lower so I am unsure what is accurate.

    I am going to the school Tuesday at lunch to discuss the program and ask a bunch of questions.

    TIA.
     
  2. I'm not in Canada and am not exactly a travel agent, but I own a specialized tour company and have worked in the travel business for many years, so I'll try to address your questions.

    Things started going downhill monetarily for travel agents when the airlines stopped paying commission and other companies, like some cruise lines, followed suit. That meant that when an agent issued a ticket, they made no money unless they charged the client a service fee. Some clients balked at that; others realized that there are advantages to booking through a TA. Regardless, most agencies saw a downturn in revenue.

    The advent of online booking certainly did not help and these days, for simple things like hotels or flights, people tend to book on their own, which means less business for travel agents. A TA can offer invaluable expertise, but unfortunately many people don't appreciate that. (I once had clients cancel a booking with me because they said they found a better deal online. The hotel turned out to be awful and they mistakenly booked a tiny Smartcar, and they had to upgrade their car rental at considerable cost. They came back and said they'd never doubt me again.)

    How this reflects in terms of pay depends on your salary structure. I know people who are outside agents - they are not staff employees and work on commission only. I don't know anyone who is entry-level at a travel agency, so I can't give you a typical salary. When I worked for tour operators - which is what I did before starting my own company - typical entry-level salaries for NYC-based companies a decade ago were around $25,000-$30,000 (U.S. dollars).

    The travel industry can be a fascinating, rewarding business. I've traveled to many places on familiarization trips that would have cost me thousands of dollars, personally inspected hundreds of hotels, restaurants and attractions worldwide... and honestly, there is nothing better than a big hug and a smile from a client who tells you how wonderful their vacation was and you know you made that happen for them. But if you're looking for a job with a big financial payday, the travel industry - particularly as a travel agent - is not it.
     
  3. Thank you.

    I am not looking for a big financial payday but, as the only person paying the mortgage, I require a minimum amount to live on, and $30K is not nearly enough (I realize that you are quoting from 10 years ago).

    I am really dissatisfied with my current line of work and am considering many different things right now and being a travel agent is one of them.

    I appreciate your feedback.