The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. Almost every daily aspect of our lives has been transformed and, in some ways, things will never be the same. This also affects our jobs and the way we work. Or is it?
It's wise to try to get the best out of any new situation, even if it's a rather gloomy one. Tourism received a mighty blow during 2020. The travel sector tried to adapt and adjust, and working from home has been one of the best solutions so far. 2021 could be a wonderful time to become a successful home based travel agent. Here are the main tips for pulling it off:
Develop Your Business Plan
Regard the Business Plan as your treasure map on the quest for success. Have clear in mind which are your goals, niche, financial plan and sales and marketing strategy:
- Company/Executive summary: You must explain the nature of your travel business, including goals, mission and vision, ownership and ways of funding.
- Niche/Services: be crystal clear about your travel specialties and which kind of customer you're seeking. If you do it well, it would be easier to market yourself.
- Financial Plan: You'll need to write down a projected cash flow, profit and loss estimations, balance sheet, etc. Don't hesitate if you need to consult a CPA or a business coach.
- Sales and Marketing Strategy: List which techniques are you going to use, such as direct mailing, social media, paid advertising, email marketing, etc. Of course, starting a website is a must.
Exhibit a Passion for Travel. Enter the Business with Some Personal Experience
While extensive travel experience is not mandatory, it helps if you have been to lots of places in your personal and work life. Added value, you may call it. If you don’t have much previous experience, it may help to start off focusing on a travel specialty while you learn others.
Tap into the skills that make for a successful remote agent
If you want to know how to become a successful home based travel agent, you need both strong organizational skills and the patience to persevere. A successful travel agent from home is somebody who has knowledge, professionalism, enthusiasm, integrity, resourcefulness and empathy. Somebody who is well-educated, consistent, hard-working, open minded, and a good listener, and available to communicate with your clients whenever they need you. All these attributes will win and keep your customers' trust and confidence.
Embrace technology and have a smart presence on social media
There are plenty of fruitful ideas you could use, such as having two computers running at once, so you can view multiple screens. It's helpful to have a dedicated office space in order to work uninterrupted from domestic demands. And remember there are mobile apps that allow you to stay productive outside office walls, too.
Social media presence on various platforms is highly recommended, and using it efficiently is, too. Your clients can be your immediate fans and followers. Ask them to leave a review on your webpage. Have interactive posts so your clients and fans feel the connection with you. Engage them with insights and tips.
It’s all about customer service (don’t be afraid to follow up)
Attention to detail means following up with clients at every stage, from initial lead inquiry through post-vacation feedback. It’s also important to make sure a client’s trip went as planned and see if they are interested in booking their next trip. A good follow up improves customer loyalty.
Personal touch (know your clients and think out of the box)
It's vital not to be just another travel agent. Instead, differentiate yourself from the rest. Give your customers highly personalized services and recommendations, so they get the personal-special feel. More than that, “be available” to them. If you need to travel, use roaming services to stay in touch.
Do you want to stay in the limelight and win the hearts of current and new customers? Then you'll have to think out of the box, and not in a robotic manner. You should focus on your potential clients and what they're looking for, and then you'll be able to meet their demands. Remember you're more than a travel agent: You are a travel advisor.
Continue Your Education and Get Involved
Once you have completed your certifications, set up your business, set up your home office and began marketing yourself, the next step is to stay well informed and updated. There are wealths of opportunities to improve your business.
While continuing your education is crucial to success, collaboration is also very important. While working from your home can be amazing, it can be a bit challenging and you may feel rather isolated sometimes, too. That's why we suggest entering a Travel Professional Community. There are well over 15,000 travel professionals from around the globe in this free community. You can also have a look at their resources right here.