Work From Home As an Online Travel Agent

If you’re like most people, you’ve at one point or another given some thought to the idea of running your own home based business. Just imagine, firing your boss, working in your PJs, having the time and financial freedom to do what you want, when you want.

But then reality hits. What are the odds that it could work out? How would you find the time to start a business? Wouldn’t it be outrageously expensive? And with so many choices, how would you ever find the perfect business opportunity without being taken advantage of? So you continue with the status quo, trading hours for money, dreaming of a better life.

Sound familiar? Do you know that the definition of insanity is to continue to repeatedly do the same thing, expecting different results? Not that you’re insane. It’s just that our parents, schools, and culture taught most of us to go to school, work hard, get a good job, and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, this isn’t working out so well for many of us.

If you’re ready to take control of your future and create a life by design rather than by chance, I have good news for you. There’s an affordable way for you to own a home based business that doesn’t involve buying inventory, doing home parties, or selling high priced goods that your family and friends can get at a discount store at an affordable price. Believe me, I’ve spent many years searching for a work from home opportunity and was fortunate enough to stumble upon a rather unique concept; that of owning an online travel agency.

You may ask, so what’s different about travel? For starters, there’s no inventory. No products for you to buy and keep in a corner of your garage. In fact, an online travel agent has no mandatory costs, other than a startup fee and website hosting fees. There are many companies offering online travel agencies for sale, and the price tags vary astoundingly across the board. If you choose to look into this type of business don’t get discouraged by startup costs. There are excellent, highly respected businesses for sale that are affordable!

How about product price? As an online travel agent you’re offering services (travel) that are comparatively priced with other online travel agencies. How’s that compare to the ultra expensive vitamins you could be selling? Your family and friends may not buy what they consider to be overpriced vitamins from you, but what if you could offer them travel at a price that’s competitive with other travel agencies?

Which leads me to the issue of desirability. Sticking with the example of vitamins, would you say that most people you know have a strong desire to spend their money on vitamins? Unless you have very health conscious friends, the answer to this is probably no. How about travel? Do most of the people you know have a strong desire to travel? As an online travel agent you’ll be selling recess, while others are selling geography!

Have you thought about starting a home based business, but been worried that it would require too much of your time? Let’s face it, most of us can’t quit our day jobs to pursue dreams of making it on our own in the first month or so. I’ve found that an online travel business doesn’t demand a lot of time, and can be run in the nooks and crannies of your day. This is a turnkey business in that you won’t need to spend time building a booking website, reserving travel for others, or tracking purchases. You’ll receive a fully functional booking site along with customer support and tracking, and your customers book their own travel from you, just as they would from any other online booking site. Your main job is to point others to your website. This can be done simply by handing business cards to family, friends, co-workers, etc., and asking them to bookmark your site and compare your prices the next time they’re planning a trip. No hard selling involved!

Naturally, you can build your business more aggressively and quickly if you’d like. As an online travel agent you’ll have opportunities to make more money more quickly if you’re able to dedicate 5 to 10 hours per week to your business. Some possibilities include booking and marketing group travel, specializing in honeymoon registries, or obtaining corporate travel accounts. If you choose to investigate companies that sell online travel agencies, be sure to look for those that offer this type of niche marketing, and that provide training on these specialties.

What about the economy? Actually, the travel industry is booming, and is expected to almost double over the next 10 years. Let’s face it, in a struggling economy many of us will forgo that expensive latte every day before work, or possibly brown bag it instead of buying lunch every day. But we work our butts off all year for that one little stretch of time that we call vacation. Quality time spent with our loved ones, relaxing and enjoying whatever it is we most enjoy. This is the one precious reward that we look forward to all year and unless things are drastically bad, we’ll make sure that we don’t lose this glorious respite.

You may be thinking, this sounds pretty good. Well, it gets even better! Home businesses offer incredible tax savings. In fact the tax laws were written years ago with the intention of rewarding business owners, and this is the one best legal method of keeping more of your hard earned money in your own pockets.

Ordinary home expenses such as Internet charges, mileage expenses, cell phones, etc. can become tax deductions to those who own home based businesses. Cool, huh? Well, as an online travel agent, you’ll be entitled to the customary tax deductions, in addition to deductions on personal travel. This is a way to turn your vacations into paycations! The logic here is simple. Every time you travel you gain an experience that you can share with potential clients. Great resort, great recommendation. Lousy service, poor recommendation. Each vacation you take makes you more capable of selling vacations to others. Does it get any better than that?

Actually, yes! Online travel agents benefit from great travel industry perks, including low cost FAM trips, commissions paid on personal travel, and occasional free upgrades.

If this concept sounds fun, lucrative, and inviting, you have two choices. The first, taken by most, is to think about how cool this could be, then go about your normal routine, unable to find the time to investigate. The second is to get on the computer and start researching possibilities. Personally, I went for option number two, and am ecstatic about the great choice I made!

Benefits of Using an Online Travel Agent Over an Offline Travel Agent

Online travel companies certainly are a typical and well-known channel which travellers are able to place their holiday reservation with, because these agents have accessibility to a substantial data source of real time information concerning the various airlines, tour operators and hotel chains. It is then a lot easier for travellers to check amenities, services and price ranges amongst different hotels and resorts. Numerous online agents can use this data bank to deliver precise room availability and prices to visitors who book on the internet. This essentially leads to an extensive collection of detailed information about various hotels and package holidays that travellers may easily access once they visit these web sites. This actually also generates enhanced levels of competition amid the online travel agents which may make a deal together with the hotels and tour operators for exclusive rates to draw in consumers to book their holidays via their website instead of others.

Online travel agencies haven’t totally decimated the traditional brick-and-mortar shops. Conventional travel agencies nonetheless do a substantial amount of business with travellers and therefore are one viable solution to booking travel arrangements. However, as busy as our lives may be, online travel agencies provide an instant and effortless way to finding flight tickets, hotels and holidays without taking you away from home, or perhaps work and the brick-and-mortar shops understand this. Some traditional companies are also showing up on the internet and developing travel websites to focus on the individuals seeking to easily look for and book travel arrangements. So despite the fact that online travel agencies haven’t totally ruined the traditional travel agency industry, they’ve already proven a practical and hassle-free option to booking holidays, business trips, as well as other travel plans.

A great deal of online travel agencies and low cost holiday comparison websites do their utmost to allow you to grab an incredibly cheap holiday package. Providing you are prepared to put some effort into searching for the perfect cheap holiday offer, there aren’t any explanations why you should struggle to come across a fantastic inexpensive holiday deal or perhaps the getaway you’ve always dreamt of. Regardless of where you choose to spend your cheap holiday break and type of holiday you select it to be, then choosing a fantastic cheap holiday deal for a truly incredible reduced price is really a totally achievable goal.

An additional benefit of online travel agents is that you have accessibility to them everywhere you go in the world. The world wide web is extremely advantageous and handy for those who have a sizable travel agency that addresses online Twenty-four hours a day contact. Often issues can be resolved with a very simple e-mail. If you use a local travel agent face-to-face, this isn’t always the case as they are many miles away in many instances.

Working Online From Home As a Travel Agent

If you take a look around when you’re walking downtown, you won’t find that many brick and mortar travel agencies anymore. The reason is that most travel agents are working online from home – and so can you! You may think that there is a lot of work to get started working online from home as a travel agent and get your business off the ground, but it’s actually not that hard. In this article you will get some guidelines that will get you started working online from home as a travel agent.

There is basically two ways you can operate as a travel agent working online from home:

Booking and selling agents – Book tickets directly with hotels and airlines.
Referral Travel Agents – Working online from home under a hosting agency that books the tickets.

Booking and selling agents need to be ARC/IATA accredited in order to be allowed to sell airline tickets. An ARC/IATA card is an industry identification that allows you to book any kind of travel product. This identification is very expensive and you need to meet certain minimum standards in order to be qualified for it, so the smartest way to go if you’re inexperienced in the travel business is as a referral travel agent.

As a referral agent you do not need ARC/IATA identification, because you’re basically working under an accredited hosting agency. You promote the travels, the hosting agency books the tickets and you will get a commission.

When working online from home as a referral agent you normally do not need any kind of travel agent license or certification. Some states/countries require it though – so make sure you check with the local authorities before you start your business. It may be smart to get one anyway – a certification or license will gain trust with your customers.

One of the most important decisions you will have to make when you start working online from home as a referral agent is which hosting agency you want to work with. It’s been a “working online from home travel agent”-revolution and there are a lot of hosting agencies online. Make sure you put in the time and effort to research for a good company.

There are hosting agencies that you can join for free, but some of them will charge you a monthly fee. In return, if the company is good, you will get a lot of great marketing tools that you can use to promote your business. A good company will also give you training to make you a better agent working online from home.

A good place to start researching hosting agencies is at Professional Association of Travel Hosts (PATH – path4hosts.com) and National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA – nacta.com). They are both reliable sources for serious hosting agencies.

Then you need to decide what kind of travels you want to sell. You can specialize in charter trips to specific locations, only sell luxury cruises or bus tours for elderly etc. It’s all up to you. It is a good idea though, to specialize in one specific area – at least in the beginning.

To sell your travels working online from home, you should set up a website and start promoting your business by internet marketing, local advertising, and word of mouth and so on. A good hosting agency will give you all the necessary help you need to get you started.

Why Book Your Next Holiday With an Online Travel Agent

When arranging your next holiday of course you can see what your local travel agent has to offer. But by using an online travel agency you will be amazed at the variety of holidays that they can offer you but also they can provide some really great deals. So getting more for your money is going to prove a great deal easier.

But there are other benefits to be gained from using an online travel agent instead of those that are located close to your home. Below we take a look at just what some of these benefits are.

Benefit 1 – You can contact these companies at anytime that you wish. Whereas when it comes to your local agents then of course you will need to visit them when they are open. So if you need to arrange travel at the last minute or late at night then this you will be able to do very easily through an online company.

Benefit 2 – By opting to use an online travel agency then you can quickly and easily compare the deals that various ones are offering. So ensuring that you then get the best deal for the money that you can afford to spend on your holiday. Whereas with a conventional travel agent you will find that they only normally work with one or two holiday companies so of course they are limited to offering their deals to you only.

Benefit 3 – Through using an online travel agency you have the opportunity to select who you work with. So the chances of you being able to create travel plans that meet your particular requirements is going to prove a great deal easier. As a result this will help to ensure that the holiday you take will be the most enjoyable ever.

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.