The travel industry is one that offers numerous job opportunities. Travel agents are among the most common and revered workers in the industry. If you are thinking of changing careers or adding a part-time hustle as a travel agent, here are the main pros and cons of being a travel agent that you should consider.
14 Pros and Cons of Being a Travel Agent: Is It Stressful?
Is travel your passion? If you love traveling or helping people fulfill their travel dreams, becoming a travel agent might be an excellent option. Nowadays, we all want a job that is flexible enough to save you some you-time while still promising financial stability.
Although this can be an incredible job option, there are still some pros and cons of being a travel agent.
Even with all the benefits, it’s not always an-all-rosy career.
For this reason, if you plan to become a travel agent, whether fulltime or part-time, this blog is then a must-read piece. We will explore all the pros and cons of being a travel agent to help you make a fact-based decision on your next move.
7 Advantages of Being a Travel Agent
Want to know the pros of being a travel agent to evaluate the stress level? Let’s get into it.
Flexibility and Mobility
In the age we are in, people are looking for careers that allow for mobility in terms of working hours and location. Flexibility is one significant benefit of a travel agent career. Since your primary job is to sell travel products (tickets and tour packages), how and where you undertake the tasks is your worry.
For instance, some agents will work from offices, others from call centers, while others will decide to go completely freelance and become home-based agents. And, whether you want to work while on a trip to London, or from your home office, the job offers such mobility.
For any business, you must be good at what you do, to gain customers’ trust. Being a travel agent means that you must have an in-depth idea of what you are offering your customers. In this view, you must travel a lot to see and experience some of the destinations you are selling.
Luckily, most of these destinations and hotels offer travel agents discounted trips in the form of FAM trips. These are meant to help with your research and give you an experience of the services, as your customers will have it.
Through such trips, you get to gathers facts and have extensive knowledge to share with your customers.
Becoming Your Own Boss
Becoming a travel agent is one career path that offers the flexibility of owning a business of your own. If you are tired of the routine and hustle of being employed, it might as well be the best time to make that leap. Freelance and independent travel agents are gaining traction each day, and you can easily take advantage of the trend.
All you need is a little research on how to become a home-based travel agent, and you are good to start. The best thing about self-employment is that you can set your working schedule, and decide where you want to work from. The internet has made remote jobs quite possible.
If your goal is to achieve a secondary source of income, then a travel agent profession can suit you well. The job is versatile enough, allowing you to set your own working hours, to match with your full-time job.
Better still, if you decide to make the travel agent job your primary job, it still allows you to have another side hustle with ease. This means that you don’t have to experience financial dry spells even during off-peak travel seasons.
Variety of Job Options
Being a travel agent offers numerous job opportunities to specialize in. You have a chance to concentrate on an area that best suits your passion and capabilities. For instance, you can decide to deal with cruises, honeymoon travel destinations, African safaris, or vacation destinations in the Caribbean. There’s so much you can do as an agent.
You also have a choice on where to work. You can work for local travel agencies, overseas companies, large corporations, or even as an independent travel agent.
Decent Earning Potential
Possible income is a major consideration when choosing any career path. Although the earnings of travel agents are not all that exorbitant, the job promises decent pay.
For instance, the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ 2019 report put the median annual income for travel agents at $44,410. This can, however, be higher, depending on the type of travel job and commissions.
In fact, reports from other researchers like Pindar, indicate that agents can earn between $50 and $500k annually.
No Need for Special Training
Travel agents, unlike in many other careers, do not require undergoing expensive, specialized training. It’s mostly about passion in the travel industry plus a simple accreditation that you can attain online for free.
This makes it quite flexible, to pursue a career as a travel agent or even start your independent agency.
With proper research, a well-laid plan, and a specific niche to serve, you can sell travel products even from that comfortable couch at home.
Cons of Being a Travel Agent
Although the job seems all classy and fun, it also has its drawbacks. Some of the main challenges of being a travel agent might include:
The Job is Demanding
This is one of the major disadvantages of being a travel agent. When you become a travel agent, you must be ready to avail yourself almost on a 24/7 basis. This is mainly due to the difference in time zones across the world.
As your clients travel to a different time zone, they might want to contact you in case of an issue or need some clarifications – this can be at any time of the day. Also, some customers are just nagging and demanding.
But since that human touch is what differentiates you from online booking services, you might need to answer that call in the middle of the night.
Shaky Job Security
Since travelers now have more access to information than ever, most of them are quite knowledgeable and are planning the trips themselves. Through online booking, customers can easily plan and go for a trip without the need of a human travel agent. This is putting the job security for the agents in jeopardy each day.
Also, since this might drop sales turnover for the travel agents, their jobs are at risk if they can’t hit targets. Remember, these agents are paid on commission – few sales, less money.
Creating and Maintaining a Credible Online Presence
With numerous large agencies and travel corporations sharing the online space, competition becomes significantly steep. For the independent agents, this can be quite a challenge.
You have to find your place among those bigwigs and demand for visibility if you’re to survive in the industry. This means that just a simple website won’t suffice. You must create a responsive website that is not only easy to access, but that also helps to answer all your customers’ questions.
Don’t be mean with your website. Investing in organic traffic and content marketing can play a major role in your website’s visibility.
An Array of Choice for Customers
With so many agents available in the market, the customers are spoiled for choice. Travelers have more options to choose from, especially with the online travel agencies flooding the market.
This means that although people are always traveling, you have to position yourself uniquely to attract their attention. What differentiates you from your competition? Finding that unique selling point is thus quite necessary.
Increased Transparency in Prices
The internet age has brought with it a few challenges. Unlike in the past, customers are no longer naïve when it comes to matters of prices. A lot of information is readily available online, and they can access it at any time.
This means that customers can now browse for different prices and offers and choose the one that best fits their budget and needs. What this has done is to make the market even more competitive.
Travel agents now have to offer more than just price undercuttings to survive in this market.
It Can be Stressing
How is being a travel agent stressful with all the perks, travels, and flexibility? Well, as we mentioned earlier, the job comes with its share of challenges and drawbacks.
Travel agents can get bombarded with work pressures from all sides, such as:
- The need to always have up-to-date information
- Peak season pressures
- Ever looming risk of being fired – for the employed agents
- Commission-based pay – no sales, no pay
All these are stress-contributing factors that can make this job, not so amazing for those who don’t want to deal with constant pressure.
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Possible Customer Lawsuits
This is one thing that can hurt both your reputation and finances. Just like in many other business fields, customers nowadays tend to use lawsuits more when trying to settle disputes. You might find yourself being sued by a customer claiming such things as negligence or misrepresentation.
And although you are not responsible for what happens during the trip, your clients expect you to offer accurate trip information and advice.
Having an insurance policy to cover for such occurrences might ideally come in handy.
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What is Exciting about Being a Travel Agent?
More and More Travel
If you love traveling, then this will really be an exciting career. Travel agents get lots of chances to travel for research and familiarization – FAM travels. As travel destinations, tours, and hotels are competing for travelers, they often offer travel agents discounted travels, to entice them into recommending clients.
This means that the agents can enjoy numerous travels, and are not always stuck behind a computer and a phone. For people passionate about travel, being a travel agent allows you to work and enjoy travel at all at once.
Make Money Doing what You Love
If travel is your thing, then selling travel products and planning tours for people might be just what you need. Being a travel agent allows you to make a living while pursuing your passion. You’ll spend more time researching and planning for tours, helping others create life-long memories.
Although the job might be challenging and demanding, seeing the smiles on customers’ faces is enough joy for some people. Better still, since you are passionate about this, making enough commissions won’t be that daunting.
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A Chance to be an Entrepreneur
There’s no better feeling than having complete control of your work. Becoming a travel agent offers you multiple options to achieve this. This means that you no longer have to endure your boss’s sharp spying eyes all day long.
You can now plan your day’s work with greater freedom, and find ways to satisfy your clients better. You can perfectly plan for everything from pick up, mode of travel, destination, to travel concierge services, to ensure that your clients are happy.
Being your own boss also means that you can earn what you desire.
Do Travel Agents Get Discounts for Themselves?
Most often than not, travel agents encounter numerous questions like, “do travel agents travel for free, or do travel agents get discounts on flights?” People asking these questions are mostly interested in joining the travel industry and want to know the benefits that come with it.
The truth of the matter is, travel agents are not offered free flights or tours. However, they often get discounted trips from travel destinations and hotels that seek recommendations from such agents. These discounted trips are mostly research-based for the travel agent as they try to get the best places to recommend for their clients.
Also, since travel agents are always up to date with the trends in the industry, they can easily spot trips offered at the lowest prices and book for themselves. Better still, they sometimes get to earn commissions on their personal trips.
Conclusion on the Pros and Cons of Being a Travel Agent
Even with the many benefits associated with being a travel agent, no business is immune to challenges. However, these challenges have solutions that can help turn them around, leaving more benefits than drawbacks.
Understanding both the pros and cons of being a travel agent is a significant step towards an informed career decision making. We hope that this article was helpful enough for that big decision.
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