Post # 1
Hi Bee’s –
I am seriously considering becoming a certified travel agent. I don’t want to do it for business purposes I want to do it for my family. This year ALONE, my family has spent around $30,000 on travel. We have been severely disappointed by some of the travel agents we have worked with. I am an extremely organized person and would actually enjoy booking and planning our family vacations. We are planning to go to Dubai as a family next year and then to Italy in another two years. Travel agents have access to better deals than we do but I don’t always feel like we get the best deals from them.
Are any Bee’s travel agents? What company do you work for? Do you have any suggestions?
Post # 2
Where do you live? No offense to anyone but I feel like travel agents are going to be obsolete within ten years. I plan tons of vacations and do it all online through sites like orbitz, trip advisor, Travelocity etc. I couldn’t even tell you how to go about booking a trip with a travel agent here in the states, nor would I ever pay for one.
Post # 3
If it would save you enough money for the hastle, go for it! I actually don’t know anyone besides my 76 year old (and rich) boss who uses them anymore…
Post # 4
We live in VA. There were SO many of us going we wanted everyone to pay a monthly price so that they could afford the trip. No one wanted to be a “collection agency” so we utilized a travel agent to collect the monthly fee towards the trip. They also have access to many things that we cannot do. For instance, our travel agent was able to change the name on a plane ticket to a different person with no fee at all, however we a non travel agent does this you cannot change the name for any reason at all. I also want to be able to coordinate day trips in oversea countries for layovers.
Post # 5
BWLE: shelbyBee: Forgot to add you in my previous reply.
Post # 6
That makes perfect sense! I think if you have the time/desire to do it, you might as well!
Post # 7
my DH plans most of our vacations and family vacations. he is an amazing itinerary planner.
when we booked our honeymoon (2 weeks to Italy) we priced it our with a travel agent. we booked through a website that was a 1/3 the cost.
maybe that travel agent was taking a huge cut. but i find with good research, you can travel with the best deal.
ETA: southwest lets you change your flight at no extra cost, you just pay the difference in flight price if there is one. i typically only fly with southwest.
Post # 8
Meant2Bee: BWLE: Actually you are right they are going obsolete, people can book their own trips andif you’re savvy enough save a lot of money. Of course agents do have access to systems that make it easier to peice together deals that may be hard to do on your own. I am studying Hospitaliy and Tourism as a major (it’s a business major degree with the tourism focus) and most of my professors think agents are not as usefull thanks to the internet and online booking systems available to the public, but there are ways as a travel agent to meet a niche market that people can’t get themselves….my professor calls it a travel “concierge”, and basically the concept is to build trips for people based on profile types (imagin calling up and not havinga specific place you want to go and someone builds you a trip that you never thought of based on a profile you may have answered). It’s more of a specialty market…..
of course travel agents are still used now, but they are getting less needed. For example my honeymoon I wanted to go to Mexico then fly to Disneyworld. I called an agent from Toronto where I live, and they couldnèt get my flights cheap enough. I asked them to price out flights out of buffalo, NY and theycouldnèt do that. I eneded up booking my own trip, I booked direct with the resort in Mexico and my own flights I peiced together from 2 different sights (my frlight from Buffalo to Cancun then from Cancun to Orlando, then Orlando to Buffalo) and I saved about $1500 from the quote from the agent. For my Disney trip, I went to a specialty agent who does only Disney, and although the price was not that different from booking direct with Disney, they offered special promotions and personal service, and when I had issues at Disney they took care of it.
Post # 9
KingsDaughter: For the things that you purchased online were you able to make payments or was it a pay in full type of thing?
Post # 10
My mother worked for a travel agency for 25 years. It’s nothing like it used to be. Few people use travel agents for random family vacations these days. Most travel agents work with busisness people and for tours.
Being a travel agent used to come with lots of perks. When I was a kid my mom would get 2 free domestic airline tickets every year, just for working at a travel agency. And we often got upgraded for flights and hotel rooms. She once wone plane tickets to Alaska for an office Halloween costume contest. Now there aren’t nearly as many perks. No more free tickets and even upgrades are pretty uncommon. There are still some “deals” that are available to travel agents, but they’re becoming fewer and fewer and there are also deals for booking online and bypassing a travel agent! You can still, sometimes, get perks at the hotels but airlines are running such slim margins these days that there really isn’t a lot of room for deals/perks in flights.
I’m not sure what it takes to get licensed, but if it’s not a big deal it wouldn’t hurt. But I would imagine that a lot of the perks come from knowing the right people and places to go, which comes from experience working at an agency, not from getting a licence. But if it’s something you’d enjoy and it doesn’t cost much, why not?
Post # 11
Meant2Bee: We paid with a credit card (that gave travel points) so we made credit card payments. I think the resort took payments (not small frequent though), but we just paid it all at once.
Post # 12
The GDS fees (fees to use the airline/hotel computer feeds) are extremely high (Over $1000/month if you want to use both SABRE and SHARES, which would cover probably 90% of airlines worldwide). You can’t get certified as a travel agent just to save money booking personal travel, because the fees will be more than the savings. You’re not going to save $12k on $30k annual spend. If you want to become a travel agent and make a living doing it, you’ll need to be highly specialized, and cater to a customer base that no one else is servicing. LGBTQ, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities are good niche markets right now but will probably be tapped out in the next 5 years.