What are the opportunities being a travel agent?

Question

What are the opportunities being a travel agent?

nomi king 5 months 1 Answer 97 views

Answer ( 1 )

  1. Hi,

    Thank you for the A2A!

    If by opportunities you mean benefits, obviously discounts on air, hotel, and car rentals is a benefit. Often for these discounts, you will be asked to have an IATAN card as proof that you are a professional travel agent. (The annual fee for the card is about USD $25, I believe, but the discounts will more than make up for the cost.)

    For hotels, Fairmont Hotels has one of the best travel agent deals: rooms priced at USD $99 per night. (You have to have booked at least one night for a customer that they had stayed/used, I believe, in order to qualify for their agency rate.) Fairmont Hotels are quite nice, so it is a great benefit to have access to. Sonesta Hotels, though there are not many, also offer great rates and they are often very nice properties.

    The airline discounts are not as great as they used to be. Back in the late 90s I was able to fly to South America on United for about USD $500 total to Buenos Aires. Now, United’s agent rate is around $1000 or more.

    (Icelandair to Europe and Copa Airlines to Central and South America, though, still have some great travel industry airfare rates.)

    Over the years, the airlines have been drastically cutting commissions, so most travel agencies make their profits by charging service fees as the travel agents are performing a service for their customers: by assisting them with making travel arrangements.

    If you work for an agency that does a lot of volume/sales with certain airlines, you might be able to negotiate better commission percentages or negotiate contract (also known as “net”) fares: set airfares to certain destinations that are cheaper than the usual commercial airfares that the public will find online or with the airlines directly.

    One other benefit: access to travel agent only phone numbers. Often when the main phone lines for the airlines are busy, such as due to bad weather or strikes, having a separate travel agency phone line to contact them is a wonderful bonus.

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