Is travel consultant a dream job?
Thinking about the tourism industry, people often dream of always travelling around the world while making a living. For most people, it is a fleeting whim at a moment of dissatisfaction with their current work, but for others, the dream is real and, more importantly, they have a desire to realize it.
One way to do this is to become a travel consultant for luxury travel, and it is possible in all areas of business: law, finance, beauty, fashion, media, education, and much more. This is a job that Oprah Winfrey described as one of the "Happiest jobs in America."
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, growth in travel and tourism outpaces any other sector with 7.2 per cent growth and thousands of new Travel Consultant jobs. By attending events such as Virtuoso Travel Week, surrounded by the best travel consultants and suppliers in the luxury travel industry, you can understand that there is an opportunity to make real money by planning trips for others. For example, in a few years, especially talented agents move from a full career to millions of dollars in business.
Any job is a massive challenge in the beginning if it costs something. Here are some of the best tips that anyone who wants to try their hand in the tourism industry will need.
Are you wondering how to become a travel consultant? Well, after all, the No1 product that you sell is yours.
1. Have a passion for travel as a lifestyle
There are many variations on this topic, for example: "If you don't travel by yourself, you shouldn't work in this field" and "You should love to travel; otherwise, this work is not for you". You must like to go very, very much, and have a passion for sharing this love. Otherwise, you will burn out quickly. Some of the work may seem glamorous, but most of it is as far from perfect as any other work.
2. It would help if you had a small black book of potential business
Before you start your career, you need to have a list of people to call first. This, in turn, will lead to more reviews and more bookings. You solve other people's problems and support the realization of your dreams.
3. You need to be able to present the product
Those who are looking for a travel consultant are actually spending more, and your value should be clear to those people. Whatever you do should make their lives and plan more comfortable and better. At Virtuoso Travel Week, you can find that the satisfaction rate from booking online is 28%, while the satisfaction rate from booking with a consultant is 78%. Matthew Upchurch, Chairman and CEO of Virtuoso, shared his opinion that you should understand your value and specificity by projecting confidence and capability in the planning process between a client and consultant. This establishes trust, satisfaction, and the likelihood that the client will continue booking with you.
4. Reconciliation with the travel consortium and the agency
There are several networks of agencies and consultants where you can implement yourself, and all this comes down to the benefits for you and your clients. In addition to the hotel, tour operator, and cruise line benefits, check out the commission structures and educational programs offered. Virtuoso, an organization focused only on luxury travel and producing $9.6 billion a year, offers its members a highly sought after benefits structure. Fine Hotels & Resorts program provides exclusive amenities valued up to $450 per stay, providing real value for customers. Virtuoso Trust is an educational program with extensive training on issues such as sales skills and vendor webinars. They are also dedicated to power relations and community, with the help of always available and suppliers who are willing to go higher and higher to ensure customer satisfaction. Annual conferences are vital to building relationships like the notorious Virtuoso Travel Week, where Las Vegas hosts 4,000 travel consultants and suppliers of luxury goods.
Other consortiums include Signature Travel Network, Ensemble, and Travel Leaders. When choosing an agency and consortium, find out if they have any clients for you or if you are solely responsible. Will you have a niche such as cruises, tours, or resorts? With whom will you work on destinations that you do not know so much about? When you first start, will an experienced consultant at the agency be your mentor?
5. Subscribe to Trade Magazine and Online Newsletters
For travel consultants such TravelAge West, Luxury Travel Advisor, Travel Agent, [email protected], Vacation Agent, and TravelPulse, there are information resources to keep you up to date with what is happening in the industry. Virtuoso Life is only available to those who work in the network.
6. Use social networks to stimulate sales
You must develop creative, innovative ways to market for yourself and what you do. Stacy Small, CEO of Elite Travel International, based in Los Angeles, told on Virtuoso Travel Week about how her business has quadrupled in the last three years thanks to social networks. "The time I spend updating my Facebook and Twitter is a modern way to directly market," she says. "Everyone in my life, starting 20 years ago, now knows what I do for a living. You don't have to send mailings or cards to everyone anymore."
Advice from a young elite travel consultant
Kristen Korey Pike is a young corporate travel consultant who has travelled from the corporate world to start a new journey. Last year she was recognized as one of the Top 35 travel agents of Travel Agent magazine. Kristen has been working on the advisory board of Saveur Travel magazine for the second year, preparing epicurean routes published in the magazine. Pike was born for this job - as a child, she lived in the United Arab Emirates and England, studied abroad in Paris and London, speaks French and spoken Arabic. She even planned two weddings for herself and her husband in Sea Island, Georgia, and Beirut, Lebanon. "After the perfect coordination of 30 Americans who went to Lebanon, I decided to find a way to translate my passion into a career. Not only did I enjoy every step of the planning process, but it was incredibly satisfying to realize that I had created an unforgettable life experience for my guests," she says. She now works for Currie & Co. And she travels around Atlanta as an independent contractor.
What does a consultant need to do to succeed?
According to Pike, "It's essential to communicate our value effectively to the consumer in the first place. Just as our clients work with financial consultants, if they don't understand what we're offering them, no level of trust is necessary for a successful client-consultant relationship."
"Today's luxury traveller comes back with a sense of vendetta and is in constant development, so it is essential to understand the needs of their clients. Last December, I visited the International Luxury Travel Market in Cannes as a buyer to obtain some economic prospects for future luxury travel. I believe in giving our clients additional opportunities that separate authentic travel from tourism. As we are our demographic group, we fully appreciate what our clients are looking for. I have an extensive range of clients; I started simply with family and friends, and it's incredible how things have changed since then. My client base has expanded from all over the United States to Europe, Asia, and the Middle East."
Social networks play a significant role in the development of this business. For example, Facebook and Twitter provide unique opportunities to share experiences and ideas with clients as well as potential clients, which often sparkles with business opportunities.
Undoubtedly, travelling around the world and calling it your job brings a lot of pleasure and helps to avoid the routine of classic office work.
However, like any other industry, tourism requires sincere interest and constant skills development. Are you ready to trade a typical working day from 9 to 6 for a spontaneous life on suitcases?
Aytan lives in Milan, Italy for 3 years now and has always been passionate about traveling and discovering new beautiful places all over the world. As of 2020, she has been to 10 countries and numerous cities which she lost the number of but the majority of them are definitely located in beautiful Italy. She loves digital marketing, art, music, and tries to find beauty in the smallest moments of our life. Her recent interest in spiritual growth has taught her one simple truth: "The most beautiful things in life are abstract." So, surely we can add travel to the list of these most beautiful things!