Independent Travel Agents Association

Travel Images - Bruce Bennett/Getty Images News/Getty ImagesBruce Bennett/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Becoming an independent travel agent can still be a very profitable business to consider. According to a study by ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents), and NACTA ((National Association of Career Travel Agents), 57 percent of independent travel agents saw an increase in sales in 2010, even with the downturned economy.

The study from ASTA and NACTA also concludes that:

  • Seventy-five percent of the study participants have a cruise niche, and earn an average of 14% commission.
  • Most agents averaged 33 hours per work week and one third said that was their primary source of income.
  • 91% of the agents split commissions with a host agency.
  • The Caribbean and Mexico were the top selling destinations.
  • Most home based agents have between 10 and 19 years of travel experience.

This study rather proves the fact that an independent travel agent does not require experience as a travel agent, though knowledge and experience is quite helpful to develop customer confidence in the agent’s ability. Developing a niche specialty of travel, such as cruise sales, can be one of the most important factors in developing a travel business. A successful agent needs to develop knowledge and experience about some aspect of travel. The study also shows that most independent agents do not use a GDS, which is important to have in order to sell airline tickets. An inexperienced agent can sell a cruise with some basic training and cruise vacation experiences. But to sell airline tickets efficiently requires experience and more training.

Needless to say agents with more experience, knowledge, and salesmanship should have an easier time of developing a profitable home based travel business.

Some essential characteristics to look for in a host agency:

  • Does the company offer agent support, including accounting, technical, marketing and commission tracking?
Popular Q&A
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