Wellness isn’t the only thing that’s taking a break this year – the demand for travel and leisure has declined, and along with it, the opportunity to make money from travel and leisure.
However, that doesn’t mean that your travel agency career is over. There are plenty of ways to earn a living from home, and one of the most profitable is to ramp up online holiday sales.
Thanks to the proliferation of online markets and shopping hubs, there are plenty of opportunities to make extra cash without leaving home. While it can be tempting to think that the world has ended and that you no longer need to be active in the travel agency world, it’s still a profitable and fulfilling career, just in a different way.
If you’re looking to make extra money from home, the best way to go about it is by ramping up online holiday sales. Keep reading for some tips on how to do just that.
Leverage Your Network And Social Media
In the past, travel agents would rely quite heavily on word of mouth to generate business. However, with social media, this is easily done digitally and, quite often, much more effectively.
Instead of relying on your personal network to find customers, you can use various platforms to generate and engage with potential buyers. Doing so can be extremely profitable, as you can charge businesses for the privilege of being their official travel agent.
The key to generating business through social media is to use platforms that people actually want to be on. For example, if you’re using Facebook, make sure that you plug into other local businesses, groups, and events that are relevant to your niche. Doing so can not only generate business for your personal account, but can also assist with brand awareness, SEO, and website traffic.
Keep Good Records And Track Your Marketing Efforts
In the past, travel agents would have to rely on their memory to keep track of tickets sold and expenses incurred. Fortunately, there are many tools today that make this task much easier. Some of the more popular ones are CRM (customer relationship management) and XRM (extended relationship management).
With these types of tools, you can create automated emails and welcome letters, as well as follow up emails and phone calls, all from the convenience of your computer. You can also set up automatic daily or weekly reports that keep track of all your income and expenses in one place, so you can easily follow up with any needed adjustments. Doing so also helps you keep good records, which is critical if you want to be able to prove to potential clients that you genuinely made the effort to secure them business.
Utilize Technology To The Max
While there are certainly times when traditional travel agencies can generate a lot of business through personal relationships, oftentimes, electronic communication is all that’s needed to generate a contract or sell a ticket. Therefore, it’s important to completely transform your workflow and make the most of technology wherever and whenever you can.
Thanks to things like online shops (e-commerce), automated email responders, and online travel agents like Hotels.com and Travelocity, much of the work that used to be done in person can now be done from the convenience of your home. This not only conveniences your clients, but also saves you a significant amount of time, which you can then use to sell more tickets.
If you’re looking to make the most of this new paradigm, try and understand the various components that go into selling a travel product. From marketing strategies to pricing, discounts, and incentives, to follow-up emails and phone calls, the process can seem a bit daunting.
Offer A Money-back Travel Incentive
One of the ways that traditional travel agents used to make money was through discounts and incentives for travel agents and travel planners who sold a certain amount of travel plans annually. However, with the emergence of the travel industry (online and offline), these incentives have completely changed.
With travel agencies being replaced by travel planners, the need for sales incentives has diminished, as they already receive a commission for each ticket they sell. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of reasons why an incentive may be beneficial. To generate business, you may choose to offer a money-back travel incentive, which requires the purchaser to make a certain number of travel plans within a year. (Keep in mind that travel agencies are usually barred from selling travel plans with a money-back guarantee due to a conflict of interest with the partner travel agency).
Make Sure That You Are Following The Proper Trademark And Legal Procedures
The last thing that you want to do is damage your business with a sloppy attempt at copying another business. While trademark and legal challenges can be vexing, they can also be costly and damaging to your business. For example, drawing a direct comparison to fly or die, staying at a Howard Johnson is not a good idea if you wish to attract hotel and tourist travelers. (Actually, staying at a Howard Johnson is quite dangerous, as you’ll discover if you look up health complaints at the Howard Johnson website).
Before you begin your travel agency career, it is of paramount importance to learn the dos and don’ts of this profession and ensure that you are mindful of all legal and trademark demerits, as well as ensure that you’re complying with all requirements set forth by the relevant government authorities. (Note: these requirements can change frequently, so you must be constantly researching the latest regulations.)
Above all else, be mindful of your clients’ feelings and concerns, as they are the lifeblood of your agency. By understanding and meeting their travel needs, you will be able to provide them with satisfaction and keep them coming back for more.