Regardless of what you see on Instagram, being a journey agent isn’t at all times glamorous. As wonderful as it’s to jet world wide, you additionally need to preserve in touch with shoppers 24/7/365—it doesn’t matter what timezone you’re in. And whereas technically anybody can work on this area, solely those that are detail-oriented and meticulously organized will excel. So we talked to former journey agent Katelyn O’Shaughnessy and present agent Erina Pindar to seek out out what their jobs are literally like.

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You’ll make a good residing, and also you’ll get to journey the world like a rockstar

“Take into consideration this as a life-style reasonably than a profession,” says O’Shaughnessy. The pay is not essentially exorbitant —the median revenue is $38,700 a 12 months, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, however in line with Pindar, it will probably truly be a lot larger. “Brokers make wherever from $50-100Okay on the low finish and as much as $250-500Okay yearly,” says Pindar. However there is no different trade the place you get to journey like this. You will recurrently go on discounted journeys to luxurious resorts sponsored by lodge corporations, so based mostly in your Instagram alone, your pals will certainly assume you are residing the excessive life.

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You receives a commission on fee, that means you earn cash based mostly on the journeys you e book to your consumer.

The majority of your wage will come from fee, so at the start, you are a salesman. Once you’re an in-house agent with a journey company (on-staff positions at companies are more and more uncommon, btw, however they’re nonetheless in demand), you sometimes have a base wage and a fee cut up. This may differ from company to company, and likewise is dependent upon your stage of expertise. For instance, for example you’ve got an 80–20 fee cut up. Which means when you receives a commission 10 % fee on reserving a lodge, 80 % of that fee goes to your company when you preserve 20 %. When you’ve rounded up sufficient shoppers, you may develop into an impartial agent, which suggests you’re employed for your self however stay affiliated with a number company. As an impartial agent, you lose the bottom wage however get to maintain your fee.

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When you work as an impartial agent, you want your personal insurance coverage.

To illustrate you make a mistake in your shoppers’ itinerary, inflicting them to overlook their first-class flight, which prices $6,000 a seat. When you did one thing unsuitable, you are liable. “There are a whole bunch of issues that may go unsuitable, and they’re going to,” warns O’Shaughnessy. You positively want errors and omissions insurance coverage, which may be costly, however when you by chance screw one thing up, you do not have to pay out of pocket for the price of the error.

“Journey brokers” and “journey advisors” are comparatively synonymous, although advisors have a tendency to make use of a extra holistic planning technique.

Whereas up to now, journey brokers primarily assisted in reserving lodging, a journey advisor helps present a consumer with a broader image of their journey. “If somebody says, ‘I need to go to Cabo and I need to do all of those adventurous issues,’ We might say, ‘Okay, nice, you may go to Cabo, however you could not need to keep on the strip. You might need to contemplate the brand new 4 Seasons that simply opened on the cape as a result of there’s much more journey on that facet of the vacation spot,'” explains Pindar.

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You do not want any particular coaching to get began.

Not like being an actual property agent, the place you need to move a sequence of assessments to show you already know your stuff. “After I began working as a journey agent proper out of school, I did not know something,” insists O’Shaughnessy. “I might barely even traveled out of Portland, the place I grew up. I received the job after a sequence of persistent emails and a great first interview. It is positively helpful to know issues like fundamental historical past and geography however there are not any actual required abilities.”

Journey brokers have a tendency to come back from quite a lot of backgrounds—you may change careers at any level in your life and develop into a journey agent with a fairly low barrier to entry. However in line with Pindar, it does takes a selected persona to be a top quality agent. “One factor that every one of our brokers have in frequent is that they’re nice salespeople, as a result of on the finish of the day, it is a gross sales job,” she says.

Being type-A can also be a plus: It’s essential to be a meticulous planner, a wonderful researcher, and possess excessive consideration to element. “It is simple to place somebody in a fantastic room,” says Pindar, “however when you do not forget that they are going there for his or her anniversary and also you’re in some way capable of get an image from their marriage ceremony to be put within the room and their favourite champagne that they popped on their marriage ceremony day, these little issues make a distinction.”

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Creating a distinct segment is crucial.

Nobody can have an encyclopedic information of the entire world, so essentially the most profitable journey brokers select a specialty. You would possibly give attention to cruises, or African safaris, or journeys to Italy. “[Before I started my company] I specialised in honeymoons and journey for vacation spot weddings, which I narrowed all the way down to Tahiti, Fiji, Mexico, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. I knew each lodge, each restaurant, and each tour in these areas that associated to a romantic trip,” says O’Shaughnessy.

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Touring is an everyday a part of the job, nevertheless it’s not a trip.

Each few months, journey brokers go on “fam journeys,” brief for “familiarization,” and so they sound each ah-maz-ing and tiring, in line with O’Shaughnessy:

“You strive every thing you’d need to promote to your shoppers: You sleep within the resorts, eat the meals, get the massages. Generally you may even carry a visitor. The primary few instances, it feels ridiculously luxurious, and it’s. However you are there to work. It’s a must to be up at 7 a.m. the following day and stay skilled whereas visiting as many as 10 lodge websites in a day, inspecting every of the rooms, and taking notes on every thing. You’ll be able to’t sleep in and chill out on the seashore such as you would on an actual trip.”

Pindar echoes the identical sentiment: “90% of the time once we do journey, it is usually for instructional functions.” Journey advisors must know a vacation spot inside and outside, as they usually make suggestions based mostly on expertise. Whereas touring, the times can get lengthy. You are anticipated to attend breakfast conferences, exit all day, and by the point dinner’s over, you’ll want to make amends for emails. “Despite the fact that individuals assume you are touring and it is glamorous, it is plenty of work,” says Pindar.

On that notice, you *will* cease taking regular holidays.

Some journey brokers do nonetheless journey for enjoyable, however most will do not less than one lodge website inspection or different work-related job whereas they’re there. The trade could be very small, so when lodge reps see in your Instagram that you just’re in London, they’re going to insist you come say hi there, see the most recent transform, and check out the brand new menu on the lodge restaurant— generally even for a reduction! “It is a double-edged sword: You will have buddies and free swag in all places you go, however you may by no means actually journey with out pondering of labor,” says O’Shaughnessy. No matter connections, you are not touring without cost. With reductions come expectations, AKA, receiving enterprise out of your shoppers in return. Moreover, you will need to entrance your personal journey charges identical to everybody else, in line with Pindar.

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And by the way in which, holidays kinda suck.

The “365” a part of 24/7/365 shouldn’t be a joke. Holidays are essentially the most tense time of the 12 months for journey brokers, since so a lot of your shoppers might be touring.

Lodge reps will develop into your finest buddies.

Once you’re working in an company, lodge reps will are available in each single day to provide shows about why you must advocate their lodge to your shoppers. Upon getting a distinct segment, you will see the identical journey reps at your common fam journeys and you may develop a relationship with them from recurrently sending them enterprise. “These relationships are tremendous necessary,” says O’Shaughnessy, “as a result of when you’ll want to name in a favor, like upgrading somebody’s room, you’ve got somebody to hook it up.”

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Studying to e book journey is like studying a brand new language.

Each journey company has entry to a program referred to as World Distribution System, which lists choices for airfare, resorts, automotive leases, and so forth. “You’d assume it will have a clear interface like Expedia, however no, it is extra like Microsoft circa 1990. It’s a must to know very particular codes to do something; for instance, to search for flight choices, you need to sort this image ‡ referred to as the Cross of Lorraine, adopted by your request. It is virtually like studying how one can code,” says O’Shaughnessy. So, yeah, it will probably take some time to get conversant in it.

Your shoppers will act such as you’re their private butler.

You *will* get the occasional 2 a.m. name from a consumer in Europe asking for particulars that you just positively included on their itinerary. “I as soon as had a consumer name me from a cruise ship—which is basically arduous to do!—to inform me that she could not get the tv to work in her room and will I name somebody to repair it?” remembers O’Shaughnessy. It might probably positively veer into the realm of ridiculous, however you need to do not forget that individuals can get very anxious about journey—your job is to be out there and ensure they’re taken care of. That is a part of the added worth of reserving your journey with a journey agent.

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However the factor is…you might be answerable for their time.

“When you purchase one thing, you may return it and get your a reimbursement,” says Pindar, “however when you go on trip and spend $30,000 on a weeklong journey and it is horrible, you’ll by no means get that point again.” There’s plenty of stress concerned in ensuring shoppers are having the holiday they envisioned, which suggests being there for them each step of the way in which, even when they’re in a unique time zone. “It’s a must to act like [your client’s] handler in a approach,” says Pindar.

Shoppers will rent you time and again to your thoughtfulness.

Journey is a really private factor, and one of the best journey brokers have empathy for what the person traveler desires to get out of the journey, whether or not it is lovely recollections with their household or an journey or a deeper understanding of the native tradition. “Since I labored primarily with honeymoons and weddings, I might recurrently use my lodge connections to ensure my shoppers had a bottle of wine ready for them of their room or a pair’s picture subsequent to the mattress,” says O’Shaughnessy. “These private touches are the explanation individuals proceed to make use of journey brokers reasonably than reserving for themselves on-line.”

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And lastly, journey brokers are usually not a dying breed.

“Each time I inform somebody I am a journey agent, they’re like, ‘Wait, journey brokers nonetheless exist?’ The reply: Sure, and we nonetheless account for one-third of all journey booked in the USA,” insists O’Shaughnessy. It is nonetheless a worthwhile trade in the USA and there is no purpose to imagine the trade is dying off.


Katelyn O’Shaughnessy was a luxurious journey agent earlier than founding journey agent platform TripScope and later, medical tourism firm Doctours. Erina Pindar has labored as a journey agent for 13 years, and she or he’s at present the Managing Director of SmartFlyer, a journey company based mostly within the U.S. and Australia.


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