Being a Home Based Travel Agent in 2021 Could Be Your Best Job Ever!
Here is How Travel Agents Make Money and How much Income Can Be Made as travel Professionals!
How Travel Agents Make Money ?
As the COVID-19 pandemic winds down and the travel industry slowly wakes up, it is an excellent time to review what kind of an income a travel professional can make in 2021. The likelihood that a travel professional will make more money than before the pandemic is very real. Let’s look at what has happened. The pandemic shut the travel industry down and many travel professionals chose to leave the industry, as there was virtually no way to generate an income. Suppliers let their direct sales staff go, as again, there was nothing for them to do. Those suppliers that survived the shut down are left in weakened positions and will be looking for the travel agent distribution channel for support. Consumers who were burned by booking directly with suppliers, OTAs and other distribution channels that could, or would not offer the necessary support to consumers to resolve their refund issues will now look towards travel professionals for assistance with their vacations. All in all, it is a perfect storm benefitting travel professionals.
To make matters even a little more confusing is the fact that different travel agents have different expectations, so when trying to estimate what an “average” income might be you are lumping all different types into one glass. As an example, if you lump 10-part-time travel agents earning $4,000 per year with 1-full time agent focused on a high yield niche making $150K per year, you come out with an average income per person of $17,273. You can see how ludicrous this figure is. To further complicate the issue is that a business netting $150K per year is quite likely to be a subchapter S corporation and is only paying themselves a modest salary and taking the leftover profit as a distribution of corporate profits to avoid self-employment taxes. That being the case, then saying he or she took a salary of $50K, that would make the average income only $8,182. This also begs the question of travel benefits. If a part time travel agent making $4,000 per year receives another $100K a year in discounted travel benefits, should that also be counted as part of his or her income?
One of the most wonderful aspects of being a home-based travel business is that you are free to create whatever you want. The true answer to “How Travel Agents Make Money? and how much can I make as a travel professional in 2021” is that you can make as much as you want. It just all depends on your business plan, niche and expectations. This article assumes that you are looking to generate a 6-figure income from your home based travel business and that you intend to operate it full time as a profession. That said, we are sharing the travel niches that have the capacity to make this happen for you.
Before we get into what your potential income might be after the pandemic has passed, here is a video tutorial that will help you understand how money is made as a home based travel agent and what you would have expected before the pandemic.
As you can see in the video there are several opportunities too generate a formidable income as a home based travel business. It just depends on what products and niche markets that you are selling and how you are selling them.
Post-Pandemic Travel Industry Realities
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected the travel industry in a number of ways.
- Cruise lines have sold or scrapped a good portion of their fleets. This equates to a smaller inventory of cabins, higher pricing and more demand. Assuming the same amount of cruisers all want to cruise, the smaller inventory will create stronger demand and higher commissions.
- Hotels and resorts have cut back to bare bones and may not be able to open with full services for months. This makes understanding the situation at hotels and resorts critical to advise consumers who have been dramatically affected.
- Airlines have cut flights and staffing and with the new demand for airline travel they are scrambling to hire all levels of staffing. This makes travel professionals extremely valuable to consumers.
- Car rental companies have dumped their fleets and are not able to keep up with the demand based on the number of cars that they can acquire.
- World-wide destinations are opening only to find that the tourism infrastructure is in weak and frail condition with many elements not able to reopen at all.
All in all, the world of travel is a complex and confusing place for consumers to navigate as the resources used in the past for research have not been updated with the current reality of the products or destinations they are considering. It is likely to be years before travel actually becomes back to what it was before the pandemic.
This makes using a travel professional that possesses current knowledge of a product or destination mandatory for consumers.
Post-Pandemic Travel Business Opportunities
So let’s focus on the opportunities at hand. Future travel is going to soar because of both the pent-up demand for travel and also the reality that millions upon millions of people have had a complete sea-change in the way that they live and work. They have realized the value of being able to travel and also working from home, or wherever they happen to be at the time. Travel itself is likely to benefit from this sea-change and travel professionals are the beneficiaries. Look for growth in the following areas of travel that represent high-yield complex transactions where agents can generate large commissions and service fees.
How Travel Agents Make Money (Infographic) and what kind of earning they can make in 2021.
Families, friends and associates are more likely to form groups after the pandemic to travel together and share the experience. Multigenerational, seniors, people of like-minds and business associates are more likely to travel in groups than before the pandemic simply because of the experience of not being able to see one-another during the shut-downs. Planning group travel requires a certain level of expertise and will reward you greatly. Margins of 25 to 35% are not uncommon when planning a sophisticated and complex group itinerary. By selling the same itinerary over and over again you not only gain operational expertise at packaging the group, you also increase your margins. One can expect to earn 6-figures if you are working full time marketing and operating group travel. If group travel is in your future, be sure to read the Ogg’s book “Selling Group Travel”
Selling luxury travel has always been an excellent niche to be in, but look for more demand for unusual luxury bucket list travel. Most luxury travelers view travel as a normal way of life and having been deprived of their ability to travel many searched out travel media for unusual and unique experiences. Now that the world is opening up, look for unique luxury experiences to become quite popular. If you cash in on this market expect to generate a six-figure income. Luxury cruises will also become in high demand and the luxury lines will look towards travel professionals to create demand for their offerings and I suspect, will be offering many incentives to get business going again.
River cruising was red hot before the pandemic started and look for it to come back with a vengeance. River cruises are all luxury cruises and completely all-inclusive of accommodations, dining, entertainment and sightseeing. They pay high commissions to travel professionals and the client’s satisfaction level is off the charts. Agents that become river cruise experts can look forward to generating an excellent income selling a product everyone wants. If you see selling river cruises in your future be sure to read the Ogg’s book “Selling River Cruises”
It is highly likely that many people will want the security of traveling with an escorted tour to limit his or her exposure to challenges that might exist in countries after opening up. Escorted tours are very popular with baby boomers and companies like Globus, Tauck, Insight and others all pay great commissions and overrides. Look for strong demand and high commission to help you reach that 6-figure goal.
There are millions upon millions of niches that can be exploited by travel. And, just about every travel niche has the opportunity to generate a substantial income. That said, here are 10 new and established niches that are quite capable of generating 6-figure incomes. Specializing in a unique niche can generate high incomes because you have the opportunity to use your expertise by packaging exclusive and sophisticated complex travel events and enjoying increased margins by doing so. Like group travel, yields of 25 to 35% are not uncommon selling niche travel. As you would imagine, the more complex, the higher the yield. Here are some niche ideas that might make sense to you.
Biking, mountain biking, bird watching, exploration cruises and travel, fishing, hunting, mountain climbing, photography, safaris, SCUBA diving, skiing, snowboarding and surfing are just some of the sub niches available for agents selling adventure travel.
Sub niches include Luxury, singles, clothing optional and groups. Many tour operators aggregate all0inclusive resorts and may offer commissions and overrides that are far higher than booking the all-inclusive resort directly.
Culinary / Foodie Travel
Domestic and international travel abounds with opportunity in this niche, especially if you are a well know chef or author. Packaging international culinary travel will reward you greatly.
Planning a destination wedding can generate huge commissions from several sources. This is a great niche when combined with also specializing in all-inclusive resorts.
Helping clients plan and execute trips for medical procedures and treatments is an excellent niche if you have specific knowledge to make the experience seamless for your client.
How Travel Agents Make Money? What kind of income they can make?
Millennials seek cultural experiences and think nothing of leading a travel-centric lifestyle, but do need a home based for support as they travel from place to place. Offering preset nomadic itineraries makes the lifestyle easy for millennials to engage.
Social Media Photo Vacations
Instagram has created a culture of travelers who only want a certain picture from a destination and are really not interested in touring a destination’s tourist attractions and sights. Putting together itineraries based on popular Instagram photos will attract this kind of traveler who will pay dearly obtain the photos.
Special Interest Travel
Is defined as the evolution of custom tourism activities that cater to the specific interests of individuals and / or groups. This could be just about any hobby, sport, business activity and just about everything else.
Exploration cruises, small ship cruises, barges, dive boats, sailing cruises and freighter travel are all unique cruise experiences that many clients want, especially after the pandemic is in the past.
Tens of millions of people were introduced to the concept of working remotely during the pandemic and found freedom from being locked into going to the office every day. Soon they will be looking for workations where they can work remotely from a vacation location with their family. Arranging work friendly accommodations for long stays will be in great demand and highly profitable.
So I hope that you see that there is no fixed income as a home based travel agent, only the opportunity to generate whatever income that meets with your expectations. Earning a 6-figure is being accomplished by tens of thousands of home-based travel businesses and is well within your reach if you focus and that is your objective of starting your travel business. But, like everything in business, the harder and smarter you work, the higher the rewards.