Step One Self Assessment
Starting your own travel business is not hard to do. We will break it down to four simple steps.
Step One - Self Assessment
- Do you love to travel?
- Do you like helping other people?
- Do you like learning about new and exotic destinations?
- Are you self motivated to work toward financial success for yourself and your family?
If your answers to one or more of the above questions is 'yes,' then you are qualified to become a home based travel agent! Self motivated people who are passionate about travel and helping others, are exactly the type of people that succeed at selling travel. There are no prerequisite educational requirements for entering the travel industry. Isn't it time you start doing something that you love, while earning a living for yourself and your family?
Step Two Understanding Licensing, Affiliations, and Agencies
The most asked question in regard to entering the travel industry is, "Do I need a license to be a travel agent?" The short answer is, "In most states, NO, you don't." Currently, California, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa and Washington have requirements for travel agents to register, post bonds, or contribute to a state restitution fund. Most other states have no special licensing required in order to sell travel products. Check with your local state business offices to check for specific requirements. Just like opening any other business, you will probably have to register a business name with your city or county. Again, simply check with your local taxing authority to determine what documents you will need to do business in your city.
Most travel vendors and suppliers (aka - cruise lines, tour operators, all-inclusive resorts, etc.),will require that you have certain affiliations or credentials before they will allow you to sell their products. The main credentialing agencies are ARC, CLIA, and IATA. Each of these organizations require proof of sales volume or industry experience in order to issue their credentials. Newcomers to the industry may not be able to obtain these affiliations and credentials until they have been in the business for 1-2 years. So, if you are not able to get these credentials until you have been in the business, but can't do business until you have the credentials, how do you actually get into the travel industry? There are basically two paths into the travel industry.
The first way to enter the travel industry is by working for an existing agency. This will give you time to learn and sell travel, but will also limit your ability to earn top commissions and experience the freedom of working your own hours and owning your own business. The second, and most common way for individuals to establish their own travel business and gain access to all of the related benefits of ARC, CLIA, and IATA affiliations is to function as an Independent Contractor with a good Host Agency.
What is a Host Agency?
The Host Agency provides you, the Independent Contractor, an easier entry into the travel business by sharing the benefits of the host’s travel industry conference appointments, ARC-CLIA-IATA, which require bonding, years of industry work experience, testing and continuing education. The host agency also provides access to continuing training programs; office & technical support, backup, industry travel vendor contacts etc., to enable you to spend productive time in developing sales and earning the majority of commission (70%) for your efforts. The host also provides invoicing, ticketing, booking knowledge, and support every step of the way to help you succeed in your new business endeavor. When conducting your research into starting a home based travel business, it is very important that you consider the advantages of working with a HOST agency that specializes in working with new entrepreneurs. You will have a lot of questions when you first enter this industry and need someone who will take the time to explain how things work. Do not be surprised from your research findings that many Host agency’s are NOT interested in working with new entrepreneurs and only want to sign-up those experienced agents with an established clientele. This is where LTA Central really shines as a host agency. LTA Central's staff has the education, training, experience and desire to help you succeed.
Step Three - Evaluating A Good Host Agency
Here are a few things to consider:
Is the Host Agency recognized by ARC, CLIA, and IATA? Does the Host Agency have a good reputation with travel vendors? Is the Host Agency staffed by people who are experienced, knowledgeable, and willing to take time with new home based travel agents to help them succeed? How long has the Host Agency been on business? What type of training does the Host Agency offer? What is the cost for joining the Host Agency? Since 1974, we have been helping people, just like you, to get a solid start in the travel industry. Host Agency Affiliation as an independent contractor with International Tours of Houston includes access to our full appointment credentials with ARC, CLIA, IATA, and others. You will also benefit from the relationships that we have built with all of the major travel providers and their local representatives. We also provide access to our special New Owner's Training, Travel Industry Manual, product training, vendor training, travel agent familiarization trips, phone support and office support that includes invoicing, ticketing and help with research tips that will help you provide the best value to your clients.
While other host agencies charge an average of $495 or more for access to their agency services, LTA Central wants you to be able to get started with minimal expense. Below is our current startup costs.
Initial Investment: $175*
A pre-payment of $175 is required to join our travel program. This amount would apply to a single owner, partnership or corporation and permits the issuance of one TRAMS account number, one Cruise & Tour Manual, a New Entrepreneurs Orientation session at LTA Central offices, and a single name registration with IATAN. Additional Independent Contractor names from partnerships or corporation entities may be added as the IC entity qualifies with the IATAN earnings guidelines in effect at that time - currently $5000 in annual earned commissions from sales made via the Host Agency in one fiscal year. *Note: The annual renewal fee ($100) beginning with the first anniversary sign-up date is waived if the IC has earned a minimum of $600 in sales commissions via LTA Central in the previous year.
Travel Agent's Professional Liability Insurance (Errors & Omissions) $100
For your protection, LTA Central requires you to participate in either the LTA Central E&O program (the most economical way to cover yourself), in which you are charged for the E&O coverage provided via the LTA Central umbrella policy, or you may purchase your own E&O insurance and add LTA Central to your policy as an additional insured. If you purchase your own E&O and include LTA Central under your coverage, the LTA Central fee of $100 is waived.
Step Four - How Do I Get Started Today?
2) Call our office at 713-785-2682.
3) Set up a date for your New Owner's Training
4) Start enjoying your New HomeBased Travel Business!
It's that easy. Don't wait. Make the call today. If you have further questions or would like to know more about our Home Based Travel Business Program, please give us a call or send an email. We will be happy to help you in any way we can.