If you’re a travel advisor, you’ve probably been asked this question and you may have even asked it yourself. Yes, we get it—travel advisors are a unique bunch and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how to be successful, but here’s some food for thought: Are you a full-time, part-time, or hobbyist travel advisor?
If you’re a hobbyist, you probably don’t think about the travel business as much as a full-time or part-time travel advisor does. You’ve got a passion for travel and helping others experience it, but chances are, you’re not necessarily trying to make this your career—it’s more likely something that you do for fun! Being a hobbyist doesn’t mean you aren’t successful at being a travel advisor because, the truth is, you could sell 5 world cruises a year, work a fraction of most advisors, and earn more than some make working all year. So, just because you may not be “all in” doesn’t mean you aren’t still actively selling.
My best advice is to make sure that no matter your level of commitment to the job you’re always committed to your clients and their best interests! Do some homework, and make sure you’re at least up-to-speed on current protocols and industry news. Also, you might want to learn a travel advisor’s basic laws and principles because this industry has a LOT of potential for liability. It’s important to remember that your clients are paying for your service and expertise. You need to be able to give them advice based on the same standards and guidelines that full-time or part-time travel advisors do as well. There are also many good things that could happen and just as many that could potentially go wrong with your client’s trip, so you need to be available for them or have the proper resources to point them in the right direction to mitigate any problem(s) that might arise.
One thing to keep in mind is that this is a VERY small industry, and you can still make a big name for yourself, even as a hobbyist! There are many people who get into the industry “just for the amazing perks” that travel advisors can receive, but if suppliers start catching wind of this, it could create a negative reputation and lead to an advisor getting banned from a particular supplier or being banned from attending FAMs, conferences, etc. So, no matter your dedication level, just ensure your heart is at least in the right place!
Now, what if you want to move into travel more part-time and eventually transition to full-time? Well, it’s easy! By dedicating some time to growing your database, building some sales goals, creating ideas of what you want/need this business to look like, and reaching out to build relationships with your supplier partners — you’re well on your way to making this hobby into a bit more of a career!
Part-time travel advisors typically work around their personal schedules and may only work for a few hours each week (typically less than 32 hours per week, but more especially between 10-25 hours on average). This allows them to have a flexible schedule to raise a family, be able to travel, enjoy life, or maybe even hold down another job.
While this is a great opportunity for many people, it often means less financial stability and reliability when it comes to your business than if you were working full-time. However, it’s important to remember that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing!
If you’re a part-time travel advisor, you can still earn just as much money as your full-time counterparts, but you also have the freedom to spend more time outside of your business. This typically also means that you have either mastered or need to learn how to manage your time effectively since you may have other obligations outside of your part-time travel advisor position.
Now, what if you love what you do and want to lean into it? Yes! You’re looking to transition into a full-time career as a travel advisor!! You can start by using the information listed above to move from hobbyist to part-time, plus you can double your knowledge each year (which is completely possible), learn about niche markets, budget out your income vs. expenses, then plan out a path to move your business in that direction. You would learn to be an expert in the industry with so many different tools and resources at your disposal that it would be easy to find your ideal clients while transitioning to a full-time position!
Full-time travel advisors typically have dedicated hours in their schedule for booking vacations for their clients, whether it be flights, hotels, cruises, or even tours. They likely have their own clients, they may even have their own brand/business, possibly some ICs or employees working with them, and they may even have multiple offices spread out across different states! It’s important to note that while most people associate full-time with “working 40+ hours per week,” there are many full-time travel advisors who work fewer hours than that but still make a living solely from their travel business. On the flip side, there are some full-time advisors working as solopreneurs, absolutely crushing it, and may be working as little as 20 or more than 80 hours each week as well.
So, what if finances are your biggest concern? Here’s an example to think about: a full-time travel advisor could work as little as 10 hours per week but still bring in $3000-$5000/month if they were able to focus on their goals! If this sounds unrealistic or far-fetched, think about how much you’ve learned about the travel industry in just one year.
Let’s chat about it. How much have you earned or even booked this year? Are you on track to hit your goals? What could you do to make sure you reach it? Calculate your average trip cost, then calculate your average commission. Let’s say your average trip is $2500, and your average commission is $250. That means that in order to hit $3000 per month in commissions, all you need to do is sell 12 trips. That’s it! Once you figure out the math, it becomes a bit of a numbers game. Want to hit $5000? Great! That means you need to sell 20 trips each month.
You see the pattern?
So, what happens if you plateau after reaching $3000/month and you can’t seem to reach that next level? Maybe you’re too busy, maybe you don’t have the clients — or maybe, what you really need to do is start looking back at your business again.
Check out this example:
What if you started marketing for clients and selling packages at an average cost of $4000 per trip, with an estimated $400 in commissions? Well, now you only need to sell the same number of trips as before (12) to hit your new $5000 commission goal each month!!
Keep in mind that being full-time means something different to each person. Maybe it means bringing in $50,000 in commissions per month, maybe it’s about having a team of 10 ICs to work with, and maybe it’s just about having the flexibility to create your schedule and rely on your business to sustain yourself, your livelihood, and your happiness!!
Whatever the case may be, whether you’re a hobbyist, a part-timer, or a full-time travel professional, you are in one of the best industries in the entire world! Make sure you’re building your expectations to create the business that you want along the way!
So, are you a Full-Time, Part-Time, or Hobbyist Travel Advisor?
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