The travel industry is currently in a period of transition and is learning how to thrive and grow post-COVID. If you’d like to become a travel agent in 2021, franchising could be a great option, giving you all of the freedom and flexibility at a lower level of risk. Here’s everything you need to know.
It’s undeniable that the travel industry has suffered during the pandemic. Now, though, the travel planning sector is finally making its comeback, and after so long at home, many British people are bursting with excitement and readiness to get away. If you’d like to join the sector, now’s a great time to make your move. Become a travel agent in the world of franchising today, and start with this article.
What does a travel agent do?
A travel agent is responsible for organising a customer’s holiday, including booking plane tickets, sourcing a place to stay, filing necessary documentation and arranging any transfers. Many British travellers choose to use the services of travel agents and travel agencies because they make the process simple, easy and streamlined for holiday goers, allowing them to benefit from expert knowledge, pay in instalments and skip the hard work of research and planning. As a travel agent, your day-to-day responsibilities will consist of:
- Talking to customers
- Helping customers to find holidays and plan travel
- Making bookings
- Advising customers
- Keeping customers informed
- Meeting sales targets
- Keeping up-to-date with developments in the travel industry
How do you become a travel agent?
1. Assess your skills and consider qualifications
The first step to becoming a travel agent is, quite simply, assessing whether your skills will put you in a good position to succeed. In order to run a successful travel agency franchise, you’ll need certain transferable soft skills like:
- Customer service
- Communication and active listening
- Ability to sell, persuade and negotiate
- Attention to detail
- Administration and computer literacy
To really set yourself apart, you could also consider gaining certain qualifications that might set you apart as a franchisee. Though experience and relevant education won’t always be required, it also won’t hurt to know your stuff from day one. You could, for example, complete an apprenticeship, a Level 2 Award in Principles of Customer Service in Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism, or a Level 1, 2 or 3 Diploma in Travel and Tourism.
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2. Research opportunities available to you and suitable for you
When you know that you’re the right fit and you’ve got the skills you need, it’s time to find the franchise opportunity that suits you. There’s a number of factors to consider, from the level of financial investment required to the locations available to franchise in, and you’ll need to be sure you’ve found a franchise investment that matches up with your wants and needs on every level. There’s several different ways to be a travel agent, so be sure to look into all your options. You could become:
- An independent travel agent
- An online travel agent
- A travel agent working out of a high street travel agency
- An agent in a visitor information centre
- A hotel concierge
3. Seek legal advice and do your due diligence prior to signing your franchise agreement
When you sign a franchise agreement, you enter into a legally binding contract with your franchisor. Even when you feel very set on a franchise opportunity, this isn’t something you should do lightly. Ask a legal professional to look over the agreement prior to signing to ensure that everything is above board, and do your due diligence by asking your franchisor plenty of questions, including the following crucial asks:
- What are your long-term plans for the franchise network?
- What sets you apart from competitors in this field?
- What training and support do you offer your franchisees?
- Do you offer support with the launch process, including site selection and fit-out (where relevant)?
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4. Work hard, and invest in the process
Finally, with the agreement signed, you can start your career as a travel agent off right by fully investing in the process and seizing every opportunity you’re given. A job in the travel sector can bring many unique rewards and benefits, and especially in the world of franchising, you’ll also have lots of chances to seize ongoing training opportunities and keep growing and developing as an agent, even years down the line. If you work hard, you’ll see the results.
There is never a dull moment. Great agents think outside the box, and are self-driven and able to adapt to any emergency and/or change, as this career is always changing, with new rules, a new crisis, new resorts, new destinations. It’s challenging and exhausting—and I wouldn't change a thing!
— Sheila Michels, Hometown Travel
Franchise opportunities in the travel sector
GoCruise is one of the UK’s largest cruise agencies, with an impressive network of over 60 franchisees. A company in one of the fast-growing sectors in the country, GoCruise is currently on the lookout for new franchisees.
- Becoming a franchisee with GoCruise: No previous experience is required, but GoCruise is looking for individuals who have a passion for sales, good business judgement and a professional approach.
- How much you need to invest: You’ll need to make a minimum initial investment of £13,000.
- What you get for your investment: You’ll be assigned your own territory with roughly a quarter-million potential customers. You’ll be trained on an initial and ongoing basis, and will be supported from the moment of launch with marketing support and anything else you need.
2. The Travel Franchise
The Travel Franchise, named the UK’s Top Homeworking Agency in the 2020 Travel Industry Awards by TTG, is looking for new franchisees. Since its inception, over 750 franchisees have joined the network, providing customers with great holidays at truly competitive prices.
- Becoming a franchisee with The Travel Franchise: You won’t need prior experience, but you will need passion for two things - travel and people.
- How much you need to invest: There are five different investment options - Lite, Pro, Elite, Supreme and Entrepreneur. Investment costs range from £2,795 to £29,995.
- What you get for your investment: You’ll receive an overseas educational trip, ongoing training, ongoing support, a personal marketing website and access to custom-made marketing materials, educational videos and exclusive training events.
Make a career change and watch your professional life take off
If, after reading this article, you’re ready to watch your professional life take off as you enter into a career in the travel planning industry, stay on Point Franchise. Continue your research by browsing available travel agency franchise opportunities, or by discovering the five biggest advantages to running a travel franchise.
Lily Sweeney, Point Franchise ©