Contents: Home-Based Travel Agent Success Manual

The Home-Based Travel Agent Success Course consists of seven modules full of all the information you need to get started on your career. This detailed table of contents tells you exactly what is covered in each volume. Be sure to browse through our FAQ, which is designed to answer any questions you may have about the course.

 

Module 1: How to Design Your Business for Success

Introduction

The ‘traditional’ career paths
The home-based alternative
Your business doesn’t define you, you define it
Behind the home-based travel revolution
What are your strengths?
What’s the catch?
Should you be a ‘travel agent’?
How this course is organized
How to use this course

Chapter One: A Brief Overview of the Travel Industry

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
The history of travel
The role of the middleman

Variations on a theme

How to make money in travel
Disintermediation
How travel agents are compensated

Fees
Buying at ‘net’
Selling add on services and products
Important points about compensation

How the travel industry is structured

The Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC)
The International Air Transport Association (IATA)
The International Airlines Travel Agent Network (IATA)
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)
The ARC/IATA/IATAN/CLIA number
Other ways in which the travel industry is structured

Summary
Action steps

Chapter Two: Defining Yourself

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Part I: What do you sell?

Avoiding the cheap-travel trap
The advantages of specialization

By destination
By mode of travel
By theme or activity
By market segment
By payback
By focusing on groups
By focusing on corporate travel
Creating a mix of specialties

A final thought on specialization

Part II: How Do You Sell It?

Where do you fit in?

The not-a-travel-agent
The referral agent
The independent contractor/outside agent
The independent travel agent
The independent travel agency
The Internet agent
Being a supplier

Which is right for you?
Summary
Action steps

Chapter Three: Becoming a Tour Organizer

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
Touring with teens
Putting together a school tour
It’s not just for teachers
College tours
The risks of student travel
Organize a cruise
Organize a tour group
The freelancetour organizer
Summary
Action steps

Chapter Four: The Outside Sales Rep

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
What are outside agents?

Finders, steerers, bird dogs
Bird-dogging major accounts
Referral agencies
The ‘true’ outside sales representative
Part-time, full-time

Establishing an outside sales relationship
Finding a local ‘host agency’

Selling yourself to an agency

Paying to become an outside agent

Why pay a fee?
Where is the best host agency located?

Types of host agencies

Bare bones business partners
Quasi-franchises
Non-ARC host agencies
Cruise-only agencies
Referral agencies
MLM agencies

Sorting through your options
Summary
Action steps

Chapter Five: The Referral and MLM Agent

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
The card mill controversy
What makes an agency a referral agency
MLM referral agencies
How referral agencies workDo they make sense for selling travel?
What referral agencies pay
Do they make sense for the benefits?
Does a referral agency make sense for you?
How to succeed as a referral agent
Some additional thoughts
Summary
Action steps

Chapter Six: About Host Agencies

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
Why do I need a host agency?
The biggest mistake beginners make
Is this the agency for me?
Dealing with a host agency

The sign-up process
Before you sign up

How much will it cost?
A word about compensation
The contract
Host agencies and ‘exclusivity’
Your status as an independent contractor
Due diligence
After you’ve signed up

Working with suppliers
Collecting payments
Coordinating bookings with a host agency
Keeping track of your bookings

Getting your commission
How much can I make?
Why become an outside rep?
Summary
Action steps

Chapter Seven: Setting Up Your Business

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
Defining yourself
The best advice for beginners
Laying the groundwork

Choosing a business name
Registering your business name
Business cards
Opening a business checking account

Complying with local ordinances
Complying with state laws

Lawyers

Customer files

Advanced options

The next step: office machines
Phones
Computers

Which computer?
Laptops
Printers
Software

Internet access
Internet Service Providers (ISP)

Browsers

Faxes
Help is at hand

Join a professional organization
Find a mentor
Learn about your product
Build a reference library
The travel trade press
Use Internet resources

Summary
Action steps

 

Module 2: How to Book Travel Like a Pro

Chapter One: The Basics of Booking

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
Travel products
Some general notes on bookings

Step One: Gathering information
Step Two: Research
Step Three: Making the sale
Step Four: Making the booking
Step Five: Confirming the booking with the client

The magic words
The Client Request Form
Summary
Action Steps

Chapter Two: Booking Airlines

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
Is it worth it?

Airline tickets pay no commission
Airfare is a commodity
Airline tickets are complicated
Airline tickets are unforgiving
Airline tickets can be dangerous to your wealth

To automate or not

Which GDS?
Automation alternatives
A final word on automating

Booking airlines with a GDS

Gathering information

Misteaks can kill you (how to avoid them)

Researching available flights
Airline web sites
Airfare Watchdog
ITA Software’s QPX
Consolidators

Making the sale

What’s the best flight for the client?
Making the booking and confirming with the client

Getting paid
Booking airlines without a GDS
Consolidators

Dealing with consolidators
Locating consolidators
Consolidator web sites

‘Air Piracy’: Another way of charging fees
Summary
Action steps

Chapter Three: Booking Hotels

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
Gathering information
ResearchWhat to look for
Factors influencing your choice

Client preferences
Again, what’s in it for you?

Getting the best rate
Making the sale
Making the booking

Booking on the Internet
Booking on the phone
Information to give
Information to get
Relaying the booking

Getting paid
Hotel consolidators
Mondo condo
Foreign hotels
Hotel representatives
Booking direct
Voucher programs and packages
Summary
Action steps

Chapter Four: Booking rental cars

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
Gathering information
Research
Factors influencing your choice
Making the sale
Making the booking

Booking on the Internet
Booking on the phone
Information to give
Information to get
Relaying the booking

Foreign car rentals
Getting paid
Summary
Action steps

Chapter Five: Booking Tours & Packages

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
What is a ‘tour’?
The power of the package
Gathering information
Research
Brochures
What to look for
The fine print
Form of payment
Factors influencing your choice
Sensible precautions
Making the sale

Presenting the tour to the customer

‘Get the check’
Getting help
Making the booking

GDS and Internet bookings
Information to give
Information to get
Relaying bookings & getting documents

Getting paid
Summary
Action steps

Chapter Six: Booking Cruises

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
Gathering information
Research
Picking the ‘perfect cruise’
Making the booking

Information to give
Information to get

Making the sale
Dealing with price resistance

Relaying bookings & getting documents
GDS and Internet Booking

Getting paid
Summary
Action steps

 

Module 3: How To Sell Travel Like a Pro

Chapter One: The Art & Science of Selling

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
Avoiding the ‘screaming me-me’s’
Take a ‘you’ turn
The importance of goals
What ‘Module 3’ is all about
Some general considerations
Action steps

Chapter Two: Prospecting

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
Start with your friends
You know more people than you think
Other sources of prospects
How many prospects do I need?
What’s a customer worth?
The cyclical nature of prospecting
Managing your prospecting activity
Summary
Action steps

Chapter Three: Spreading the News About Your Travel Business

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
Your business card
Defining your market
Learning about your market
Your first sales calls
Step One: Introduce yourself and your company
Step Two: Generate interest with a benefit statement
Step Three: Deal with skepticism, if necessary
Step Four: Ask for a commitment
Direct mail marketing
Contacting friends
Contacting people you don’t know
Email marketing
Using email marketing
Summary
Action steps

Chapter Four: Qualifying

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
What is qualifying?
Why qualify?
Who’s qualified?
The importance of qualifying the situation
Asking qualifying questions

Handling stalls

Surveys and questionnaires

Conducting a travel survey
Using questionnaires

Summary
Action steps
The Client Profile Form
Notes on the Client Profile Form

Chapter Five: Presenting the Wonder of Travel

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
Gathering information, developing needs
Features, functions, and benefits

The selling power of benefits
Choose specific benefits

Distinguishing features, functions, benefits
A presentation model
The cost/value ratio
Visual aids and how to use them

Brochures
DVDs and slide shows

Selling through visual imagery
The power of words
Summary
Action steps

Chapter Six: Handling Your Customers’ Concerns

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
The truth about customer concerns
Handling customer concerns

Step One: Clarify the concern
Step Two: Empathize with the concern
Step Three: Answer the concern
Step Four: Check for agreement
Some additional points

Types of concerns
Answering customer concerns

Explain it away
Outweigh it
Feel-Felt-Found

‘I already have a travel agent’

Overcoming initial skepticism

Concerns about cost

The best way to handle cost concerns – avoid them
Compared to what?
Cushioning the blow

Summary
Action steps

Chapter Seven: Closing the Sale & Follow-Up

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
Building agreement with trial closes
Creating a sense of urgency
Asking for the check

The alternate-choice close
The direct close
The assumptive close
The booking-form close

Follow-up

Follow-up before the sale
Follow-up after the sale

Asking for referrals
Following up on what you’ve learned
Action steps

 

Module 4: How to Take Your Business to the Next Level

Chapter One: The Independent Agent

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
Dealing directly with suppliers
When dealing directly might be possible
Reasons not to deal directly with suppliers
Reasons to deal directly with suppliers
Host agencies and ‘exclusivity’
Pseudo ARC (or IATA) numbers
Putting it all togetherBecoming truly independent
Getting your own ‘IATA number’
Summary
Action steps

Chapter Two: Getting Serious

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
Being professional
The naysayers
More on professional organizations

Getting the most out of meetings

Developing your product knowledge

Getting to know your preferred suppliers
Start educating yourself with brochures
Your continuing search for product knowledge

Maximizing your income
Booking with preferred suppliers
Bonuses, spiffs and special promotions

Contests and sweepstakes

Charging fees

Fees as gatekeepers
Collecting fees
Making the decision

Getting paid

Be systematic about tracking your commissions

Protecting yourself

Getting ‘street legal’
Credit cards
Other sensible precautions
Disclaimers, disclosures, and waivers
Insurance for the client
Insurance for the travel agent
Incorporation
Precaution or paranoia?

The tax man cometh

The tax benefits (yes, benefits)

As your business evolves

Getting your own ‘IATA number’
Specializing
Automation
Automation alternatives
Specialized software
Switching or combining agencies
Joining a consortium
Your own web site

Summary
Action steps

Chapter Three: Straight Talk on Travel Industry Benefits

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
What is travel agent ID?
What are the benefits?

AD75 fares
First-class upgrades
Hotel discounts
Car rentals
Tours and cruises
Special in-house deals

What’s wrong with this picture
The industry strikes back
Toward the IATAN card
Qualifying for travel benefits – really

Getting the IATAN card
Direct relationships with suppliers
Benefits for the beginner

Fam trips
Getting on a fam
Fam trips are hard work
Summary
Action steps

Chapter Four: Selling to Groups

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
First things first
Making sales presentations to groups
Hosting a Destination Party
Sponsoring a Cruise Night

Selecting a cruise and negotiating terms
Planning the event
Preparing the sales materials
Publicize and promote
Hold the event
Follow up

Video marketing
Action steps

Chapter Five: Selling Travel Insurance

What you will learn/Key terms and concepts
Introduction
Why sell travel insurance?
Understanding travel insurance

The pros of selling supplier insurance
The cons of selling supplier insurance
The pros of selling third party travel insurance
The cons of selling third party travel insurance

What travel insurance can cover

The fine print
Loss ratios

Selling travel insurance
Getting street legal
What should you sell?
Which policy?
Building in insurance
Summary
Action steps

 

Module 5: Choosing A Host Agency: The Fool-Proof Route to Picking the Right Business Partner

Introduction

How Modules 5 and 6 are organized
What Modules 5 and 6 DON’T cover
What Modules 5 and 6 DO cover
You don’t have to do this
Why join a host agency?
Notes on the outside agent
Shopping for an agency
Four kinds of agencies
Preferred suppliers and consortiums
The worst-case scenario
A special note on referral agencies
About the Host Agency Directory

A Shopper’s Checklist

Questions

Qualifications
Start-up costs
What, exactly, do you get in exchange for your fee?
Annual fees
Additional fees
Preferred suppliers
Commission splits & bonuses
Commission tracking & payment
Booking process
Delivery of tickets & documents
Training & support
Automation
Online availability
Travel benefits
Signing up other agents
Independent contractor status
The contract
Checking out the agency
Checking out the situation
Special considerations for referral agencies

 

Module 6: Host Agency Directory: Over 300 Hosts Cross-Referenced

Chapter One: Host Agency Listings

Chapter Two: Additional Contacts

Chapter Three: Agencies at a Glance

Agencies by Location
Agencies by Entry Cost
Agencies by Commission
Agencies by GDS (CRS) System

 

Module 7: IATA Numbers and Beyond: Choosing the Right Industry ID

Introduction

Anatomy of a number
Numbers versus cards
Agencies versus agents
Why IATA numbers?
Enter the home-based agent
Enter zero commissions
The next step
What does all this mean to you?

The ‘New’ Numbers

Option 1
Option 2
Option 3
Option 4
Option 5
Option 6
Option 7

Conclusion

Now I get my card, right?
A coming business boom?
A matter of acceptance
Having more than one number
Do you really need one?

Do You Have What It Takes?

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