“But I don’t want to sell just cruises”
That was the complaint I received recently from a would-be home-based travel agent.
I was confused because nowhere is it written that a home-based travel agent can sell only cruises. (Although many of them do just that!)
A few questions cleared up my confusion. It seems that, after looking at several of the gorgeous websites set up by home-agencies to lure industry newbies to sign up with them, this person got the distinct impression that cruises was all that home-based agents could sell.
I had to chuckle because, even though it hadn’t occurred to me before, I could see why she got that impression.
Why host agencies love cruises
There are several reasons that host agency sites give the impression that all they do is cruises.
- In some cases, that IS all they do. They are “cruise-only agencies” and that is a major niche in the industry. Oh sure, their home-based agents can book other products, but the focus is clearly on cruises.
- A host agency website is not simply an informational resource. (Some of them are remarkably lacking in specific information.) Above all, they are sales pieces. They want to sell you on signing up. And what better way than to load the site with pictures of gorgeous beaches and the cruise ships that take you there?
- For a variety of reasons, cruising and cruise ships have become the default image to use whenever the subject is travel.
- The cruise lines do an excellent job of marketing themselves and are more than happy to give host agency websites tons of beautiful imagery to plaster all over their sites.
- Even host agencies that do not specialize in cruises will be more than happy if you do. Cruises are relatively easy to understand and sell and they can be very lucrative for both agent and host.
You determine what you sell
But make no mistake, it is YOU — not the host agency — that determines what you sell.
That’s why I recommend that the first thing a newbie or wanna-be travel agent should do is spend some time thinking about what they want to sell. Unlike storefront agents, who have to be prepared to handle whatever walks through the door, the home-based agent has the luxury of being picky.
If you don’t want to sell cruises or don’t want to sell them exclusively, then you probably shouldn’t hook up with a cruise-only agency.
That said, if you sign up with a generalist host agency you can sell whatever you please. (The exception to this rule is air travel, which is outside the scope of this post but which is discussed in detail in the Home-Based Travel Agent Success Course.)
One of my most successful students sold nothing but a specific brand of all-inclusive resort. And she sold it to no one but honeymooners! I heard of another agent who specialized in tours to Eastern Europe — for beekeepers!
Of course, not everyone specializes to that extent. Many home-based agent start out selling anything they can to whomever they can. But even these agents wind up specializing to some extent as they discover what their clients prefer and where their own interests take them.
Building your own home-based travel marketing business is an exciting adventure. Enjoy the journey!