Travel Agent Vacations? How To Take Yours

Travel Agent Vacations

by Kelly Monaghan

You’ve worked your tail off throughout the late winter and spring planning perfect vacations for your clients. Summer has finally kicked in and the phone is relatively quiet – for the time being. Now it’s time for your vacation.

travel agent vacations on the beach

You could be here!

A home-based travel agent may feel confused about the very idea of travel agent vacations: Will I ever be able to take one? Shouldn’t I be on call, 24/7, just in case one of my customers needs me?

The fact of the matter is that things are a whole lot more relaxed than that. Sure, you can deny yourself a vacation, fearing that you might miss a sale, but that would be just plain foolish. You need to take vacations. And, remember, when you’re a home-based travel agent, a vacation is never simply a vacation. It’s 
business! These are trips you have to take and, if you follow the advice in my home study course, you’ll be able to take a perfectly legitimate tax deduction for most, if not all, your travel expenses. Just make sure you discuss any tax strategies with a qualified professional.

If you are selling primarily leisure travel (and my guess is that after you go through my course, that is the decision you will make), then being away from your home office for a week or two is not really an issue. That’s because leisure travel decisions are typically made well in advance. If you’re not there when a customer calls, it can usually wait.

Travel agent vacations as a marketing tool

In fact, your travel agent vacations can even be a selling point! Just leave an answering machine message like this: “Hi! It’s Amy of Cruise With Amy. I’m off sailing the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean 
looking for more ways to make your next vacation extra special. Leave me a message and I’ll tell you all about it when I get back!”

On your Facebook page, you can also post a photo of the ship you’ll be sailing on or the beach you’ll be lying on with a similar message.

Travel agent vcations with Bill Potuchek

Home-based travel agent Bill Potuchek and spouse set sail.

Travel agent vacations — how to finesse it

Also, many home-based agents travel with their customers by arranging group cruises or tours and then coming along – for 
free! – on a tour conductor pass. So not only are you traveling and having fun on your “working vacation,” you are forging deeper relationships with your clients. And, if you’re really smart, you’ll be asking them for help in reaching their friends and acquaintances so you sell even more travel when your get home.

Of course, a group that qualifies for a tour conductor pass is not exactly intimate and you will, quite rightly, be seen by your fellow travelers as the “go-to” person when problems arise. That might not be your idea of a “vacation.” The solution? Travel with a smaller group of friends or family. You’ll still be receiving some commission income to offset the cost and you will not have the pressure of being a group leader.

Don’t be afraid of getting away by yourself or with your spouse if that’s what you feel you need to recharge your batteries. As long as you do your job as a travel agent and research the destination you are visiting, this can still be a tax-deductible trip. Once again, consult your tax advisor to be extra sure.

Of course, there may be situations in which you really don’t want to make your customers wait for a week or more for a 
return call. Perhaps your business has grown to the point where you have hundreds rather than dozens of customers, 
thus increasing the chances that someone will need help in a hurry. There are solutions to this that will let you take off for a trip with a clear conscience.

Some (although not all) host agencies will “cover” for you while you’re away. This service is by no means free. In many cases, you will not earn any commissions on any sales that result from this type of arrangement. In other cases, your commission will be sharply reduced. Although it shouldn’t be an issue, there’s also the possibility (however remote) of losing the client to the host agency. If you think this is the type of service you will need, then you will need to seek out a host that provides it and make sure
you have a clear understanding with the host on the terms of the agreement.

Another, perhaps preferable way of accomplishing the same thing is to make an arrangement with a fellow home-based agent to field your calls while you’re away. A telephone message can refer your clients to your colleague, but make it clear that this is for emergencies. For example: “Hi! It’s Amy of Cruise With Amy. I’m off sailing the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean looking for more ways to make your next vacation extra special. Leave me a message and I’ll tell you all about it when I get back! If you 
need immediate assistance with travel in the next week, call George Smith of Smith Travel at 555-5555 and he’ll look after you.”

If you make such an arrangement, make sure it’s fair to both parties. Ideally it should be reciprocal, that is, you should cover for George when he’s away.

You can locate fellow home-based agents by networking through a professional association like the Outside Sales Support Network

So in summary, don’t worry about being able to take a vacation. After all, vacations are your business now. Oh, and don’t forget to take some time to review your business plan, marketing strategies, and <sigh> declutter your office.

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Travel Agent Vacations? How To Take Yours was last modified: November 20th, 2015 by Kelly Monaghan