If travel is your passion, and you can’t visualize yourself sitting at a desk all day, answering question about travel destinations which you would rather be visiting, than becoming a Travel, Group Leader, may be your best solution.
To eliminate the get rich scheme concept, this is not the way. Of course, you can earn a substantial income, however, it will take time and perseverance.
Travel suppliers and travel agencies depend on Group Travel Leaders to sell their travel packages. The cruise industry, especially, caters to the group sales to sell out cruise ships. Most of the major cruise companies will provide a free cruise for a Group Leader who sells 8 cabins or 15 full paying passengers.
The Group Leader can sell his/her free cruise, or cruise for free. This option is what makes the group leader’s opportunity so popular.
Experienced Tour Conductors, usually generate multiple methods to entice travelers to cruise with their group. The most common way is to sell to established groups, who want to fundraise or enjoy lower group rates.
Because the majority of Group Leaders are not, travel agents, they may have regular jobs, or not, and belong to social organizations, church groups and other specialized groups, which puts them in touch with hundreds of potential travelers.
There are a number of ways to get started as a Travel, Group Leader. If you are a junkie traveler, you can use your own experiences to build your confidence and your sales.
If you have a limited travel background, yet travel is a passion, you can take a travel agent home study course, or enroll in a couple classes at your local junior college. There are affordable courses online. Travel is a billion dollar industry and there are many options for learning different phases of the travel industry.
It is not necessary to spend lots of money on schooling be become an effective Group Leader. However, is mandatory that you learn everything you can about your destination and the travel involved.
Once you have secured a basic knowledge of the type of group travel you want to offer, you can then seek out a host agency. A Host Agency is a licensed, bonded travel agency which allows travel agents or outside travel agents to book travel under their company name.
There is a split in the commission, as the host agency is the legal business which allows you to book travel for your clients. Most host agencies charge a fee, and an annual fee, to get started, but not all. Fees can range from zero dollars, up to $ 500.
Another option is to contact your local travel agency and let them know you want to work as an outside travel agent. Be prepared to explain what types of travel you want to offer and to what type of groups you want to specialize in. The agency owner, or manager, will provide you with the commission structure, if any, policies and procedures. Some travel agencies only offer free travel to group leaders, while others offer, free travel and commissions.
When first starting out, it almost always best to join in with another group, or, create a fun, 2 day, inexpensive trip to a popular destination which is easy to sell.
Word of mouth will triple your clients.
Finding Group Travelers
1. Informing your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, church members, club members, organizations, friends of friends of friends, twitter pals, and your personal email is a great start.
2. Cruise Parties, or Travel Parties – Invite friends, neighbors over for a Travel Party. Ask the cruise line or the resort where you will be traveling for a video tape and free promotional material. Provide guest with snacks and inexpensive wine. Keep the wine coming! No need to be aggressive. Travel sells itself, especially, if the destination and price is of interest.
Ask for a deposit. Post dated checks are welcomed. Stay focused, your job is to provide information and collect checks.
Ask friends to sponsor a travel party. The more parties you have, the more people you sign up. It’s that simple!
3. Make announcements at your church and your organization. Include the information in the church bulletin or your organization’s newsletter, as many times as possible.
4. Have flyers made up, but not before you have business cards printed, with your name, contact numbers, email address, name of travel event, dates and starting cost.
5. Distribute flyers, at public places or public events.
6. Use classified ads, online and offline
7. Give out your card, everywhere you go. Doctor’s office, cleaners, grocery store, beauty shop, stores where you shop, your children’s school, your favorite neighborhood bar, and eating establishment.
Note: Flyers, nor cards need to be expensive, however, when the cards and the flyers use the same design, you begin to create an image, for your service as a Group Travel Leader.
Let the art work promote you into the future.
Paper Work – Signing Up Clients
Paper work is extremely important and without it, nothing happens.
Paper work, must be completed correctly and forwarded to the host agency or travel agency in a timely manner. Failure to do so, could result in an ugly situation, which could escalate into a legal battle.
Checks should be made out to the host agency or the travel agency. Even if the travel agency says its ok for your clients to make the check out to you, don’t do it. Get you commissions from the group manager or the host agency, unless you have a Seller of Travel license.
One you turn in your deposits and payments, the host agency or travel agency, will provide you with your commissions, based on your agreement.
Outside travel agents usually work under an Independent Contractor Agreement and are issued a 1099-MISC at the end of the year.