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So you want to be a Travel Agent.

As you know, back in July of this year I started a small business called Beyond the Blue Travel. As the name would imply it is a travel agency. When I started thinking about what it meant to be a travel agent I thought to myself, how hard can it be. I already help plan vacations for people and for anyone who knows me, I am more then willing to give my opinion on stuff, I got this. So as I started to get my creative juices flowing which move about as fast as the liquid in a cup of water outside in a Minnesota winter. I attempted to figure out what it meant to be a Travel Agent. How was I going to learn to be an agent. So I turned to the wisest most all knowing person I could think of....Google. Okay well not quite a person. I searched and search for training and educational opportunities to make this happen. If you have never Googled Travel Agent Training, don't. There were only 219,000,000 results. So back to the drawing board.

So I spent some of time crafting what I wanted my business to be. I spent weeks trying to come up with a name. I wanted it to be something that was meaningful to me and to my clients. Something that would instill a desire and passion in others. So after careful consideration I came up with the name of my business. I then realized that I was going to have to dive into the wonderful world of web design. Now what in the world do I know about web design. Well I knew I was not going to Google it. That did not work out last time. So I YouTube'd it. My kids seem to spend all their time on YouTube so there must be something to it. Wallah! There it was a video on web design or actually a whole bunch of videos on web design. And so the process began. I worked long hours and many late nights perfecting my website. Let me tell you with my site perfection is a in the eye of the beholder. Check it out and see for yourself or just click to the main menu off the blog.

Now I know some of you by now are asking what this has to do with being a Travel Agent. It's okay, I asked myself the same question. The short answer is everything. The name of my business establishes the branding in which I am attempting to accomplish and the client base I am hoping to build. Being a Travel Agent is so much more then just booking travel. When I conceptualized my business it was not because I wanted to make money off my friends and family. It was because I wanted to help people, like I have done my whole adult life. I knew I could share my passion for travel with people, that was going to be the easy part. What I underestimated was what it was going to take to be a business owner. I do not have a background in marketing, advertising, accounting, business management, travel (other then the traveling and research I have done), web design (like I already mentioned), writing or pretty much anything else that was going to be useful to me in this industry. So by now, I figured I had made a great decision in pursuing this path. But I worked past all of that and here I am.

So after I finished putting the business end of things together, I started on the travel side. After all travel is a pretty big part of being a Travel Agent. Through some connection in law enforcement I have, I reached out and spoke with another agent in the area. I inquired about how he got started and what things he felt were important. I also did some investigation to see what company he was working with as his Host Agency. That is how I got onto KHM Travel Group along with what a believe is divine intervention of God, more on that in a bit. I signed up and away I went. Since I started in late July early August, I have sent hundreds of hours learning. I have completed training with over 15 different suppliers and attended KHM's Boot Camp in Ohio. For those wondering about why I believe it was divine intervention by God, training started with the CEO quoting a bible verse on Day one of Boot Camp. It continue all week with the reinforcement of the values held by the company and culminated with a simply phrase, "There is a reason we were all brought here. Nothing happens by accident." Boot Camp provided me a good foundation to grow my business and it really taught me what it meant to be a Travel Agent.

I learned that being a Travel Agent is not just about booking travel. If you wanted to just book travel you could go to one of the online retailers and do that, many people do. Being a Travel Agent is about connections. Connecting with your clients so you can find them the perfect vacation, connecting with other agents so you can learn about different destinations (after all I can't travel everywhere, but I can try), connecting your clients with the world around them to allow them the opportunity to explore and experience life and sometimes it is just about making your connecting flight. But seriously, I spend a lot of time trying to connect with my clients and potential clients. I want to get to know them and who they are and what they like. The more I get to know my clients, the better I am about finding out what they want in a vacation.

Being a Travel Agent is also about knowledge, research and learning. When I am not booking travel or booking criminals, I am learning. Like law enforcement, the travel industry is an ever evolving industry and no day goes by that you can not learn something new. On average, I spend hours researching possible destinations for clients. As time goes by this will become easier as I learn more about resorts, cruise lines and destinations.

Being a Travel Agent is about helping and caring. As an agent, I am here to help all of my clients have the best possible vacation in the perfect location. That means making sure every i is doted and t is crossed so they do not have to worry about it. It is about working to solve problems before they are problems. It means answering any and all questions your clients might have about their upcoming travel. I am with my clients from the first time we talk until the last vacation the ever take. When I started, I figured I wanted a less stressful job that at some point I might be able to move into. After the stress of 21 years in law enforcement I figured this would be a good field to go into to relieve stress. Oops, I was way wrong. Being a Travel Agent is just a different kind of stress. I worry about my clients travel, are the having a good time, is the resort right, did I miss anything, and most importantly is there anything I did that decreased the enjoyment of their vacation. Yes, I am a worry wart. I want my clients to have a great time and fully enjoy their vacation. Whether I met my clients expectations should never be in questions, I strive to provide Vacations Beyond Expectations.

And lastly, being a Travel Agent is about working with your client and planning and booking them the perfect vacation. My clients travel is not about me, it is about them. Like the saying goes, "If the clients not happy, nobody is happy." I am sure there are more things I can add to this list, but it is 6 am and I have been up since 7 am yesterday.

I will also throw this in there as a freebie. Being a Travel Agent is NOT about getting everyone that once in a lifetime deal. While Travel Agents strive to to get their clients the best vacation at the best price, we do not set the prices and we can not create promotions to decrease the price of a vacation. You can be assured that I will work my tail off to make your vacation the best possible vacation ever. I will save you time and money by doing the work for you, but I will most likely never be able to get you to Cancun for Spring Break for $400 per person, but I'll try.

I look forward to being about to work with each and everyone of you to help plan your next great adventure. Travel Safe.

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