How Much Do Travel Agents Actually Travel?
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Travel agents work in a glamorous business, jetting around from country to country all the time on someone else’s dime.
Or, at least, that’s what many people believe that travel agents do.
To find out if this is true, or not, we asked several agents to share exactly how often they travel.
“When people hear that I’m a travel agent they often think that I travel all the time, and for free,” says Alan Rosenbaum, Franchise Owner and Vacation Specialist with Dream Vacations in Johns Creek, Georgia. “Unfortunately, neither is true. I’m running a business, not a personal vacation service, and I travel when I have the time and I can afford it. My favorite vacation is a cruise, so that’s what I do most.”
Rosenbaum explains that at least once a year he travels for his company conference aboard a ship. “I try to fit in one more cruise during the year,” he says.
John Gawne, an Independent Vacation Specialist with Cruises Inc., in Virginia Beach, Virginia says that he makes a concerted effort to take significant trips about five times a year. “I generally travel to and stay at one or two all-inclusive resorts and about three cruises a year,” he said. “My intention is to experience resorts and ships that I have not experienced before, in order to be able to provide credible opinions of those venues to my prospects and clients.”
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Each time he travels, Gawne says he tries not to repeat the same ship, and to experience different cruise lines, ships, and itineraries, so that he can report back to his clients. “The result is that we have sailed over 80 times, and our itineraries have included Tahiti, Alaska, Canada/New England, the Baltic, the Mediterranean, a river cruise in Southern France, and many cruises throughout all parts of the Caribbean,” he said.
But these are working trips for Gawne. “Even while traveling, I stay available to my clients by email, and have an associate who has access to my files in my absence,” he says.
John Krieger, president of CTC Travel in Dallas, Texas, travels as much as time permits. “I think it is important to educate yourself and experience what your clients are experiencing from the airport all the way thru the trip,” he said. “Other than travel conferences and speaking engagements, I try to take two to three trips per year.”
For Debby Hughes, traveling is a necessary part of the job. “Traveling is such a necessity to be an effective travel consultant, as it provides in-depth, personal experience to share with our clients,” said Hughes, a franchise owner and vacation specialist with Dream Vacations in Big Bear City, California.
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However, she only travels about once per quarter. “I do my best to focus my trips in a direction that will give me a broader knowledge-base to share,” she said. “This means visiting new destinations, using varied suppliers through FAM trips or, sometimes it's experiencing a destination that I already specialize in, such as Alaska, from a whole new perspective.”
She also attends her corporate national conference each year. She also hopes to travel more soon. “I have a new partner in my business, and covering for each other is a major benefit, so I'm looking forward to traveling more freely in the future,” she said.
You’ll find Rhonda Day on the road about once every two months. “Even if it is a trip with my family, I take time to document the trip in pictures and with social media posts or reviews,” said Day, Dream Vacations Franchise Owner and Vacation Specialist in Louisville, Kentucky. “Every trip I take somehow enhances my knowledge as a travel professional.
Of her approximately 6-8 trips per year, 90 percent of them have a travel industry connection. “What I mean by that is they are either fams put on by a supplier or an industry trade show, training or a conference.”
She says that clients appreciate that she has experienced the destinations firsthand.
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