How to Become a Luxury Travel Advisor | Brownell Hosting

How to Become a Luxury Travel Advisor

how-to-become-a-luxury-travel-advisorSo you’ve decided to join the travel industry. Congrats – you’re on your way to the best job in the world! A career as a luxury travel advisor is not only incredibly rewarding, but it also gives you the opportunity to travel the world. Plus, with a strong client base and several years of hard work building a business, successful advisors can make six figures doing what they love!

So, how to become a luxury travel agent (or Travel Advisor as we like to say)? Keep reading, and we’ll walk you through it!

STEP 0: Make sure this is truly what you want to do.

On paper, a luxury Travel Advisor looks like a glamorous job. Jetting off to the best resorts, being first to see a new hotel, and venturing to destinations most people can only dream of is amazing.

But what most people don’t see is the 3AM phone call from a client who decided to leave Paris right.now. instead of in 3 days, and thus will arrive in London early and demands to still have the 3-bedroom suite overlooking Kensington Garden, whether it’s available or not.

That might be an exaggeration (or just the tip of the iceberg in some cases), but the Travel Advisor must be on call 24/7—no matter where they are or what day it is. Consider these 5 things before you turn in your two weeks’ notice and change careers to become a luxury travel advisor. 

Still ready to join our ranks? Continue to Step 1.

STEP 1: Decide if you need training.

Answer these three questions:

  1. Do you have true experience planning trips? (We’re talking you’re the go-to, full-service planner for your friends and your friends’ friends.)
  2. Have you traveled extensively and know several destinations inside and out?
  3. Do you have a large network of friends, family, and contacts with the means and will to travel?

If your answer is YES to all of these, you might be ready to start your career as a travel advisor or an independent contractor in a host agency (learn what a host agency is and why you need one).

If your answer is NO to any of these, you need more training. You can participate in a year-long mentoring program that teaches you everything you need to know! (Learn more about the industry-leading Brownell Mentoring Program here!)

STEP 2: Decide which agency to join.

A luxury Travel Advisor needs a worldwide network of travel suppliers to ensure that their clients are treated like VIPs and get added amenities and benefits—a sure fire way to get clients booking with you rather than directly. By joining an established agency, you immediately have the connections and name recognition that ensures a return call from the general manager of fill in the blank fabulous property.

A. Align yourself with an agency that is part of a consortium

Joining or working with an agency that is part of a consortium, like Virtuoso, is key. You’ll be able to unlock exclusive amenities that add a lot of value to your client’s trip, and you’ll rest assured knowing that all the hotels have been thoroughly vetted and your clients are in good hands. Plus, you’ll have access to trainings and educational trips.

B. Research how the commissions and fees work.
  • What is the commission model?
  • What is the average commission percentage?
  • Will you pay an annual fee?
  • Will clients pay a fee for your services?
C. Figure out what you’ll need from your agency.

Narrow it down to a few agencies, and start your deep-level research. Call Advisors in those agencies, call Virtuoso, resort to google—whatever it is, do your homework. Once you figure out the agency that is best for you, go through their process of joining the team…then proceed to the next step!

STEP 3: Get online

Build a website and social media pages, and develop your online presence. Nowadays, everyone likes to do a quick online search, and you want to make sure you come up. Commit to starting and maintaining a travel blog, even if you only post once a month. You’ll be able to market yourself, and let potential clients know what you’re about.

Unsure about social media? Embrace it because it’s here to stay. The ROI of social media is that you’ll still be here in 6 years. You’ll be able to connect with clients as well as other people in the industry!

STEP 4: Dedication, Patience & Training

Just like starting a business in any industry, you must be dedicated and patient. Use every opportunity to network and meet potential new clients. Neighborhood gatherings, community events, and even parties are great ways to get the word out about your new business. And once you tell someone you’re a luxury Travel Advisor, the questions will start flowing. Get ready!

Secondly, you need to be dedicated. You’ll experience the highest of highs (booking your first safari) and the lowest of lows (a dry spell, or worse—a “shopper” that takes up hours and hours of your time only to book on a travel deal website). Keep trucking through no matter what comes your way. In a few years, you’ll be so glad you did.

Lastly, never stop learning. Take advantage of any training opportunities. Log into webinars, go to Virtuoso Travel Week (a must!), experience a country through an educational trip, or sign up for a study tour. The industry is constantly changing, and it is crucial to keep up.

Click here to learn more about the Brownell Hosting Program and the Brownell Mentoring Program, or watch the video below:

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  • Welcome to the Travel Life – an inside look at the travel industry, tips for success, interviews with advisors, and more!

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The Travel Life

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Testimonials

An incredible opportunity to join the industry as a newbie

“The mentoring program was an incredible opportunity to join one of the premier travel agencies in the world as a complete newbie. Brownell’s staff was always available and willing to help with the countless questions I had during my first year. Being mentored by the top travel professionals in the industry contributed immensely to the success that I am now enjoying.”

David Ourisman, Berkeley, CA

My clients are spoiled because I am part of Brownell

“I found my family when I found Brownell. Just having their name behind me brings enthusiastic greetings (and sometimes hugs) from hoteliers, and suppliers when I first meet a new partner. The support and values are truly outstanding and I couldn’t imagine being with another host agency. My clients are spoiled because I am part of Brownell.”

 

Catherine Parkin, Denver, CO

The sky is the limit here!

“Brownell Hosting is the gold standard in host agency programs. From the onboard training to the day-to-day support, the hosting team offers best practice strategies and industry insight to ensure I stand apart in the marketplace. Even as a home-based advisor, I feel incredibly connected with not just the hosting team but the entire Brownell Family. There is a collaborative and supportive environment among the advisors which truly gives me an advantage in designing client travel experiences. I am so proud to be affiliated with such a prestigious agency. The sky is the limit here!”

Irene Quisenberry, Tampa, FL

We love the social media content & tips

“Social media is always a challenge for us, so we love the content & tips from Brownell’s marketing team!!!”

King & Whitson, Chattanooga, TN & Washington, VA

Brownell is the best in the industry

“Brownell is the best in the industry. The staff, back end support, superlative processes and response times are tops.”

Jennifer Royster, Clemmons, NC

Freedom to sell with quick support

“The hosting program allows me freedom to do my work. I always receive an answer quickly on any of my numerous questions!”

Marion Harbison, Chattanooga, TN

Helped connect me with editors for press opportunities

“Team Marketing was really helpful in assisting me in the re-branding of my business, creating collateral and connecting me with editors for press opportunities.”

Courtney Regan, San Francisco, CA

The best quality of "work-life!"

“For quality of work-life, there isn’t a better place to be than Brownell. I most value the culture of support, the detailed financial reports and the amazing hosting team.”

Martha King, Richmond, VA

Team Marketing is tops

“I love all of the creative marketing help. The very most helpful thing was when they prepped me for my interview with Travel Agent Central. Their guidance on that was so spectacular, and I genuinely feel as though I could not have handled that without them. Team Marketing is a very important part of my plans to grow my business, and I always feel very supported.”

Kristen Meckem, Bend, OR

The support and education is amazing

“I love the hosting program because the support and education is amazing! The support team is so enthusiastic and passionate, it is a continuing inspiration. Makes me want to work harder and better!”

Catherine Whitworth, Athens, GA

I count my lucky stars that I work with Brownell

“There is no agency better than Brownell! Our Hosting Team is there to hold our hands through the good and the bad. What a huge support group we have! I count my lucky stars every day that I am fortunate to be working for Brownell. The hosting staff is such a comforting and hands on team. They are positive reinforcements of acknowledging when we excel and encourage us to grow our business by having the opportunities to travel and experience the wonderful hotels and resorts we sell worldwide.”

Caroline Wallace, Richmond, VA

We could not do this without you!

“The Mentoring Program gave us the chance and the training to start a business AND the continued support to grow that businesss. We could not do this without you!”

King & Whitson, Chattanooga, TN & Washington, VA Washington, VA

I am loving every minute of my new career

“The Mentorship program is amazing! I am loving every minute of my new career.”

Kristen Nix, Whitefish, MT

A joy to work with

Everyone has been so great to work with – prompt, helpful, informed and supportive. It has been a joy for me – and I thank all of you.

Jeff Scofield, Chattanooga, TN

The best support an IC could ask for. Bar NONE.

“Brownell Hosting offers the best support an IC could ask for. Bar NONE. They make me feel like there is no stupid question and help me feel like i’m actually working in the office instead of from my home. They actually listen to suggestions and implement changes.”

Louisa Gehring, Cincinnati, OH

The mentoring program was critical

“The Brownell mentoring program was critical to the successful launch of my travel business. It was a year well-spent learning the ins and outs of the industry and the Virtuoso network. When I graduated from the program, I felt fully integrated into the company and was ready to take my business to the next level.”

Katherine Gould, Richmond, VA

Brownell is constantly evolving

“The 3 best things about Brownell hosting are (1.) Brownell, the organization. (.2) Brownell is contstantly evolving in a positive direction, and (3.)  I always feel like I have exactly what I need to run a successful business. “

Kelly Millington, Fairfield, CT

I'm inspired to set new goals

“Brownell Academy is my chance to step away from the daily office routine and immerse myself in the world of travel. Having uninterrupted quality time with other advisors and vendors not only builds camaraderie, but inspires me to set new goals. I come back to my office not only rejuvenated, but also with specific actions I can immediately implement to improve my business & provide better service to my clients.”

Suzette Mack, San Jose, CA

I love the one-on-one marketing support

“I love the marketing 1:1 calls because they really help me think outside the box with ideas for social media, blogging, and direct mail.”

Kristen Nix, Whitefish, MO

The support when I travel gives me great peace of mind

” Brownell Hosting offers support to IC’s that are traveling and need assistance with coverage. This gives me great peace of mind!”

Stephanie Miller Murphy, Mandeville, LA

I have reached goals beyond my expectations

“I wanted to convert my love for travel, marketing skills, client service skills, and technology background into a career. Fortunately, Brownell’s mentoring program allowed me to do just that and allowed me to reach goals that were beyond my expectations. An unexpected bonus of joining Brownell has been becoming part of an organization where each part of the team is truly supportive of my efforts and is interested in my ongoing success. Brownell’s methods and techniques serve as a daily inspiration.”

Linda Terrill, Atlanta, GA

Constant support, encouragement and super-fast response times

“The best things about the Brownell Hosting are the constant support, encouragement and super-fast response times. And, of course, the hosting team. LOVE.THEM.ALL!!! Brownell is so special and the support IC’s receive is unbelievable!! I feel so immensely blessed to be a part of the Brownell family!!!”

Martha King, Signal Mountain,TN

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