The travel industry is absolutely one of the world’s largest. Travel is responsible for multiple trillions of dollars on an annual basis, and maybe it’s time you found your place in this booming industry.
Unfortunately, becoming a successful member of the travel industry isn’t as simple as putting out your shingle and throwing your doors open to willing customers. You have to learn the ropes as well as establish exactly where in the hugely disjointed industry you want to specialize.
• Find Your Motivation
Your first step in finding success in the travel industry is to recognize exactly why you want to be there. Are you interested in earning some of the trillions changing hands? Are you looking to utilize your skills in the great outdoors? Perhaps you just like the idea of traveling yourself, perhaps with a discount or with others. Only when your motivation is clear can you move on to actually beginning steps toward your career.
• Establish a Focus
One you know why you want a career in the travel industry, you can begin to think about your area of specialization. If you love being outdoors and are looking for a way to be paid for rugged adventures, a bushwalking and adventure service might be right up your alley. If you’re simply in love with travel for yourself and want to help others find that same joy, consider opening your own travel agency for individuals or groups. You might also enjoy working as a tour guide.
The list of possibilities is truly endless. You can open a bed and breakfast, offer historic home tours, arrange snorkeling trips, organize entertainment on cruise ships, make gift baskets for prominent visitors, arrange group travel from home, and the list goes on. Spend some time thinking about your current skill set and where your interest lies. If your focus in on earning money, you need to take a step back from that to find an area where your passion and drive can sustain you through the initial period of a new business where profits may be sketchy at best.
• Learn about the Industry
Once you’ve settled on a tightly focused niche of the travel industry, you can start to learn more about that segment. If you want to be an excursion director on a cruise ship, you’d better learn all about the corner of the world where that ship travels including destinations, customs, hotels, airports, currency, commerce and more.
If you want to build a travel website, research your competition and consider alternatives to the mainstream. If you’re interested in arranging travel for others, use the resources available through websites such as the American Society of Travel Agents.
• Begin Your Education
Your new career begins first by learning not just about the industry and your sector, but specifically about your chosen profession. Take a class or two. Even reading a few books about the legalities, ideas and other success stories can give you knowledge you need to make the right decisions for your own business.
Rather than just jumping into business and quite possibly failing, ease your way in through an apprenticeship or employment with others in your desired field. Even the receptionist and custodian at a travel agency knows an astonishing amount about how to succeed in the field. Take a menial job at a hotel, travel agency, or in your desired field of the travel industry to sample what the career is really about and learn as much as you can.
It should be said that even when you know you’re ready to branch out on your own, the educational aspect of any career is never complete. Continue to learn and grow to remain successful in your field.
• Get Authority
Once you’re ready to really start your very own travel business, only a nice set of credentials will give you the authority you need. The travel industry is huge and unfortunately full of unsavory types, so earning your Certified Travel Counselor certificate and joining an organization such as Association of Retail Travel Agents or National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents can give you the qualification you need to give clients a reason to trust you and your advice.
• Establish Yourself Correctly
Finally, don’t become so overwhelmed with your new business you forget to actually set it up correctly as a business. Protect yourself and your personal property by establishing your new travel business as a separate entity. Speak with a small business advisor and accountant to ensure all of your paperwork is order, and then enjoy your new found success.