Jan 8, 2024

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Travel Advisor Resources

Is Being a Travel Agent Worth It? Fora Discusses the Pros & Cons

Fora Author Fora Travel

The Modern Travel Agency

Fora Travel

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A young woman stands at the end of a tunnel, making a peace sign. Directly behind her is a small bay leading to the skyline of Busan, South Korea

Is being a travel agent worth it? We’re breaking down all the pros and cons of life as a travel agent. And spoiler: it’s mostly pros.

Already made up your mind? Apply to become a Fora Advisor today.

First, what does a travel agent do exactly?

What does a travel agent do? Travel agents — or travel advisors, they're the same thing — make hotel and other reservations for their clients and, more importantly, help plan trips. It’s one of the coolest jobs in the travel industry

Do people still use travel agents to book their travel? What’s the demand like?

In the early 2000s, the answer to “Is being a travel agent worth it?” might have been no. 

Rapid adoption of the internet in the 90s and the advent of online travel agencies (OTAs) like Booking.com almost made traditional travel agents obsolete. But the services provided by OTAs simply lack the personal connection that an actual person can provide. Moreover, real people can accommodate clients’ needs far better than a virtual system. Better yet, the value that a contemporary travel advisor brings to the table is far greater than it’s ever been. 

As for travel demand, more people are traveling for leisure or business than ever before. 

At Fora, we’re spearheading the emergence of the modern travel advisor, bringing a concierge-like ethos and personalized service back to trip planning. Fora Advisors help their clients with all their travel needs (see all the types of bookings Fora Advisors can make), and consistently re-earn their clients’ business for future trips. 

How do you become a travel agent?

The Statue of Liberty stands prominently in the foreground from a view through a window on the Staten Island Ferry

Among the great myths about becoming a travel advisor: you need extensive travel experience (nope), prior education at a travel agent school (you don’t) and an empty schedule to commit all your time (absolutely not).  

While some or all of these might have been true for traditional travel agents, becoming a Fora Advisor is much simpler. As long as you have a passion for travel, you’re already most of the way there. 

Our guide to how to become a travel agent offers an in-depth breakdown of the process. But the short version is: sign up to become a Fora Advisor, take a few expert-led courses to get yourself up to speed (at your own pace) and voilà, you’re selling trips once you’re ready. (And at Fora, you can start selling on day one.)

Is being a travel agent worth it: the pros

Is being a travel agent worth it? We certainly believe so, but we don’t expect you to take that at face value. Here are all of the pros of becoming a travel advisor. 

Pro: you can make great money as a travel agent

Seriously. The top Fora travel advisor salaries are measured in six figures, with many advisors making close to that annually.

So how much do travel agents make? It varies widely from advisor to advisor, as many treat travel planning as a side hustle, but suffice it to say that full-time advisors who invest the time and effort into their business can earn a livable wage and then some.

(BTW: curious about how commissions work? Read about how travel agents get paid.)

Pro: you don’t need any prior experience or travel agent training

A woman in trendy clothing at the end of an island pier points out at something unseen in the ocean

We can’t speak for all travel agencies, but to become a Fora Advisor, you don’t need any prior travel experience or training. Nor do you need a degree, travel agent certification or anything of that nature.

We provide all the travel agent training you could possibly need, from booking basics to how to market your travel business like a pro

Pro: you’re in control, and you can work whenever you'd like

One of the best reasons to become a Fora Advisor: you really are in control of your business. You can work according to whatever schedule you'd like, operating your business as a travel side hustle or full-time gig. 

Fora Advisors are independent contractors that use our platforms to hone their skills and knowledge, collaborate with their fellow advisors in a professional setting and use our proprietary booking software — just to name a few of the perks. 

(P.S. Learn how to become an independent travel agent and what that means.)

Pro: travel agents can work from anywhere

One of the coolest perks of becoming a travel agent online is that you never have to commit to an office space. Fora Advisors literally work from all over the world. As long as you have an internet connection, you can sell travel with us. 

We should note that not all travel agencies allow this, however. Plenty of agencies still stick to the brick-and-mortar office model of the 20th century. But we find this to be limiting (and outdated). 

Pro: you get to work in an exciting field that makes people happy

Through the window of a safari vehicle: a giraffe marches along an otherwise verdant and lonely savannah

For many, being a travel agent is worth it simply because you’re essentially selling happiness and excitement. 

The best places to visit in Spain for first timers, the most gorgeous Bahamas resorts, the swankiest hotels in Downtown NYC…as a Fora Advisor, you’re planning trips to amazing destinations, creating some of your clients’ fondest memories. 

Heard enough? Sign up to become a Fora Advisor today.

Pro: you can choose your niche (or skip one entirely)

We’ve touched on this before, but the ability to control your business also means you get to control what type of travel you sell. And there are so many different travel agent jobs and niches. 

Want to make reservations at glamorous hotels in Dubai for discerning travelers? Perhaps becoming a luxury travel agent is in your wheelhouse. Want to help your clients enjoy the magic of Disney or Universal Studios? How about helping your clients embark on voyages on the high seas to scenic, tropical destinations? The options are endless and entirely up to you.

(Learn how to become a Disney travel agent or how to become a cruise travel agent — or both.)

Pro: your clients will likely use your services again (if you do a good job the first time around)

The promise of repeat business is very high for travel advisors. Clients who book their trips with Fora Advisors often return for future planning because the value we offer is bar none. 

Once you get into the swing of things, you may find yourself surprised by how straightforward travel planning can be when you have at your disposal all the resources we provide.

(Wondering how to be a successful travel advisor? We have tips.)

Pro: you’ll be able to enjoy awesome travel perks on occasion

A woman pokes her head out of an infinity pool. Behind her: coastal mountains rise up out of clouds for an eerie, luxe vibe

Part of selling travel is knowing the products and services that you’ll be offering to your clients — and there’s no better way to do so than to experience them firsthand. 

Many hotels offer site inspections and other perks to travel advisors for the explicit purpose of familiarizing oneself with the product (that is, the hotel). It’s important to know that these opportunities are often reserved for established advisors in a professional capacity, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them once you reach that level.

Learn more about travel agent FAM trips.

Pro: startup costs are minimal (at Fora, anyway)

Just about any independent business is going to have startup costs: equipment, office space, licenses…you get the idea. To become a Fora Advisor, these costs are minimal, though. Our membership fee costs $49 monthly or $299 annually — which is far lower than startup costs to join traditional travel agencies, where school and training requirements often total in the thousands. 

Even better, most Fora Advisors make their membership fee back within the first month. 

Sound like a sweet deal? Become a Fora Advisor today.

Is being a travel agent worth it: the cons

No job is without its cons, but we bet you'll still think being a travel agent is worth it after checking out the cons below. 

Con: there are startup costs to consider

Through trees and urban skyline, Syndey Opera House is visible across the harbor with more high-rises visible in the distance

We get it. Startup costs are a bummer. But again, Fora’s membership fee is a far cry from traditional agency fees — and covers everything you need to succeed. 

For one, all your training — including advanced, optional courses — is included in the membership fee. Training alone can cost thousands of dollars (at other agencies).

As a travel advisor with Fora, you’ll also receive unlimited support and guidance, both from our A+ support team and from our community of advisors. Unlike many existing agencies, where there can be competition between travel agents, Fora Advisors are encouraged to share their wisdom and tips in a collaborative forum (simply put: there are more than enough clients to go around). 

Fora Advisors can also use our proprietary booking platform to make reservations at over 28,000 hotels around the world and counting, streamlining a process that’s often outdated and convoluted. And finally, we offer an extraordinary amount of marketing resources, from social media templates to a personal landing page (saving you hundreds on essential website costs). 

We’re all for transparency, too, so check out our guide to how much does it cost to become a travel agent if you want all the details.

Con: there’s a learning curve once you master the basics

Learning how to book ordinary hotel rooms, rental cars and other travel partners is often quite simple. These courses only take a few hours, and most advisors are comfortable making bookings within a couple days of being accepted. 

However, more extravagant bookings — like resort buyouts and extended tours (like a two-month trip across Europe) — do require a finer touch and involve more logistics. There’s much more back-and-forth between all parties, and getting things wrong can be catastrophic for both you and your clients. But don’t worry, as a Fora Advisor, you’ll have access to all the resources you need to make the leap to higher tiers of travel planning — it just takes time and effort. 

On the flip side, these more involved bookings are extremely lucrative, sometimes raking in tens of thousands of dollars in commissions. 

(Sidenote: how long does it take to become a travel agent? Check out our guide.)

Con (potentially): you’ll need to develop your interpersonal skills

A woman in a hijab teleconferences on her computer from what appears to be her trendy home office

The best travel advisors have excellent interpersonal skills. 

That’s not to say you have to be an extrovert, though. Working with clients is often a one-on-one experience. In fact, the human touch is what separates the transaction of working with a travel advisor from booking through an impersonal online travel agency, like Booking.com.

The good news is that most clients simply want to work with a friendly advisor who takes their needs and goals seriously. Likewise, a good portion of travel planning is simply listening. Over time, you’ll find that confidence comes naturally.  

(How do travel agents get clients, anyway? Our guide tells all.)

Con: some clients expect white-glove service

While you don’t necessarily need to be the most outgoing person to be a successful travel advisor, you may need to extend the white-glove service. Travel planning is a customer-facing role, after all, and many clients expect a degree of attentiveness and professionalism. 

This goes back to the idea of simply listening to what your client wants, deciphering their needs (because oftentimes, goals and needs aren’t communicated clearly) and treating them with respect — this is doubly important for luxury and corporate travel agents, where the stakes are often higher (and the rewards even more so).

Con: most travel agents only earn income from commissions & planning fees (i.e., there’s no base pay)

The only notable drawback of being an independent travel advisor is that you’re forgoing base pay to sell trips. This is the trade-off for being your own boss and setting your own schedule. 

On the flip side, this also means your earning potential is unlimited. As we mentioned, more than a few Fora Advisors earn significant revenue in commissions and travel-planning fees, and most still earn covetable income — especially since you don’t need prior experience or education.

Ready for the challenge? Apply to become a Fora Advisor.

Con: some travel agents are always on-call (including during holidays)

Travelers and locals peruse a Christmas market in Vienna while majestic Old World architecture stands prominently in the foggy background

This is largely by choice, but you’ll often find that the more successful you are as a travel advisor, the more time you need to invest back into your business. Your clients will often expect you to be available in case something goes awry — even if they’re on the other side of the world, in a completely different time zone. And since so many people travel during holidays, you may find yourself busy during your own celebrations. 

That being said, this is largely optional. As your own boss, you get to set your hours and choose what trips to book for clients.

Need more context? We discuss this more in our guide to what it takes to become a travel agent

Con: if you don’t work with a host agency, you could be liable for your clients

This isn’t something that applies to Fora Advisors, but if you’re operating your own travel agency, it’s something you should be aware of. For instance, making reservations with unreliable partners could make you liable for damages or worse if something goes wrong. 

This isn’t something that comes up often — and again, as a Fora Advisor, it isn’t something you’ll need to worry about.

Con: your own vacations might turn into work trips

It can be hard to separate business from pleasure, and you may find yourself checking out the more technical aspects of a hotel or experience during your own vacations. This isn’t necessarily a con, though, and many travel advisors love this aspect of the business.

Overall: is being a travel agent worth it? We think so!

Being a travel agent is worth it many times over. You get to set your own schedule, make people happy, live out your passion for travel and make a fantastic living. What’s not to love? But it does take effort and commitment. 

If that sounds like a dream, apply to become a Fora Advisor today.

Or check out more travel advisor resources if you’re still making a decision:

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