Sunday, February 19, 2012
Starting A Cruise Travel Agency
For people who love to travel, starting a travel agency specializing in cruises can be very exciting. Earning a living by talking about your cruise experiences and helping direct less experienced cruisers to the right vacation can be very rewarding. Many people are also attracted to the travel discounts you can receive by becoming a member of the International Airline Travel Agency Network (IATAN). Membership is available after earning $5,000 in commissions during the previous 12 month period. It takes a little while to build your business. Great customer service and knowledge of the business are key ingredients to a successful career. Cruise lines tend to specialize to certain types of people. Some appeal to older crowds, others have many activities for children, while look for more active cruisers by providing more daytime activities on the ship or nighttime entertainment choices. One of the best ways to gain a lot of customers quickly is to sell a group trip. Join local groups, religious organizations, college alumni programs, etc. Cruise lines typically pay commissions of 12% - 15% of the base fare. This excludes charges for port taxes and government fees. Additional money can be made by selling travel insurances where commissions are much higher, selling tours while your clients are on land and booking airfare and transportation to the airport or port. If your clients take travel insurance, they will be covered in case of delays, lost luggage or sickness, which will reduce your chances of having an unhappy customer. As with any upstart business, you need to control expenses. A cruise travel agency can be operated right out of your home with the majority of work done through the telephone or internet. Cruise tickets can be sent by messengers to your clients. One of your more important and higher expenses will be the Errors and Omission Insurance Policy. This will protect you from mistakes during the booking process or from errors in printed materials or advertising.