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What exactly do you do as a travel agent?
“The primary responsibilities of a travel agent are to make the process of travel planning easier for their clients/customers and ensure they experience the best trip possible – be it for leisure or business. Travel agents work directly with the various vendors of travel, the public, and their clients in order to determine the best possible travel destinations, transportation arrangements, and accommodations for the client’s particular needs. Lots of people believe when they go on Booking.com or Expedia they are removing the travel agent, but really they’re just not seeing the travel agent that’s dealing with them.”
Where would you recommend traveling to if I wanted to take a vacation in the current global environment
“Well, my recommendation would be based on whatever it is my client/customer would want to do or experience on their vacation, so I’d have to speak with him/her off-air and discuss that. In general, though, Mexico and the Caribbean are the top places for vacation travel right now.”
How do you manage all your responsibilities?
“Well, I have a very loving and supportive husband who understands the nature and demand of my business. Once he’s available, he’ll take the babies to Grandma’s house or he’ll have them in the kitchen/living room while I’m locked up in our bedroom, looking for hotels or flights for a client. Also, I do some scheduling but with two children (each under two years old), that may not always go according to plan. Sometimes I even book travel while I’m breastfeeding (lol!)
The beauty of my travel business is that I work from home/on the go and I can operate via my laptop or phone. I can do multiple things at once, once one activity doesn’t hinder the other. Plus I have awesome clients who are understanding and great business partners I can call on for help, should the need arise.”
Is special training needed to become a travel agent?
“With my particular company, no. Traditionally there are certain qualifications, and certifications you’d have to complete to be able to interact with the various vendors of travel. However, with the company I’ve partnered with, they allow us to “borrow/share” their credentials so they act as a host agency and then we become Independent Travel Advisors (kinda like being on contract). They then provide all the relevant training for us, on the job.
We have access to tutorials, webinars, and various certification courses. If we want to, we can even get certified and/or specially trained by the various vendors we have access to. Recently I got certified as a USVI Specialist through the Travel Agent University!! (insert massive celebration here!) . Or we can go on Familiarization Trips (FAM Trips for short) to experience what the vendors have to offer firsthand.”
What advice would you give to someone who is seeking to make a change in their life?
“Make a decision and from that decision, make a change! Full-stop! Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a new result is truly ridiculous! So actually do something different! Take a leap of faith! I had absolutely nothing when I started my business, so I knew I had nothing to lose. Don’t say no because it doesn’t look like what you wanted or you’re afraid you won’t be good at it or good enough! Say yes, and make it what you want it and learn/master it along the way.”
Please feel free to contact Sonishea at:
Email: [email protected]
Blessings in abundance!