Your Travel Agency

Travel Professional Traits for Success

Travel Professional Traits for Success

Written By: Joanie Ogg, CTC, MCC  



Let’s face it working from home has its share of challenges, which we have discussed in previous articles but what business worth pursuing doesn’t? The good news is that certain individuals really do possess traits and qualities that are symbiotic with working from home. When I conduct seminars for agents, I focus on some of the traits that are needed to be as effective a travel professional as possible. Not everyone will possess all of these traits and there are likely even more that would be helpful. Following are some Travel Professional Traits for Success. 


Knowledge is Key 

As we all know being a travel professional is not as easy as it looks. Sure, we don’t have to have a degree but it certainly helps and the more education we can invest in our careers the more successful we are sure to be. Studies done by Plog Research, The Travel Institute and others prove this to be fact. Knowledge is power and the beautiful thing is that it can never be taken away from us. We need to refresh and update our skills and knowledge base but once we own that knowledge in our minds it is truly ours. 


Continuing education is key to staying on top in our business. We have so many opportunities to take advantage of educational programs online and in person. I believe it is our duty to clients to stay abreast of the changes and new products and services that are available in our market. With the many choices of educational opportunities for travel professionals there is no excuse not to continue to upgrade and cement our knowledge and experience to best serve our customers. 


Do you have a plan? 

I am a firm believer in the need to have a plan so we know where we are headed. Additionally, we need to have a plan to check our efforts against or successes as we move along in our business. A plan can always change but if we don’t have a starting place and a final goal, it is pretty hard to stay focused and on track in my opinion. 


So my suggestion here is to ask yourself the simple question “What do I want to achieve from my travel agency?” Just jotting down the various reasons will help you to make the plan. In fact, this is a great exercise even if you have been an agent for many years. Perhaps what you thought you wanted to achieve or the goal you wanted to reach has changed. Time changes many things and perhaps when you began doing this 10 years ago you wanted to be home with your children and this was the perfect solution. Now they are grown and you are freer to get out and market and perhaps network in your community. Your goals may have changed and perhaps you wish to change them to fit your place in time. 


In order to build a solid travel business you must have a central purpose and a goal. Doing too many different things and having no direction will likely take you in circles without the results you strive to achieve. It is common knowledge that people who fail in businesses often had not goal or defined purpose to start with. Maybe writing a business plan is not your thing but at least set a purpose and goals for your travel business success so you can reap the rewards of a great plan. 


Determination and Tenacity 

OK, I am so guilty of this one. I admit to having a serious problem with finishing some projects I start. I must have 10 needlework projects that I have started but have yet to complete. Then there is the lining of my pantry shelves that is half finished, my golf lessons that are on hold, and the list goes on. I guess if my heart is not really in it I have trouble following through and completing the task. I am not sharing this so you will see my faults but instead so you will look within and realize too that as long as we are determined to make the important things successful then we should be all right. 


Remember always that you have friends and colleagues out there that like you need to share and help one another from time to time. Take advantage of by participating in the Travel Professional Community that we operate. It is free to join and is such an amazing source of information for agents.  


This is not like starting golf lessons or a needlepoint project that I think I can safely put on a back burner till I have the time or determination to finish the project. You started or are starting your travel business because you want to see it succeed, right? This is an important undertaking and one that requires your determination and your tenacity to see it through. Not every day will be a piece of cake but other days will more than make up for them. Having a home based travel business has great benefits but some occasional hurdles or speed bumps might slow things down. Just hang in there and remember why you started this and focus on your objectives. There are also few things more rewarding once you have succeeded. 


Self – Discipline: Of course I have that! 

At least I think I do have self-discipline to some degree. I was raised by a workaholic father whose middle name was self-discipline so I believe I inherited that trait. Sometimes I am not sure it is such a great quality though as I have a hard time moving into the relaxation and let it go mode. Are you self-disciplined? How do we know if we are or not? I guess if we start looking at our ability or lack of ability to go to work daily in a home environment with a million and one distractions we might have a good idea of our success in this area. 


Let’s face it, the sun might be shining and well, you deserve a day off right? No one will know or care right? You can simply take advantage of the beautiful day and walk away from the work at hand and live for the moment, right? It is true that you probably can take the day, but will you deal with guilt while trying to enjoy this day that you stole from your workload? If you can do that without feeling guilty all day, then more power to you. 


I for one, am not so good at this. It is funny but I can almost remember each day that I stole from my workload over the last 6 years. In fact, I always feel so lousy about it that I work on the weekends to make up for it. I know: I have a problem but that’s just me and this is about you. My husband Tom is a pro at living for the moment. I tease him about majoring in it as if it were a career. His motto is, “When there are waves, one surfs!” That is his creed and he is able to make it work for him. I admire it, as he always seems to get his work done and completed in the time frame he expected to. After 34 years of marriage, I am still trying to figure this one out!  


Sure we need to be disciplined and be able to avoid distractions but we also need to remember that working from home and the flexibility it offers can really let us do it all. In an office situation one has hours when they work and folks are there with them in that environment working too. It would be pretty hard to steal an hour or two and take a break without co-workers raising some eyebrows. 


Working at home means that you don t have a boss or co-workers to keep you on track, in most cases you are the boss! When you are the boss it is often easy to do something other than the work you have to complete. Your personal life is surrounding you and there are so many things other than work that you could or maybe want to be doing. Try really hard to discipline yourself to complete certain tasks daily at specific times. This will help you get in a routine and will make other choices seem inconvenient to your work schedule. 


Do you want it bad enough? 

Do you really want to make a go of this business you are working so hard at? If you really want to succeed and make a living as a home based travel agent then you must determine exactly what you want or are striving for in your financial future and let that be your driving force. Perhaps you are looking at this as a second income. If so, you still have goals to achieve and a financial future to work toward. It is your decision to make, but it is a decision that should lead you to a goal you have set for yourself. If you want it bad enough, you will make it happen! 


Are you passionate? 

Seriously, you should be passionate about your travel business. We are in the business for creating dreams and memories for people. We are able to learn about and often experience some of the worlds most remarkable sites and sounds. You really need to thoroughly enjoy what you are doing in order to succeed at it. 


When you are enjoying what you do are you also enthusiastic? Isn’t it amazing how enthusiasm is catching? All of us enjoy sharing in others enthusiasm and joy. Spread that enthusiasm for your travel business and your career choice and people will want to be a part of what you do. Share your passion for this industry. I admit that I LOVE THIS BUSINESS! I am passionate about it and I really do love doing what I do. I have made it my lifelong career and I am thrilled with the choices I have made. Do you feel it? Can you read my enthusiasm and energy for my business choices? Trust me, it is there! 


In summary: go over these points and be honest with yourself about how you feel about each one. 

  1. Knowledge is Key
  2. Do you have a plan?
  3. Determination and Tenacity
  4. Self Discipline
  5. Desire for Success
  6. Passion


We all want to succeed without a doubt, but it is our passion and enthusiasm that brings it all together. All of these are qualities, will certainly carry you to continued success and joy operating your travel business.