Frequently Asked Questions
A home-based Travel Advisor’s job is to help his/her customer find the best value for their money, not the cheapest deal. The Advisor often conducts a preliminary assessment of the customer’s dates of travel, interests, budget and most important considerations to ensure a perfect vacation experience. Do they like quiet beach vacations or prefer adventurous getaways? Are they foodies or does a hopping nightlife top their list? Do they want an all-inclusive resort or a boutique hotel? If the trip is outside the U.S., a Travel Advisor determines the documentation requirements needed, such as passports or visas. After initial research, the Travel Advisor then compiles and presents multiple travel package options to the customer.
Good computer, excellent organizational, and written/verbal communication skills are essential, as well as a customer service mindset and attention to detail. Good grammar and competent math ability are a must for calculating fares, vacation package components and timetables. Building and maintaining your customer databases and social media profiles on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram are important to help you market your services. Destination knowledge continues throughout a Travel Advisor’s career to stay abreast of industry trends and popular travel locations. Knowledge of current world geography is also important to maintain.
Remember, your most important asset is your database. A database is simply a list of people and their contact information. Your Christmas, golf club and college alumni lists, for example, are valuable databases. Start with everyone you know and then grow it by attracting new clients or referrals. Keeping detailed notes on client preferences and past travel can help you suggest new itineraries and destinations they might not have considered. ATHome will also provide training on how to grow your database.
Clients do not pay your commissions, suppliers do, because you are bringing them sales. Suppliers pay commissions once a client returns from a trip. Each supplier sets their own commission rates, from 5-30%, with most averaging 10-15% of the tour or cruise price, excluding taxes or fees. The average commission is $200-$500 for a seven-day vacation for a family of four. Honeymoon commissions usually range from $500-$1,000. Commissions on groups can vary, ranging from $1,000-$50,000. So how much money you earn depends greatly on how many of these types of vacations you sell each year. It is not uncommon for a full-time, home-based Travel Advisor to make a six-figure income.
To ensure your commissions are accurate and paid in a timely manner, it is critical that you put all your client’s trip details in the system as soon as you complete the reservation.
When you start, approximately 8,000 vacation packages and cruise deals to destinations across the globe will be loaded on to your customized website. Each week, hundreds of new offers will be uploaded to your website and all expired specials will be removed. You will enjoy the full benefits of a regularly maintained and content-rich website without the need to spend countless hours and resources on web hosting, administering and updating.
Familiarization trips, better known as FAMs, are educational, invitation-only events, organized exclusively for Travel Advisors and media partners by tour operators, hotels and resorts. FAMs typically offer highly discounted or even complimentary accommodations for Travel Advisors attending.
Designed to extensively showcase a destination or brand/product, FAMs afford Travel Advisors a custom-created trip full of memorable and personalized experiences, providing them with detailed knowledge that will allow them to better advise and expertly plan vacations for their clients. FAMs are a highly coveted marketing tool which help generate leads and new business for your travel agency. ATHome is proud to offer these trips, setting us apart from other host agencies!
Should an error occur as an independent Travel Advisor, the legal consequences can be damaging to your career. E&O Insurance protects you when you make a mistake or forget to do something important for a client’s vacation. Additionally, E&O covers you when your customer loses money due to a travel supplier’s default or incompetence.
Given the mounting litigiousness of society today, having E&O protection safeguards you and your personal assets. This peace of mind can cost you more than $500 per year on your own but is a priceless part of the value that ATHome provides as your host agency.
What Our Members Say
After much research and looking into other agencies, I decided to make ATHome my host agency and have no regrets. I immediately felt the comradery and warmth from Elaine and Lynn. They answered my numerous questions in a timely manner, were available when I came across an issue that I was unsure of and made sure that I was connected to multiple suppliers. Although they aren't one of the biggest agencies, in my opinion they are the best. I'm happy with the decision that I made and am looking forward to a long and successful partnership.
- Aiyana Phillips
I have been working with ATHome (AARC) since 2008. I have been really pleased with the support and training I have received. They are always receptive and helpful when I call. The staff are knowledgeable and informative. They have always assisted me with any questions or problems that arise. I would recommend them as a host agency for anyone who wants to become a travel advisor.
- Jesse Mash
I retired from the Navy and was looking for a way to supplement my retirement and work from home. I loved travel and started researching the business and how to get started. I settled on ATHome as they provided everything I needed to get started. The training, website and access to the best travel providers. From the start you are treated like a professional the staff is very responsive to your needs and provide excellent support. They make you feel special, whether it is your first booking or your millionth. If you love travel and helping other live their dreams, I would highly recommend ATHome to give you the tools, training and edge you need to succeed.
- Joseph Bishop
Are you interested in travel? Would you like to help others find their dream vacations? I strongly recommend ATHome. I found them online approximately six years ago and am retired and running a home-based travel agency. The courses supplied are comprehensive and you have a mentor to help you through any rough spots. When you are through with your training, tools are provided for you to begin working in this awesome industry. The mentors during training do not go away after you start your business; there is a team of people providing you with all the support you will ever need. I personally have two very special individuals that are always right here when I need them. When I email or phone, my questions or concerns are taken care of. I want to add we have just been introduced to a new training and booking site that is wonderful!
- Sharron Motry
ATHome has been great. Starting a new travel agency is sometimes challenging. ATHome walked me through everything. Each time I came across something I was not certain of, they were quick to help me. They have helped my first year as a travel advisor to be a successful one.
- Cynthia Seitz
I am new to being a travel advisor. I'm learning a lot. Everyone has been very helpful. All of my questions are answered and information that I didn't ask about is given. You all go above and beyond. I will be booking my first trip this weekend and have five more clients who have requested my services.
- Ronda Grandberry