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How to become a Disney travel agent?

woverbay11

New Member
Original Poster
I am a stay at home dad and my youngest will be starting Kindergarten in July so I will have a lot more time on my hands. I have always loved planning vacations and absolutely love Disney World. We are DVC members and try to go at least every year. So I figured what better to do than to use my love for Disney to help others enjoy the most magical place on earth. Can anyone give me any tips on where to start?

Thanks!
 

real mad hatter

Well-Known Member
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I am a stay at home dad and my youngest will be starting Kindergarten in July so I will have a lot more time on my hands. I have always loved planning vacations and absolutely love Disney World. We are DVC members and try to go at least every year. So I figured what better to do than to use my love for Disney to help others enjoy the most magical place on earth. Can anyone give me any tips on where to start?

Thanks!
Welcome aboard.I host Disney parties every three months,at my house.Other Disney friends bring food & drink,and we watch others vacation dvd's and discuss various things,swop ideas,I do a Disney trivia game,etc.My first one this year is in two weeks so I'am busy getting things organised as they'll be around 12 to 15 guests.;)
 

BigRedDad

Well-Known Member
Try some of the big companies to see their requirements. Some of them have rigorous hours and large commitments. You could also start your own as a business maybe.
 

Master Yoda

Pro Star Wars geek.
Premium Member
Getting into the the Disney Travel Agent business can be a little tough when you do not have any experience. The first step would be contacting some of the Disney specific travel agencies about employment. Unfortunately, I dot not know of any that are currently hiring those with no experience.

I can however give you some advice of what to avoid and what will be expected of you.

1. Some travel agencies are run much like multilevel marketing schemes. Avoid these agencies. They will want you to pay for training, registration, etc. At that point, they really do not care if you book a single trip as they have made money off of you and anything you book will just be more money for them. I did not pay a dime for my training. A small fee for registering with the agency when you have no experience is legit, but anything else should be a red flag. You will also be expected to list with one of the agencies such as IATA. If you want to do Disney specifically, look for an agency that is Earmarked. It is not an absolute deal breaker if they are not, but Disney does not give Earmarked status to just anyone and it will let you know that the agency is serious about booking Disney.

2. There needs to be a support system in place and open communication between agents. Don't work for an agency that is just going to sign you up and then throw you to the wolves. You can never know "everything" about Disney. There is simply too much and it constantly changes. I can honestly say that I know a good bit about traveling with Disney. I work with a number of other agents that make me look like a bumbling idiot and all of us regularly ask questions of each other. Without that support system in place I would have been lost.

3. Your organizational skills must be excellent. Once you get going you will be keeping track of dozens of clients trips, all of which will have different wants and needs. They are depending on you to take all of the hassle out of traveling. When a promotion drops you need to be ready at a moments notice to start re-booking clients. You will need to keep track of all of the important dates such as payments, dining, etc and when they have questions you need to answer accurately and quickly. A missed date can mean the automatic cancellation of a Disney cruise. That is not a phone call that you will want to make.

4. Be prepared for a huge knowledge shock. When I started as a TA I thought I knew a lot about Disney. What I quickly found out was I knew a lot about how "I" did Disney. To be a good TA you need to know how everyone does Disney. This means a lot of reading about elements of a Disney vacation that you have no interest in. If a client wants to go golfing, you need to know what options they have even if you have never hit a golf ball in your life.

5. Being a Disney TA is enjoyable, but it is a job. There are a lot of late nights, early mornings and clients that make you crazy.

6. Good communication skills are essential. You must be pleasant, clear, concise and helpful. Much of your communication will be via email. The written word does not transmit tone all that well. Be prepared to proof read everything you send out to make sure you do not write anything that will upset a client.

If you have some specific questions feel free to ask.
 

DisneyJoe

Well-Known Member
Everything that Master Yoda said - plus you need to be able to market yourself - people don't just walk up to you and hand you $200 to book their trip.

Some agencies will do the agency marketing and share leads with you, but there are only so many of them to go around - you need to be able to build your own client following.

I'll repeat what he said about the support from the agency - many you can judge immediately when you try to contact them asking to be an agent. If they reply to you after a few days or weeks and then tell you that you need to wait 4 weeks to have an appointment to talk to the owner or manager, then something is wrong - run away.
 

Kingdom Konsultant

WDWMAGIC Board Sponsor
Premium Member
WDWMAGIC Sponsor
I do suggest looking into the travel institute online. They have many courses that you can take to become an agent and they also have the TAP exam which you must take and pass in order to become an agent. That is one of my rules when hiring new agents. They must have either worked as an agent prior or have taken the courses and passed the TAP for consideration. Then we have a test that they must take in order to be hired. There is a lot to learn when it comes to selling travel. If you want to do it the right way, then go this route.

Good luck!

Pam
 

luv

Well-Known Member
I thought about it, too.

I'm pleasant, do very well with customer service on the phone, am extremely organized, have buckets of patience (and can hide it when I run out, lol) - even have hospitality background at includes hotels and airlines...and now I live in Orlando! OK, I'm talking myself into it again, lol. But I HATE to sell. For me, customer service is all about serving the other person's needs, not mine.

Many years ago, I did customer service on the phone as a big part of my job and tried to talk my boss (and friend) into sending me to a seminar. "Huh! No. You should be teaching that. You don't need to go to one." But he agreed to order the booklet for $20. He was right. I was better. :)

But I'm not selling anything.

I'd never want to push anyone into anything I didn't really believe in, lol. I'll try to convince everyone on this board to eat the cranberry waffle at RFC, lol, but I would never call someone up and say, "You should go to Disney World!"

I also have this honest thing. I can't lie. It eats at me and eats at me. I can OMIT things, if necessary, but i don't like it. I wouldn't want to push someone into one hotel because I got a bigger commission if I knew they had their little hearts set on another. I lack the shrewd thing. I lack the "good business" thing.

I'd have more money if I were a better business person, but we all have our strengths. I know where mine lie.

Maybe one day. Maybe. :)

You, OP, should give it a LOT of thought. It's a lot of work and not all fun, like planning a vacation might be.
 

talonstruck

Member
I would add make sure you are becoming an agent for the right reasons also. Many do it because they want to get "huge" discounts on their trips. Not a good idea. Once you get into it, it can be rewarding, fun, and you will forge new friendships. It can also quickly take over your life;)
 

RedDad

Smitty Werben JagerManJensen
Premium Member
My wife has dabbled in it as a stay-at-home mom, just because she loves planning a WDW trip almost as much as actually going. She started by planning trips for free for family and friends, and before long she had a reputation by word of mouth. Friends of friends started contacting her and asking for advice, and she landed a few payed jobs. Now, she's trying to decide on whether to take it further and become a legit TA, or just keep helping people out for fun. One of the problems with not being an authorized TA is that you can't book people's trips for them, just advise them on what to book themselves, which causes problems when the people aren't as "on the ball" as she is...
 

Caresse

New Member
I'm looking for information as well. I just left Disney after 3 years with the DRC. I still have many contacts within the organization, and all of my friends in the travel trade department have told me to become a TA.
 

lovepooh

Well-Known Member
I have to agree being a Travel Agent is a LOT of work. I have been a TA for 20 years and have seen lots up and more downs with the travel industry! myself one day would love to be a Disney Agent but I know its a lot of work.
I work as a after-hours agent now and believe me I work on the harder side of Travel. Travelers stuck and needing help. Winter is my worst season with winter weather issues. That is something you would have to deal with being a Disney Agent, getting there is half the battle sometimes. Cancellations last minute from the airlines can be real fun to get your clients to the land of the mouse! But good luck because it can also be extremely rewarding.

Don't get me wrong I love being a travel agent. you get to talk to people from all over and getting your clients to their location and of course what could be more fun and rewarding then Disney?

For me to become a TA I had to go to travel school years ago before anyone would even look at me to get hired.
Good luck and it will be lots of fun!:D
 

Caresse

New Member
Thanks! Yes, I've had to deal with stranded travelers as well, while as a reservation agent. I've also had the calls from stranded guests who had booked through a TA. I would be available to my guests anytime. Even after DRC hours. If I couldn't get it fixed before 10 PM, I would be on the phone at 7AM. As far as booking WDW, I've been doing that for the last 3 years. I know the parks, the resorts, the tickets, airfare, the packages inside and out. I also know the value that travel insurance adds to packages in times of inclement weather as well.
 

SecondStarTilMorning

Well-Known Member
I'm very fortunate, a friend of mine owns an agency and waived his usual $599 fee and allowed me to join his agency for free. After about a week of doing some online training and filling out some applications I now have my CLIA agent card (required to get travel agent discounts at disney and other places) and also have completed the disney college of knowledge (which is a piece of cake honestly, took me less than two hours clicking around on the computer). I'm now actively booking trips, earning commissions, etc. I will say that I would never pay that $599 fee though, although I probably am saving at least that much money with my TA discount for our upcoming trip.
 

DisneyJoe

Well-Known Member
I'm very fortunate, a friend of mine owns an agency and waived his usual $599 fee and allowed me to join his agency for free. After about a week of doing some online training and filling out some applications I now have my CLIA agent card (required to get travel agent discounts at disney and other places) and also have completed the disney college of knowledge (which is a piece of cake honestly, took me less than two hours clicking around on the computer). I'm now actively booking trips, earning commissions, etc. I will say that I would never pay that $599 fee though, although I probably am saving at least that much money with my TA discount for our upcoming trip.
To legitimately have and keep the CLIA agent card you should be enrolled in their Accredited Cruise Counselor Program which involves coursework, ship inspections, 2 sailings on different cruise lines, and possibly have a few other requirements fulfilled, including selling staterooms. You have 2 years to complete the requirements or the card will be suspended - unless the owner is granting you one of their few owner cards, which should only be for their use.

I am always very cautious with agencies that allow you to sign up and have access to TA discounts immediately (a week?), this makes many travel suppliers such as Disney put much tighter policies on their discounts like they just did in the last few months. (For example, with Disney we used to be able to take a few short trips (2-3 nights each) using TA discounts, if they were available. Now, due to people abusing this privilege, all agents are now limited to 1 TA discounted trip per year per destination) Disney can and will do productivity checks on agents before allowing them to use TA discounts; in other words, if you have just joined an agency and are using a TA discount and have hardly sold anything, they can refuse to give you the discount. This is nothing specifically against you or your agency owner friend, but in the past, there have been agencies that had hundreds if not thousands of agents that collected a yearly or monthly fee, and then told their members that they could "travel like a travel agent" and gave them ID cards.

It also cheapens the profession.

Beware.
 
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