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How to become a Disney travel agent?

Kingdom Konsultant

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Premium Member
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There is so much great information on this forum, it's the most helpful forum I've found to date on the topic of being a Disney Vacation Planner!

I'm in the same boat as a lot of the posts here. My other issue is I'd really love to talk to someone about the opportunity more directly to see if it is the right option for me. I've posted in a few Facebook groups about it and I didn't really get much reply for a one-on-one chat with a current agent.
If you have questions, I can certainly try to answer them for you. You can email me if you like. I will try to get back to you quickly, but please keep in mind that my clients needs come first.

I have been to Disney 7 times in my life and am working on booking trip #8 this September. I have considered becoming a travel agent in general for many years, but always just stuck with what I knew work-wise. Now I'm starting to think I should really follow my passions and do something I love. I have over 10 years of high level customer service and sales experience, and I've traveled a lot including study abroad programs, so I understand the travel industry very well from a traveler's point of view (I've been through being stranded due to an airline strike and lost luggage...too many times).

Many owners/managers want a certain amount of trips/cruises in the last few years. There is a lot of work that a travel agent does that our clients never know about. It's a job just like any other with procedures and rules. The more familiar you are with a product due to first hand knowledge, the better off you are.

My only issue is, it seems like I need to wait for my trip to be completed in September to even apply places. Also, some of the agencies that seem most reputable don't want to consider you if you haven't had a DCL experience, and my experience is solely WDW. That is due to the fact that if you are not proficient in that area, you would not be able to sell it properly. Many agencies sell every destination that Disney offers so having agents that are well rounded when it comes to selling travel is important. You may want to wait until you have a little more travel experience. I would also look at some of the hotels that you haven't stayed at to see what they are like. If you are limited, that will create a challenge when trying to go with a Disney oriented agency.
I actually quiz those that make it to an interview on things that have to do with various resorts, etc. I don't make it easy. LOL

Any tips on if I should wait until after my September trip? I would. I'm an information gatherer/hoarder so I really like to have as much information as possible before setting my mind on doing something, even if it's a few months out!
familiarize yourself with every hotel, the packages, the dining plans, the insurance. The more you educate yourself, the better off you will be when you do apply at an agency.

Good luck!!!

Pam
 

MagicalMaci

Well-Known Member
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I just read through this whole thread, thinking it hadn't been revived until I saw the timestamps on the last few! Thank you everyone for the great info. I recently had an interview with a company and the startup and monthly fees seemed high with a low commission split, so I'm glad I was able to come over here and confirm my suspicions.
 

DVCPluto

Well-Known Member
I just read through this whole thread, thinking it hadn't been revived until I saw the timestamps on the last few! Thank you everyone for the great info. I recently had an interview with a company and the startup and monthly fees seemed high with a low commission split, so I'm glad I was able to come over here and confirm my suspicions.
You should not pay a fee. I did not have to pay for College of DK or anything besides business cards. Good luck! If you travel to Disney properties frequently, you should be able to find a good agency that will hire you. :)
 

nighttowll

New Member
Hi everyone.

Thanks for all the great information. I've wanted to be a travel agent since I was in high school, but have never pursued the idea because I just didn't feel it was a very realistic dream. When I was younger, I wasn't really sure how to break into the business and was worried I'd have a hard time making enough to support myself. The profession just always seemed so iffy with the internet offering free advice, and I have always liked the security of a salaried job.

I currently have a full time job and like many here vacation plan for friends and family on the side as a hobby. I really love to research, organize, and plan. I'll plan anything if you let me, and people are always telling me I need to be some type of planner (wedding / party, etc), travel agent, or Disney planner. I'm at a point in my life right now where I'm trying to decide what I want to do next and am wondering if I should give being some type of Travel Agent at least on a part time basis a chance.

I think what is holding me back is:

1. Knowing exactly where to start.

2. Knowing I have no real travel related work experience.
I do have recent travel experience which I've learned from this thread may count for something. (To Disney and other theme parks in the greater Orlando area and to a number of cities and states in the US and oversea.)
I also have planning experience as far as my own trips are concerned, but I don't think that is going to count for much without certifications, training, or real work experience to go along with it.

3. I also worry I have no idea what being a travel agent really entails.
This brings me to my question, for those of you who started by planning trips for family and friends, how do you find that planning trips as a travel agent differs? I guess I'm really just nervous that there isn't as much planning or organizing to the job as I think there is or that the whole process is going to end up being a very different experience from what I imagine it to be or how I currently plan. I'd like to know what I'm really getting into if I do decide to pursue this further.

Thanks
 

Missymoe4

Well-Known Member
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.;)
Awesome! I wish I lived if your area.
 

DisneyJoe

Well-Known Member
3. I also worry I have no idea what being a travel agent really entails.
This brings me to my question, for those of you who started by planning trips for family and friends, how do you find that planning trips as a travel agent differs? I guess I'm really just nervous that there isn't as much planning or organizing to the job as I think there is or that the whole process is going to end up being a very different experience from what I imagine it to be or how I currently plan. I'd like to know what I'm really getting into if I do decide to pursue this further.
- it is a customer service job, dealing with people directly and their many varied personalities and temperaments
- it is a sales job, you aren't selling travel as much as you are selling yourself and your service ("Why should I book with you instead of Disney directly?")
- you need to be organized and have a high attention to detail
- you only earn commission after the client travels, the agency gets paid, and then the agency gives you your portion. If you are booking a trip for someone for next summer, you won't see the money for that trip until then.
- you cannot plan everyone's trip as if it was your own. While you may be a commando, up and at the park at rope drop type of traveler, not every client is like that, so you need to listen to them and help them plan what is best for them.
- you shouldn't sell with your wallet; in other words, if you are constantly looking for the cheapest trip, you will be doing yourself and the client a disservice if you try to advise every client the same way.
- if you are going to assist with client ADR's and FP+, you will need to be up and at the computer or on the phone by 7am.

I could go on and on, but that should give you an idea.
 
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Shelby31

New Member
I am interested in become a full time Disney travel agent. I travel to Disney World at least once a year and have an extensive knowledge of resorts, dining, parks and everything in the Disney bubble. I love planning, not only my family's trips but trips for friends and relatives. I also already have a client list. The only problem is, although I have sales and customer service experience, I do not have travel agent experience. I was looking into the Travel Institute and was wondering if this is the best way to go? Thanks
 

daveyp1471

New Member
Hi, I am reading this with interest. I work full-time but have a passion fro Orlando especially Disney. I live in the UK and I am trying to set up my own bespoke vacation planning business. I like many have helped friends and family save ££'s or $$'s over the years and love it.

I have contacted WDW travel agency but they require an IATA number etc and there is no way i can afford that. Would anyone on here be able to help? Obviously I'm in the UK but try to travel to Orlando every 2-3 years, previously it was twice a year but i now have young children. I have great communication skills, an office at home and I am prepared to train. Im more than happy to put the hours in and as my work is shift work I have lots of time free at different time son the day.

I have tried the link on page 1 but i can't get it to work.

Many thanks

Dave
 

wannabeBelle

Well-Known Member
Dave, Due to where you live, the rules for a TA are very different in the UK from what little I know of it. You might be best of contacting an agency there. Marie
 

sue b

New Member
I've read most of this thread and so happy I found it! I have been a full time working professional in the engineering and mining field (geologist actually) for 20 years, and I am seeing the light at the end of tunnel. My husband is looking at a big promotion where I may actually get to quit my job and spend time raising my kids. Being a TA has always sounded so fascinating but never remotely feasible. Now it is! I definately don't want to do it on my own, I like to be part of a team, (a solid, ethical, moral, reputable team) but able to work from home if needed. I'm a little opposite most on here though... I was thinking that I'd love to start my next career as a general TA, and then get into Disney trips. I learned so much about Disney and how being a TA works from the very detailed trips I've planned with a great TA. Is it any easier or better to start a career as a TA, rather than dive right into Disney? I know someone who is a Disney TA and is very anxious to talk with me. I think she is just starting out though. I also worry she may be part of one of those pyramid type companies because she seemed awfully eager to talk with me. However, I'm super cautious, and she is one of the most outgoing, helpful people I know, so it might be that she honestly wants to help me out :)
 

DisneyJoe

Well-Known Member
I've read most of this thread and so happy I found it! I have been a full time working professional in the engineering and mining field (geologist actually) for 20 years, and I am seeing the light at the end of tunnel. My husband is looking at a big promotion where I may actually get to quit my job and spend time raising my kids. Being a TA has always sounded so fascinating but never remotely feasible. Now it is! I definately don't want to do it on my own, I like to be part of a team, (a solid, ethical, moral, reputable team) but able to work from home if needed. I'm a little opposite most on here though... I was thinking that I'd love to start my next career as a general TA, and then get into Disney trips. I learned so much about Disney and how being a TA works from the very detailed trips I've planned with a great TA. Is it any easier or better to start a career as a TA, rather than dive right into Disney? I know someone who is a Disney TA and is very anxious to talk with me. I think she is just starting out though. I also worry she may be part of one of those pyramid type companies because she seemed awfully eager to talk with me. However, I'm super cautious, and she is one of the most outgoing, helpful people I know, so it might be that she honestly wants to help me out :)
Think of it this way - imagine you are a "general" TA and a potential client contacts you, and you ask "Where do you want to go?" and they say "I don't know, what would you recommend?" - what would your answer be?

IMHO, it is better to start with a focus and learn the ropes and then expand your knowledge.
 

Kingdom Konsultant

WDWMAGIC Board Sponsor
Premium Member
WDWMAGIC Sponsor
I've read most of this thread and so happy I found it! I have been a full time working professional in the engineering and mining field (geologist actually) for 20 years, and I am seeing the light at the end of tunnel. My husband is looking at a big promotion where I may actually get to quit my job and spend time raising my kids. Being a TA has always sounded so fascinating but never remotely feasible. Now it is! I definately don't want to do it on my own, I like to be part of a team, (a solid, ethical, moral, reputable team) but able to work from home if needed. I'm a little opposite most on here though... I was thinking that I'd love to start my next career as a general TA, and then get into Disney trips. I learned so much about Disney and how being a TA works from the very detailed trips I've planned with a great TA. Is it any easier or better to start a career as a TA, rather than dive right into Disney? I know someone who is a Disney TA and is very anxious to talk with me. I think she is just starting out though. I also worry she may be part of one of those pyramid type companies because she seemed awfully eager to talk with me. However, I'm super cautious, and she is one of the most outgoing, helpful people I know, so it might be that she honestly wants to help me out :)
You can start out either way. It is best to go with what you will be comfortable with. Think of the places that you have traveled to. that personal experience always helps with selling. If you go with an agency, keep in mind that many agencies sell every destination and may have Disney as their niche like my agency does.
Also check out the travel institute online. It's a good place to start if you want to become certified as a TA.
You do not want to go with someone that is new to the business...and if it is a pyramid type of company, RUN! Too many people get pulled in to those type of businesses and many times, they have absolutely no clue as to what they are doing.

Do your homework. Does whatever agency you contact charge a start up fee? Do you get any type of training? Check them out online also. Do a search and see what's out there. Also does their website look professional? What about their social media? Look at their facebook page to see how well they are doing there.

Good luck with your endeavor! There are a lot of not so good agencies out there so please be careful!

Pam
 

Ben E

New Member
Looking at making the leap into this. Found a possible agency to connect with. Doesn't appear to be any up front fees and they offer 12 weeks of training. My question is about their commission split, it starts at 55/45 which seems low; it is a sliding scale based on performance. However they also seem to offer a lot of marketing and administrative support. Assuming there is a fair amount of support for marketing and admin is this maybe a reasonable split?
 

sue b

New Member
Looking at making the leap into this. Found a possible agency to connect with. Doesn't appear to be any up front fees and they offer 12 weeks of training. My question is about their commission split, it starts at 55/45 which seems low; it is a sliding scale based on performance. However they also seem to offer a lot of marketing and administrative support. Assuming there is a fair amount of support for marketing and admin is this maybe a reasonable split?
Is it a company that is local to you? Is it the norm to work remotely for TA companies? That's something I've been wondering for a while.
 

DisneyJoe

Well-Known Member
Is it a company that is local to you? Is it the norm to work remotely for TA companies? That's something I've been wondering for a while.
Many agencies and agents have moved to a home-based business model over the past 10 years or more. The cost of operating from a brick and mortar storefront can be prohibitive. It would be rare to earn more than a 50/50 commission split with a storefront agency due to that overhead.
 

Ben E

New Member
Thank you!
Pam
Just found out this agency charges a rather large start up fee for training, marketing support (including printing), insurance, personalized website, affiliation, supplier registration etc. Everything seems as though this is a legit agency that has been in business almost 30 years and does all travel, not just Disney. Is this typical?
 
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