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How to become a Disney travel agent?

Kingdom Konsultant

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Premium Member
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Most agencies will charge a start up fee. It will depend on the actual cost and how much they are charging per item. Are they giving you an itemized list of the specific supplier(s) they are charging you for and what affiliation?

Pam
 

Ben E

New Member
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Not of specific suppliers but is more beyond Disney as they will train beyond Disney travel.
 

Minerva78

New Member
Sorry if I'm bringing up an old topic again, but I had some questions to ask. I recently left my job and began receiving long term disability (through my state employment, not social security) and I've been researching how to become a home based travel agent. I can still work on disability, just not make too much, which I don't imagine doing until another 2 to 3 yeas. I've been on six cruises (although all with the same line) and would like to focus on that now, and pick up the Disney experience later, although I want to be able to book any travel. The thing is that I have not been to Disney since I was a child. I have planned three potential trips, but became so overwhelmed with the process, I'm a Type A personality, that I abandoned my plans and my family and I went on cruises instead! But I would like my specialties to be Disney as well as cruises - and of course Disney cruises! :)

Here is what I am trying to understand: I purchased some very in depth modules in becoming a home based travel agent. And in the reading it sounds like you choose a host agency that does all of the accounting type stuff, gives you your commission, but that's mainly it. You are considered a completely independent agency. However it sounds like with Disney you have to apply to a specific agency, and you are considered an employee (I think). So is working for a company the only way to sell Disney vacations? I know I would need to get some trips under my belt and probably a Disney cruise to be competitive for a job. But does anyone book Disney as an independent travel agency? I plan on developing an independent agency regardless, but I was wondering if I should also look at the requirements of separate agencies to become an employee of that agency? Would I even be allowed to work under a Disney travel agency while still having my own travel agency? Just trying to figure out the best way to do this, thanks.
 

DisneyJoe

Well-Known Member
You have at least 3 ways to sell travel -

1) form your own travel agency, create a business, get proper licensing/insurance, obtain a seller of traveler number and register directly with Disney and other travel suppliers yourself. You are on your own for everything. You would earn 100% of the commission, but you would also need to pay business expenses from that.

2) become an independent contractor for a host travel agency (could be Disney focused or not) - you are NOT an employee, you are paid on commission only, the agency gives you an IRS 1099-Misc form in January for you to report your income. This is how the majority work. When the commission is paid to the agency, they give you a percentage of it. It's up to you IF you form a business entity or not to report your income or protect yourself from liability issues.

3) if an agency hires employees, you could become an employee. The agency would then have control over your working hours and how you work.

Most agencies prefer to have independent contractors as it puts the burden of paying taxes on the contractor, not the agency. If an agency hires you as an employee, they would need to worry about taking out FICA, paying minumum wage, and with the business being commission based, this can be really tricky with employees.

You should consult with a lawyer and an accountant in all cases.

I hope that helps.
 

DisneyJoe

Well-Known Member
I have planned three potential trips, but became so overwhelmed with the process, I'm a Type A personality, that I abandoned my plans and my family and I went on cruises instead!
Just something to think about - as an agent, you will be dealing with customers and their personalities and their whims and wants and needs and constant questions and changes. You will need to qualify them, listen to their replies and be able to recommend and plan the best trip for them. At times, you will need to support them while they are traveling and having issues.

There are cruise specialist agents/agencies, but they can be extremely competitive due to many rebating their commissions.

Good luck!
 

Minerva78

New Member
You brought up something I was wondering, that just might be something I haven't read yet. But when you receive onboard credit from a TA with a cruise agency, does this come out of their commission? I get really good OBC from one TA I've used several times, and on our recent cruise I thought, how much would it suck to have our OBC come from her commission! But overall I guess it helps because I've booked our last three cruises with her, just for the OBC, because I know just about all I need to know about cruising, with this line anyway. So I guess it does help her to get repeat customers.
 

DisneyJoe

Well-Known Member
You brought up something I was wondering, that just might be something I haven't read yet. But when you receive onboard credit from a TA with a cruise agency, does this come out of their commission? I get really good OBC from one TA I've used several times, and on our recent cruise I thought, how much would it suck to have our OBC come from her commission! But overall I guess it helps because I've booked our last three cruises with her, just for the OBC, because I know just about all I need to know about cruising, with this line anyway. So I guess it does help her to get repeat customers.
Yes, it does.
 

Darth_Wes

Member
Hi Folks,
I realize that this forum has not had any new comments in a while, so I am hoping someone with expertise is still monitoring it as I would like to pick your brilliant brains.

We (me, my wife, and daughter) are annual pass-holders for WDW. We go see the Mouse at least 3 times per year...if not more. We could learn a lot more, but we have a deeper knowledge than most about the parks. We love all things Disney, Star Wars, and Marvel. With all of the park experience we've accumulated, we have yet to jump on a Disney Cruise...but we are in the process of scheduling our very first one as I speak.

Being entrepreneurial minded, I have begun to ask myself if it would be feasible to add TA/Disney Travel planner to my company's offerings. I am, quite frankly, a little board and looking for a new challenge...plus, it could be a way of expanding my company's offerings to business clients and their families.

I am CEO/Owner of a successful web marketing agency in the Florida Panhandle, so the marketing side of things would be...well, covered. I am confident that I could pick up clients via the various online methods that my company uses for our marketing clients. AND, obviously, I would create a DBA to operate under the parent business...so branding would be exclusive to the various products.

Finally, the questions:
1) Should I look to possibly find a host agency to represent, or would starting out on my own be the best way to go. Keep in mind that I would want to eventually break away on my own anyway, so ethically, I want to do the right thing there. Maybe you agency owners could chime in on this...
2) I would prefer to represent Disney destinations and offerings only. Would it be smarter to offer other options, or is specialization the way to go.

Any help you could lend would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Wes
 

DisneyJoe

Well-Known Member
2) I would prefer to represent Disney destinations and offerings only. Would it be smarter to offer other options, or is specialization the way to go.
We started off just selling Disney Destinations, but as our client base grew, and they wanted to visit more destinations, we grew to assist them. If you have never sold travel before, I would definitely recommend starting with a niche such as Disney, that way you learn the travel business. Even with our growth to other destinations, Disney is still the majority of our revenue.
 

Kingdom Konsultant

WDWMAGIC Board Sponsor
Premium Member
WDWMAGIC Sponsor
We also started off selling only Disney Destinations. Our agency has grown quite a bit and we now sell every destination and cruise line. If you want to do it the proper way, please make sure that you enroll in an accredited school for travel.

Pam
 

Darth_Wes

Member
Thanks so much for your advice.
We also started off selling only Disney Destinations. Our agency has grown quite a bit and we now sell every destination and cruise line. If you want to do it the proper way, please make sure that you enroll in an accredited school for travel.

Pam
I have been looking at CLIA's classes and certifications... which seem to be somewhat extensive. It also seems, however, that I read somewhere in this thread that it wasn't significant and another organization (I forget the acronym) was where it was at training wise. What thoughts on CLIA's training? Has it changed over the last few years?
 

MowgliBaloo

New Member
Please feel free to send me an email at pam@kingdomkonsultant.com and I will send you our job requirements.

Pam
Very interesting thread! Everyone has been so helpful. I am another who has been thinking about being a part-time Disney TA for a few years. I currently work in sports travel. The equivalent (in Disney-speak) would be working for Anthony Travel and booking sports teams for events at ESPN World of Sports. I live in Florida, visit WDW several times a year (going next weekend!), have been on several Disney cruises (and others), and got married at WDW. Sports travel (for my job) is a bit different than a general TA - we only sell our local area, and a license is not required.

Is my next step to take online classes via The Travel Institute, take the TAP test, then contact Earmarked agencies to see if they are hiring, what are their requirements, fees, etc.?
 

DisneyJoe

Well-Known Member
Very interesting thread! Everyone has been so helpful. I am another who has been thinking about being a part-time Disney TA for a few years. I currently work in sports travel. The equivalent (in Disney-speak) would be working for Anthony Travel and booking sports teams for events at ESPN World of Sports. I live in Florida, visit WDW several times a year (going next weekend!), have been on several Disney cruises (and others), and got married at WDW. Sports travel (for my job) is a bit different than a general TA - we only sell our local area, and a license is not required.

Is my next step to take online classes via The Travel Institute, take the TAP test, then contact Earmarked agencies to see if they are hiring, what are their requirements, fees, etc.?
Only some agencies require The Travel Institute/TAP test, others look at your travel experience and they give their own intensive internal training.

Qualifications to join an agency can vary greatly.
 

Kingdom Konsultant

WDWMAGIC Board Sponsor
Premium Member
WDWMAGIC Sponsor
Very interesting thread! Everyone has been so helpful. I am another who has been thinking about being a part-time Disney TA for a few years. I currently work in sports travel. The equivalent (in Disney-speak) would be working for Anthony Travel and booking sports teams for events at ESPN World of Sports. I live in Florida, visit WDW several times a year (going next weekend!), have been on several Disney cruises (and others), and got married at WDW. Sports travel (for my job) is a bit different than a general TA - we only sell our local area, and a license is not required.

Is my next step to take online classes via The Travel Institute, take the TAP test, then contact Earmarked agencies to see if they are hiring, what are their requirements, fees, etc.?
Taking the courses and the Tap is the proper way to learn but not necessary in some cases.
If you would like to reach out to me we can talk about it more. Pam@kingdomkonsultant.com

Pam
 

oommggitskait

Active Member
Bringing back this old thread today!
I want to say how thankful I was for this thread the last few days as I’ve begun my adventure as a TA.
I’d like to ask a question to any of those with more experience (@Kingdom Konsultant @DisneyJoe). When your agents pay a fee to be added to your E&O, would it be customary to provide them with a copy or confirmation that they were covered under your existing policy?
 
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