The recent national survey of almost 700 travel agents reveals many things about agents but one of the more interesting sections asks what they love – and hate—most about their jobs.
Overwhelmingly, agents reported many more things that they love than things they hate. But there are some things that irritate agents and the survey discovers this.
The #1 reason why agents love being travel agents is their passion for travel, along with the ongoing education and opportunities for travel that the industry offers. The survey showed 29.1% of Home Based agents and 34.3% of agents who work in agencies listed a passion for travel and a joy of selling travel as the #1 reason why they love being an agent.
The agents also rated ongoing training and learning opportunities and the opportunity to travel as being among the top reasons why travel agents love their jobs.
23.4% of the non-home based agents also listed having colleagues around them as one of the things they love.
‘Helping travellers fulfill their travel dreams’ showed up frequently as one of the reasons agents love their jobs.
Clients: some are great, some not so much
Yes, yes, agents love and appreciate their clients— but then there are those clients.
Agents who work in storefronts often find themselves assisting new clients who may just be shopping around and then booking elsewhere whereas home based agents reported less of that and only assisting their existing clientele leading to bookings.
15.8 percent of Home Based agents listed that their clients are why they love being an agent while 33.2% of Non-Home based agents listed their clients as the main reason they dislike their jobs. Why? Because they feel some clients waste their time and are tire kickers and then book online.
And then there are supplier challenges
Among the reasons agents dislike their jobs, apart from clients who waste their time, are challenges in dealing with suppliers for both non-home based agents and home based –along with waiting on hold with reservation departments.
Online direct competition also rated in the dislikes section with 10.5% for non-home based agents and 7.1% for home based.
There’s no place like home
Home based agents listed many benefits of being home based in the “love” category. An impressive 31.4% listed being home based as the #1 reason why they love being an agent and shared the reasons in their comments, mentioning ‘being my own boss’, ‘ No Commute’, ‘better work life balance’ and ‘keep more of the commission’ as reasons they love being an agent.
*This is part of a series of articles by travel industry veteran Jill Wykes about the home based agent and host agency trend that is changing how travel is sold in Canada. The articles are sponsored by The Travel Agent Next Door.