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Presentation Recap:

Selling Luxury Travel: How to Turn your Passion for Travel into a Thriving Career was hosted by Meredith Calloway, Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer at Gifted Travel Network (GTN). In this masterclass Meredith explains the four major questions that may be holding you back from turning your passion for travel into a legitimate thriving career.

So let's get right into it!

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The reason why I can relate to feeling that way is because that was me in 2001. I was, you know, I followed all the right rules. I graduated from college. I got a great job out of college and then moved onto a few different positions with different companies all in the financial world. The year was 2001 and I was working on Wall street as a bond analyst, and I was very good at what I did.

I got paid very, very well. I had great benefits. I worked with lots of very stimulating people, who were intelligent and I was invited to very cool events. I was able to speak on stages and talk to big investors about what bonds they should be buying as well as do a little bit of writing, even participate in authoring a book, (writing one of the chapters. So lots of great things going on in this career, and it was sucking the life out of me. I had financial satisfaction, for sure, but I felt kind of like a slave to my job and my employer. My time wasn't my own. And so much of my time, my lifetime, was following through on all of my responsibilities in this job. And it wasn't. It wasn't my decision what to do with my time. So for today's masterclass, I was really wondering, how I needed to put myself back in that version of me before I was able to follow a path where I did build a business and a life I love around my passion for travel.

So, what were the questions that I had? What were the main questions that I had, which ultimately helped me get to where I am today. Well, today I am going share those, and illuminate this amazing opportunity for someone else who might want to follow this path, or has even already started to, but is stuck and needs answers.

So lets get right into the first question:

Question 1: What are the financial possibilities?
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So let's dive right into it. This is a chart we show to our Travel MBA students when they come here for our three-day Jumpstart Orientation. These are the new students enrolled in our new to the industry travel advisor training program. This really illuminates the difference between when you want to sell travel and you're considering it and why it is so important to actually not only think about this and what the financial possibilities are, but what segment of the market should I be focusing on?

What we've done is we've laid out kind of like the what it, what an average travel advisor, numbers wise, looks like and side by side with what we, who we call luxury Lucy. And just to show you the difference in the financial possibilities when you actually decide to focus on selling luxury.

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So what is financially possible? This is an average based upon our own anecdotal experience. But let's go ahead and see what the top ten agencies here, by commissions, earned. What was the actual dollar amount in 2023 for them. So our number one in commission, as ranks by commission, took in $630,000 in commissions last year and our number ten took in almost 300,000.

Who doesn't want that? So let's move on. So let's look at the phases of the travel business journey, because this is something else I wanted to know when I was really thinking about this was if I knew, okay, if this is what the financial upside is, how long does it take me to get there?

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And those people that we just showed you, the top ten commission earners, they're all in what we call phase four of their travel business journey. And after spending twelve years, maybe even more, twelve plus years, coaching travel advisors, I started to see a pattern of where people were and what they needed when they were there. And it wasn't like everybody was all over the place. I started to see that actually there is a pattern here, and there are phases. And if you just, you know, how do you eat an elephant? Right? How do you get to phase four?

Question 2: What is a Host Agency?
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So let's move on to what is a host agency? If you are honestly thinking about, this new chapter in your life for yourself is one of the most important things, is choosing the right host agency or possibly a franchise. So, a host agency is basically a foundational support system for travel agents. The host agency will leverage its resources and technology to obtain more benefits, more commission, better treatment, and nurture relationships.

A host agency is truly focused on offering support, a great community, fantastic training, and professional development programs. It is also seriously focused on relationships with partners, nourishing those and encouraging their advisors to participate in nourishing those relationships.

Another option for you, if you're considering this path, is to purchase (or essentially buy into) a franchise. So now you’re probably thinking, well, which way do I go? Franchise or host agency.

I think it is important to note a few differences between the two:

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So how do you find the right host agency? The best resource we can share with you is

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Question 3: What is a Consortia?
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A consortia is similar to a host agency, but now it's one more layer outside. Think of it like this: you are the nucleus and the first layer around you is your host agency. The layer around the host agency is the consortia. 

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Most host agency’s will choose a consortia that directly aligns with the benefits given to the advisors and what they can best offer to their clients. In addition, a consortia offers marketing support, training and networking opportunities for advisors. So its important to not only choose the host agency that best aligns with you and your business, but that the hosts consortia does as well.

Question 4: What certifications are available?

The travel institute offers three certifications:

1.       Certified Travel Associate (CTA)

2.       Certified Travel Counselor (CTC)

3.       Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIA)

These certifications don’t really “pull any weight” so to speak in the travel industry. These are courses and ongoing educational programs where you can learn and grow as a travel advisor.

So, there is nothing required to become a travel advisor.And I think that is a double-edged sword because the barriers to entry are very, very low. So that's good, and it's bad, right? If you want to do this, it doesn't really cost an enormous amount of investment to just decide to sign up with a cheaper host agency option, less expensive host agency option, and start selling travel.

Gifted Travel Network's Travel MBA Program

Travel MBA is the premier professional development program for building, branding, launching, and scaling your luxury travel business. With the Travel MBA program, you will gain the knowledge, skills, and support you need to build a successful and sustainable business for long-term entrepreneurial success.

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For more information about GTN, its professional development programs or to submit your application, please visit our website!