Jenn Erickson officially opened her Cruises Inc. travel agency for business in January 2020, while she continues to own and operate her own real estate company. She shares the inside scoop on becoming a travel agent.
What type of person should become a travel agent?
Someone with sales abilities and a passion for travel. It is important to love what you are selling, and you must have a desire to plan the absolute best vacations ever for your clients.
How have your skills carried over from your real estate business?
I acquired strong sales and people skills in my real estate company, and these have been incredibly useful in growing my travel business. Selling travel is all about building relationships and trust. Just like when selling a home, you must listen to your client’s wants and needs when planning their vacation. Respect what your client wants out of their vacation, and if you deliver on their dream vacation, they will remember you for future trips and recommend you to others.
What advice do you have for somebody looking to open a travel agency?
Take any and all training you can. Take the time to better yourself and learn all the products. Figure out what you want to focus on and learn it inside and out. Don’t expect your business to be booming immediately, give yourself a learning curve.
What is one thing you wish somebody told you before you opened your travel agency?
That there would be a pandemic! Actually, that I would enjoy it as much as I do. Even with the craziness we are currently living in, I find myself wanting to learn and train as much as possible. I crave more information. I am working more hours per day than I did as a realtor and am enjoying working more than I have in a very long time. If I had known how much I would love selling travel from home, I would have taken the leap long before now.
What resource at headquarters has contributed most to your growth and why?
The back office has been incredible in keeping me up to date with each vendor’s current policies as they fluctuate during the COVID-19 epidemic. I have been beyond impressed with the support and know without a doubt I made the right decision in joining the Cruises Inc. family.
What advice do you have for a travel agent who is looking to grow their business?
Create a two-tiered marketing plan that not only focuses on how you will sell travel, but also how you will promote yourself. Become involved in your community and make sure people know who you are and what you do.
What is on your bucket list?
I would absolutely love to do a European river cruise. I also would like to visit Italy because my son is studying Italian.