A Modern Host Agency for New & Established Travel Agents
A Boutique Hosted Travel Agency that Thinks Outside the Box
Become a Travel Agent
Launch Your Agency & Become a Vacation Expert
For New Travel Agents starting your own travel agency and entering a new industry, we recognize a real need for formal training on Day 1 to set you up for success. We were lucky enough to have started in our careers this way and know first-hand the advantage it provides. Drawing on our own experiences as agents and years of working with new advisors, we’ve designed an exclusive and comprehensive learning program that puts New Travel Agents on the path to becoming Vacation Experts. We’re bringing the best of good, old-fashioned structured education but modernizing the approach to make the most impact.
Click to Read about our New Agent Program
Pursue Your Passion & Choose Your Vacation Specialization
Specializations are important to help you get started as a new travel agent. Focusing on a niche makes it easier to learn the business, and working with products or destinations you love is just more fun! Pursue Your Passion – even if it’s all of them! – and become a Vacation Expert when you join The Paper Ticket.
Click the Photos to Read More About Becoming a Vacation Expert!
A Stress-Free Transition for Established Agency Owners
We’re leveraging our boutique size to cut the red tape and remove obstacles to running your business smoothly. Here, your voice is heard and your experience matters. We encourage you to mentor and inspire our new agents, but there are also dedicated spaces to network only with your experienced colleagues.
Click to Read about our Program for Established Agency Owners
Experienced Travel Agents Ready to Become Agency Owners
We’re here to fast-track your startup with industry-leading partnerships and an included CRM that agents actually love! Our programs and one-on-one support are tailored for your unique status – skilled in travel but just starting as a small business owner. Join the Established Agency Owners in mentoring our new agents, but you’ll also find dedicated spaces to network only with your experienced colleagues.
Affiliations & Memberships
The Paper Ticket Founders
Laura comes to The Paper Ticket with 10 years of experience in the travel industry. Her experience began as a retail travel agent, advancing into retail leadership before progressing into wholesale travel on a web-based sales team, with a focus on user training and support. Upon the creation of a new National Accounts division at an industry leading wholesale brand in 2018, Laura and fellow Paper Ticket Co-Founder Erica were appointed to maintain and grow key account host agencies. As partners in this role, they specialized in networking and speaking to thousands of agents at small- and large-scale events and conferences; curating training content for audiences of varying experience and size; and building a social media presence to represent the brand. Laura’s love of travel began at a young age and progressed into her passion that she cannot wait to share with a new collection of travel enthusiasts.
Erica’s industry career began 18 years ago as a retail travel agent and progressed into leadership with the launch of a wholesale agency specializing in exotic destinations. She next moved into product management and strategy, looking after supplier relationships, analytics, and agent training. Upon the creation of a new National Accounts division at an industry leading wholesale brand in 2018, Erica and fellow Paper Ticket Co-Founder Laura were appointed to maintain and grow key account host agencies. As partners in this role, they specialized in networking and speaking to thousands of agents at small- and large-scale events and conferences; curating training content for audiences of varying experience and size; and building a social media presence to represent the brand. Erica is passionate about travel and sharing her experiences with travelers and travel agents alike!
Q & A: Becoming a Travel Agent & Joining The Paper Ticket
Great question – Let us share our concept with you! If you have heard the term “host agency,” you’re already familiar with our concept. And in case you have not, let us explain.
Let’s start with an analogy – a hair stylist “renting a chair” at a salon. The ‘Big Picture’ perspective of this arrangement – the stylist benefits from the salon’s existing structure, joining a fully accredited business, while the salon shares the profits from their sales. The stylists are responsible for their own appointments and, ultimately, their individual business – some stylists are busier than others, work different hours, charge different rates based on experience and complexity of the job, or have a niche specialization. So why would they choose to share their profits with a salon rather than opening their own shop? Or taking appointments independently from their house?
Some of those reasons may include the salon’s credibility granted to an individual otherwise operating alone; their established business enables stylists to begin taking clients immediately; the stylist must be licensed, but the salon handles nearly all other “red tape” involved with establishing and running a business; the salon supports their stylists’ daily tasks by employing a receptionist and assistant to sweep up; they have relationships with product distributors to supply their stylists with shampoo at a reduced price.
Now bringing it back to what we are doing. What is a “Parent Travel Agency”? We don’t know exactly because we made it up! While a “host agency” may feel impersonal or corporate, at our “Parent Agency” we wanted to create a space where you had the support and training needed to be the best-of-the-best in the travel industry. We also are nurturing an environment that feels more like family and a team you can rely on rather than getting lost in the sea of agents and becoming just a number.
As in the stylist-salon scenario, in our parent agency model, members will benefit from our parent agency’s existing structure and join a fully accredited business, while sharing a portion of the profit from their sales with their agency.
Necessary accreditations and memberships are just the beginning. A great parent agency will provide their members with:
- Effective, User-Friendly Technology to Manage Your Clients, Bookings, and Finances
- Intensive New Agent Training Program for New Advisors & Up to Date Ongoing Education for Industry Veterans
- Exciting Learning Opportunities to Put Yourself in Destination and Gain Experience Firsthand.
- Opportunities to Increase Your Earnings with Competitive Commissions and Exclusive Rates
- Meaningful Relationships with Suppliers and BDMs
- An Approachable Business Support System
- Social Spaces to Learn and Connect with Fellow Members
There are several important characteristics of our parent agency, especially for advisors considering starting their own agency or becoming an employee of an agency. In fact, many industry professionals consider a host-like agency as the “happy medium” between total independence and agency employment.
You are In Control of Your Own Business & Grow at Your Pace
Our parent agency provides a buffet of assets to our members. Like a buffet, members have the freedom to choose which resources they use, and how much.
- Your Future Is What You Make It – Are you going to make more money if you sell more? Absolutely! And who does not love money? But we are never going to force you to hit a monthly target or make you maintain a monthly income. We want to see you succeed and we are going to give you the tools to do so but your future is all your passion and your ambition.
- Sell What You Want – We are here to provide structure, direction, and incentives around suppliers and products you sell, but where you send your clients is your and ultimately their choice (with your expert guidance of course). You have total freedom to create any type of vacation you like and book through your favorite vendors. We want you to get to know and build relationships with these suppliers. This encourages tremendous diversity among our members’ specializations and niches and will only help you in the long run. If there is something you are not a specialist in, you will know that someone on our team will be.
- Simple Social Marketing – Attracting clientele is ultimately in your hands but we give you the tools to build your brand on social media. We offer a variety of advertising options, allowing our members to quickly and easily customize pre-designed templates with their unique branding and distribute via social media, print, email, etc. You are also free to be creative and create your own collateral, but we are here to help you along the way.
- Work When & Where You Want – Full or Part-Time, daytime or after-hours, or as a second source of income. This is generally a home-based job and homes are busy. You create your hours and build to it as your business grows. Many members start part-time and work to expand their business to a full-time operation because the more time you put into it, the bigger return you will see in your pocket.
Absolutely yes! Savvy travelers have long recognized that a skilled travel professional would simplify the planning process and improve the quality of their vacation. Here is a bit of history of the industry and context to explain why.
Before “the internet” was at every consumer’s fingertips, people would typically arrange nearly all travel products from simple air tickets to intricate vacations with a travel agent based in a storefront travel agency. Search engines and OTAs (Online Travel Agencies such as Expedia) opened the public to information and booking avenues that were previously in the primary domain of travel agents. By now, it is a safe assumption that most people have booked at least one travel product online without consulting a professional for advice!
But as time passed, consumers began to struggle with the information overload on the web; search “Cruises for Families” or “Vacation to London” and see how much information comes up! It can be incredibly daunting if you are unsure where to start.
Additionally, product offerings – especially from hotels, cruise lines, and tour operators – have become far more nuanced than in the past. A search for “Day Tour to Stonehenge from London” yields dozens of vendors offering dozens of options to fulfill various budgets and travel styles ranging from inexpensive bus tours to private guides with specializations in archaeology or literature. For example, day tour aggregator Viator offers 35 different ways just to see Stonehenge! All this variety is exciting – vacations today are tailored more to the individual than ever before – but also makes it difficult to filter the right experience while simultaneously ensuring the quality of your supplier.
Further, even in a world before Covid-19, there are endless reasons to change travel plans before or during a vacation. Consumers would regularly find themselves spending time calling or emailing for support, frustrated by the red tape, unsatisfied with the service, lacking an ally in the process, and perhaps facing financial loss.
All these tools, rather than helping, have made booking a trip more stressful for many travelers! Information and product overload, too little time, and ease of process led many travelers back to professional advice. In the recent years, travel agents have reestablished their position as a necessary component in vacation planning.
Their role was so much more than simply making reservations and, to reflect the personalized service and specialized skills of a travel professional, many agents identified themselves as a Travel Specialist, Travel Expert, or Travel Planner. Some got more creative with titles like Travel Designer or Travel Curator. In 2018, the trade association ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents), whose members represent 80% of all travel sold in the United States through the travel agency distribution channel, set the industry standard when they conducted widespread consumer research and rebranded as the American Society of Travel Advisors.
Vacations, like travelers, are unique and travel advisors can understand their clients’ expectations, match their dreams with the suppliers who will deliver the experience, and maneuver through the moving parts of a trip to ensure a seamless feel.
Yes. As with any profession, those representing the industry are expected to be educated in their line of work. Most advisors enter the industry with some foundational knowledge, but there is inevitably a lot to learn. In fact, the industry caters to “perpetual students” – products and trends are always updating and changing, so ongoing education is critical for most advisors. Some advisors have completed a college-level program in Travel & Tourism or Hospitality, though that is not necessary to run a successful agency.
Obtaining the required education is easily accessible and primarily work at your own pace. The Paper Ticket prides itself on our one-on-one customized training and the mentorship needed to develop true travel professionals; agency-instructed learning is a unique approach that stands out against the industry standard of self-guided online education. Suppliers and Tourism Boards also run learning programs, often with accreditations, to further your education. And when you are ready to learn on your own, our membership in the Travel Leaders consortia also provides a near-limitless supply of virtual materials from cruise ship inspections to Q&As on Cancun.
First and foremost, people become hosted travel advisors so they can be their own boss and grow their own business without limitations. Yes, there are also travel benefits! These will vary considerably but many suppliers happily engage with the travel advisor community and a being a travel professional will generally open doors or start conversations for travel discounts.