[NOW HIRING]

Can I be honest? This is the scariest thing I have done yet. I have worked tirelessly for the last few year to build my company from scratch. I have hired people to help with certain projects and I have an amazing VA (virtual assistant) to help with certain day-to-day tasks as well. But I am finally ready to add one or maybe two more TRAVEL AGENTS to the Love at First Travel team. This is a part-time, commission-based position. Because of laws and restrictions beyond my control, this position is only open to residents of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, North West Territories, Yukon, Nova Scotia and PEI.

More Details about the position and how to apply at the end of this post!

destination wedding planner

How to Become a Destination Wedding Travel Agent

Although I am sharing a lot about what I did, I also included things to consider if you are thinking this might be the dream job. It really is a dream job by the way. It is also one of the most stressful jobs in the entire wold. I just want to be completely upfront with you about what you are in for if you do choose to pursue this as a career.

 

 

I Became a Travel Agent FIRST.
On my road to destination wedding planning, I became a travel agent first. I always knew I wanted to specialize in destination weddings though. If you are considering this as a career path, you can become a destination wedding planner two ways: the first (and I think easiest) would be to become a travel agent and then book the destination wedding travel components. For this, you help couples choose a resort and sort through wedding packages, but then they usually do the actual planning with the resort. Some travel agents are very hands on when it comes to this process and some are not so it really depends on your style. You have more flexibility if you choose to start your own business as well.
How to Become a Travel Agent
If you do choose to become a travel agent: you can apply to be hired by an existing travel agency (the places you see at the mall – expedia, flight centre, etc), sign up as an independent contractor through a host agency or open your own agency. Opening up your own is expensive so most who want to start their own business choose the independent contractor option 🙂 Just be careful because there are some MLM travel agencies that are frowned upon in the industry (be weary of anyone who wants you to sign up under them – I am definitely not anti-MLM businesses either, I have just learned it is frowned upon in this industry). You can read more about host agencies here: www.hostagencyreviews.com
piggy bank - destination wedding budget
How You Get Paid
If you work for a store-front, you may get paid hourly, a % of commission made, or a mixture of both. Keep in mind the commission is likely going to be a smaller amount than if you are on your own, but they really are providing most of the clients by having a storefront.  If you choose to become an independent contractor, you will get paid a higher % of the commission earned but you are going to be responsible for finding your own clients (most of the time). You may also choose to charge a flat fee on top of the commission earned for the wedding. Although I don’t do this, that is part of the joy of running your own business! You have more control over how you want to get paid.
Or, Become a Wedding Planner First.
The second way to become a destination wedding travel agent/planner (if you don’t want to become a travel agent first OR at all) would be to start your business as a wedding planner and offer destination wedding planning. The couple and their guests would then book their own travel OR you partner with a travel agent who does not want to be involved in the wedding details.
Clientele hiring for this service is usually going to be higher end though so you are going to have to “prove yourself” a bit more first. You may need to start with local weddings, friends & family, or destination weddings that are close to your home town. Wedding Planners may choose to charge a flat fee or a percentage of the wedding budget.
Destination Wedding Travel Agent vs. Destination Wedding Planner
I talk a little more about the differences between a destination wedding planner and a destination wedding travel agent here – http://loveatfirsttravel.com/destination-wedding-travel-agent-or-destination-wedding-planner-who-you-need-to-hire/ . Really, you can choose what you want to do when you own your own business. I offer both destination wedding travel agent services and destination wedding planning services so that is an option as well.
Education is SO important.

The most important quality to have is to ALWAYS be learning. I personally got a bachelor degree from the University of Alberta before I opened my business. I majored in psychology (and it does come in handy every now and again 😉) but a bachelor degree is definitely not a necessity! What is DID teach me though was how to work HARD and how to be RESOURCEFUL.

Other than formal education, I also had about a million jobs while I was in university. If this isn’t a tell tale sign of an entrepreneur, I don’t know what is! And I have learned a LOT about customer service and it has served me so well. One of my favourite memories was during a “pre-shift” meeting at earl’s on New Years Eve. I remember it so clearly. My manager at the time gave us all some serious real talk.

I know we do this everyday. I know you may have your own NYE plans after this. You may have something going in your life. Let’s just remember that for some of our customers – this is their big night out. Some of them don’t get a chance to go out all the time and this is THEIR New Years. Let’s do everything we can to make it as special as possible for them.

I think I will carry this lesson with me forever. It’s ALWAYS about the client. It’s ALWAYS about making their experience with me as special as possible. And every side job has taught me something new so even though it isn’t formal education – the experience as been invaluable.

Industry-Specific Education

The reason this industry is full of AMAZING and AWFUL (real talk!) travel agents is that you need to be SUPER SELF-MOTIVATED to get Education. Although I got basic education from my host agency, I did a majority of training on my own. A few examples of courses I took (and paid for!) are the DWHSA Romance Travel Specialist Course (I also followed up with their DWHSA Bootcamp this year) and The Firefly Method for Wedding Planners.

On top of a few SOLID courses, I have probably watched over 1000 webinars from my computer. Many suppliers have trainings as well (Sandos Smart Agents, AMResort Master Agents, Royal Caribbean WOW Specialist, etc). I attend as many industry events that come to Edmonton as I possibly can. I also TRAVEL as much as possible so I can personally see hotels & destinations that I sell. If you really are planning on starting your own business, please be prepared to invest in yourself. I am not even counting all of the business specific training I have taken!

Find a mentor. On top of trainings, one of the most invaluable things I did for my business was find a mentor. Learning how she does destination weddings was more valuable than anything I could have learned myself online. Business happens in real time so find a mentor you trust and who is willing and happy to help. Be grateful for them too because this industry can be crazy and they are likely very busy.

 

[Now Hiring]

Because of laws and restrictions beyond my control, this position is only open to residents of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, North West Territories, Yukon, Nova Scotia and PEI.

In case you are reading this for more information on the position available at Love at First Travel – here it is! I am really excited to take this next step in my business. I am really looking for someone who will be equally as excited. In case you are new around here, I don’t do things the “typical” way and this is no exception. For this job posting, I am going to start with a list of reasons why this may NOT be the job for you:

  • You will be considered an independent contractor. This means that although you don’t need traditional “business” costs like a website, business licence, etc, you do still have costs. You can expect about a $400 investment for training & set up costs and $40/month in service fees.
  • The job is commission based and you are paid commission AFTER the client returns home from their vacation/wedding. For destination weddings, this means you get paid 12-18 months after you “start” the work.
  • Because of the pay structure above, you will start part-time. Realistically, I would want you to budget anywhere from 1-4 years before earning a full-time income.

Still reading? You just might be the perfect fit :). Email me at kara@loveatfirsttravel.com for more details and I will be happy to answer any questions you might have at this point! I can’t wait!