Becoming A Successful Luxury Travel Advisor: The Inside Scoop

June 19, 2023

About 20 years ago, Gifted Travel Network’s Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer, Meredith Calloway, entered the entrepreneurial world. At the time, she thought she had it all. A young successful analyst on Wall Street, a job most 26- & 27-year-old young adults aspire to have. But she hated what she was doing. Sure, financially, she was satisfied, but she had no time to herself or felt fulfillment in her career. It wasn't until after she left corporate America that she found the formula to entrepreneurial success...

Freedom + Fulfillment + Financial satisfaction = Entrepreneurial success

The opportunity to sell luxury travel

This opportunity continues to grow each and every day. According to a global report by LA Market Research, the global luxury travel size was valued at 945 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach 1.6 trillion by 2027–a compounded annual growth rate of 9.7%. There has been tremendous growth over the past two years since the pandemic ended.

Baby boomers - This population is entering retirement age. This actually started back in 2011 but will continue over the course of the next 19 years. When people retire they have more time, money and usually want to travel. This stands to be true specifically for those who were successful executives and busy families who put their travel on hold because of their jobs.

Millennials- This population is now entering the luxury travel segment. They are the fastest growing in consumption and are continuously adding to the demand for luxury travel experiences.

How do travel advisors make money?

There are three main revenue sources:

Commission - The biggest revenue source is the commissions earned on bookings. Commissions rates can vary from 8 - 18% depending on product and partner. One of our main jobs as a host agency is to build a relationship with partners and leverage our buying power.

Service Fees - We highly encourage our advisors to charge a service fee. There are many reasons, but especially from what they learned during the pandemic. Advisors were spending hours unraveling bookings and not getting paid for tirelessly and meticulously curating the most beautiful itineraries.

Affiliate Fees - This is the best way to enhance your revenue sources is by selling other items relating to travel. Sometimes a vendor may pay a small affiliate fee for those advisors.

The Importance of Increasing Transaction size:

This is an important principal to achieving financial satisfaction. Another way to say this is simply adding leverage to your business model. As you read above, there are truly only three revenue sources as a luxury travel advisor. With that being said there is only so much time in the day you can be of service to your clients. So, if you want to achieve financial satisfaction you have to find a way to increase the transaction size of your bookings. There are two ways to do this:

  1. Selling luxury travel
  2. Selling groups

Or you can piece the two together and sell "luxury groups."

So now lets take a look at the example provided below:

Transaction Size

Click the image above to hear Meredith discuss the importance of increasing transaction size in greater detail!

In the side-by-side comparison above there are many obvious differences. The most important difference to note is that Luxury Lucy is booking luxury travel and has a focus on increasing the transaction size of her bookings. Her average number of bookings per year is 50, leaving her the freedom to travel and enjoy weekends off, or personal time. Plain Jane is working around the clock as her average number of bookings per year is 100, and she is at full capacity.

Summary of Travel Business Phases:

Travel Business Phases

Click the image above to hear Meredith discuss the travel business phases in greater detail.

Phase 1:

Main Focus- Branding

Phase 2:

Main Focus- Client Attraction Systems (your sales funnel)

Phase 3:

Main Focus - Scaling your business (hiring assistance, or independent contractors)

Phase 4:

Main Focus - Becoming a leader of your business (work on your business, not in your business)

Travel MBA Program

Travel MBA

Click the image above to hear Meredith discuss the Travel MBA program in greater detail.

If you are considering building a business around your passion for luxury travel, our path for you is the Travel MBA program.

Who is the travel MBA program for?

This year-long professional development program is for both new-to-the-industry advisors and for those who have been selling travel but have not crossed over $200,000 in travel sales (those still in phase 1 of their business).

What makes for the most successful students?

For those who have found success in a career but are burnt out, ready for change and are craving an entrepreneurial journey. These individuals want to have freedom and marry their passion for something with their entrepreneurial spirit.

What are you going to spend your time doing in our program?

Branding & Marketing - 20%

Coursework - 10%

Coaching Calls - 20%

Business Processes & Systems - 20%

Working with Clients - 20%

Partner Training - 10%

The Travel MBA program is 100% online except for our Jumpstart Orientation. For more details, please visit our Programs page.

Ready to join our Travel MBA program? Apply now!