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6 Steps: How to Become a Luxury Travel Advisor

Do you dream of becoming a luxury travel advisor?

If you want to start a career in the travel industry, the luxury market is a lucrative place to target.

But you wonder…

How do you become a luxury travel advisor?

Where do you find luxury clients?

And what skills do you need to build a profitable career as a luxury travel advisor?

In this blog post, we’ll outline the steps you need to take to achieve the success you’ve always dreamed of!

I’m Sheila Folk, founder and CEO of Travel Industry Solutions (TIS). As a travel advisor who started out planning small cruise itineraries, I know what it’s like to start from scratch. I booked my first client’s cruise for $1,000. Within one year, I was booking cruises and curated luxury experiences valued at $100,000 and higher. Today, many of my clients fall into the ultra-luxe and private jet category, and I often book trips valued from $250,000 up to $1 million.

You too can have the success I created for myself, but first, let’s explore what a luxury travel advisor is.

What is a Luxury Travel Advisor?

A luxury travel advisor is a professional who provides upscale travel planning services to their clients. They work with high-end customers who are looking for exclusivity and experiences that aren’t run-of-the-mill and can’t be found on Expedia.

Many luxury travelers seek out more immersive and culturally enriching experiences, not just star-studded events. And just as important, they want their luxury travel advisor to identify with them and understand their needs.

Luxury travel advisors are well-versed and knowledgeable about destinations and the luxury amenities that are available.

They have a network of contacts who can help secure exclusive access to the best hotels, restaurants, and activities. They can secure reservations with experiences like heli-skiing in the French Alps, a private fitting at Armani, a takeover of the Paris Opera House for a private concert, dinner with a notable historian in their 300-year-old castle, a world cruise on a 6-star line, or even a stay at a remote 6-star villa on its own private island.

If you’re interested in becoming a luxury travel advisor, there are a few steps you need to take. Keep reading to find out what these steps are and how you can do them with ease.

6 Steps: How to Become a Luxury Travel Advisor

The Key Steps to Becoming a Luxury Travel Advisor

There are a few key steps you need to take if you want to become a luxury travel advisor.

Taken from my own experience, here’s what you should do:

Step One: Get Experience in the Travel Industry

The first step is to get experience in the travel industry. This can be done in several ways, but the best way to get started is by working at a travel agency that already focuses on the luxury travel market. Working at a luxury travel agency like Trips & Ships Luxury Travel will give you the opportunity to learn about different types of luxury travel, what these types of clients expect, and how you can build relationships with suppliers that cater to this clientele. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door of the industry.

Step Two: Get Certified

The next step is to get certified as a travel agent. This can be done through several different organizations, but two of the most popular options are the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and The Travel Institute. Getting certified will show potential clients that you are knowledgeable about the industry and that you are qualified to work as a luxury travel advisor. Having that qualification helps to give your clients peace of mind. They feel comfortable knowing they can entrust you with their dreams.

Step Three: Build Your Clientele

Luxury travel advisors need to build relationships with luxury clientele. You need to be able to gain trust and understand what your client’s dreams and aspirations are. Ideally, you would already have a network of potential customers within your sphere of influence. If you don’t already have a pathway to a luxury clientele, we’ll outline a couple of ways you can connect with your target market next.

Step Four: Market Yourself

Once you have experience in the industry and have a client base built up, you need to market yourself. There are several ways to do this, but one of the best ways? Fish where your clients fish! In other words, network and show up to events where your ideal client would naturally be found. This includes charity events, country clubs, alumni associations, city and yacht clubs, the golf course, and clubs catering to high-end experiences.

You can also have your well-connected college roommate host a cocktail party for you in their home and invite all their friends. Your friend who is a wealth manager may want to partner with you to host an event for your clients and theirs. The possibilities are endless for meeting your ideal luxury client, but you must be able to walk the walk.

Angela Hughes, CEO of Trips & Ships Luxury Travel and the Luxury Travel University says, “It’s also important to remember that your brand must speak to your ideal client. If your website features budget cruises and all-inclusive resorts, you likely won’t garner the type of client you’re looking for. Creating a website is a great tool to present your services, generate traffic through blogs, and showcase your work.” She further goes on to say…. “but it’s also important to understand that luxury travel is not a commodity that can be easily bought or sold. It requires a deep understanding of the customer’s needs and desires. Only then can you create an experience that exceeds their expectations.

In many ways, selling luxury travel is a relationships business. You need to build trust with your clients and show them that you have their best interests at heart. Travel is an emotional purchase, and people want to work with someone who understand their feelings and can help turn their dreams into reality. By taking the time to get to know your clients and providing them with personalized service, you can create lasting relationships that will result in repeat business and referrals.”

Step Five: Stay Abreast of Global Trends & TRAVEL LUXURY!

Learning how to become a luxury travel advisor means staying up to date on industry trends. This can be done by attending industry events geared toward the high-end market, reading trade publications, and following influencers in the industry. The most important thing you can do is to visit and stay where your clients travel. If your clients stay in Four Seasons properties, don’t book a 3-star hotel on the outskirts of the city for yourself. You need to be able to share first-hand accounts of your experiences. Your clients and potential clients evaluate you based on your own personal experiences. 

Step Six: Set Goals and Plan

Setting business goals can help you stay on track to meet your new aspirations of being a luxury travel advisor. In addition to goals, you’ll need a plan to help you complete those goals. If you want to find three new clients by the end of the quarter, you’ll need a plan to accomplish that. Your plan may include attending fundraisers or an up-scale golf course where you can garner those leads. Make sure you have an onboarding plan for what will happen after you find potential clients, a plan that includes following up with them and scheduling a call.

What are the benefits of becoming a luxury travel advisor?

There are a number of benefits to becoming a luxury travel advisor. Some of the most notable benefits include:

  • Access to exclusive deals and discounts: Luxury travel advisors typically have access to exclusive programs that their clients can take advantage of. This can provide clients with special perks and amenities.
  • Ability to customize travel plans: Luxury travel advisors can customize their clients’ travel plans to suit their specific needs and wants. This means that clients can get exactly what they want out of their trip.
  • Increased satisfaction: Because luxury travel advisors can tailor their services to each individual client, this often leads to increased satisfaction among clients. This can lead to repeat business and referrals from satisfied customers.
  • Increased earnings: Luxury travel advisors tend to earn more than their colleagues because the price of their clients’ trips is much higher, and they tend to travel more frequently.

Are there varying degrees of luxury travel?

Simply put, YES!  There are varying degrees of luxury travel depending on everyone’s needs and wants.

For some, anything beyond economy class is considered luxury travel. For others, only the most exclusive and expensive experiences will suffice. For others, it’s unique adventures that look like luxury. It really depends on the individual and what they consider to be luxurious.

Many people feel luxury travel brings exclusivity, adventure, and personal discovery together through meaningful encounters with history, local folkways, and even cuisine.

They focus more on how each experience enriches their understanding of different cultures versus how much fun they can have during their vacation.

Luxury travel to this kind of client means a time of enlightenment. Every experience gives them a greater appreciation for the world around them while giving them countless unforgettable memories.

A luxury travel advisor can make all of this and more happen for their clients.

You have the opportunity to make someone’s life a better place!

By following these simple steps, you will be on your way to becoming a luxury travel advisor and start booking high-end travel for your clients. If you’d like to become a luxury travel advisor we recommend pairing the one-to-one coaching and group trainings provided by Luxury Travel University with the solutions TIS offers.

Do you have what it takes to become a luxury travel advisor?

Interested in getting an inside peak at our solutions? Sign up for one of our live demos today!

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