We see a lot of seasonality in the work-at-home world. As an example, we see sales-based positions with companies like Amazon ramp up in preparation for the holiday shopping season. We see companies like Blooms Today hiring right before Mother's Day. Right now, we are seeing a lot of work-from-home reservations jobs that will be helping summer travelers.
Yes. Many of these will be phone positions. However, most of them won't be those complaint calls many of you are afraid of dealing with. Instead, you will be helping people plan and book their vacations. That's something many people can live with. Especially if it is temporary and in exchange for a much-needed paycheck!
As I tell many people looking for their first work-at-home job, if you can swing a phone job – even temporarily – do it. It may not be your dream job, I can name very few people that would say it is, but it's often a necessary stepping stone for those uninterested in starting a freelance business. You see, many people find there is a catch-22 when it comes to that first work-at-home job. Companies want remote experience, but how are you supposed to get it if no one will hire you without it?
The good news is, many customer service positions are willing to overlook the remote part as long as you have customer service experience. And customer service experience doesn't necessarily mean a prior customer service phone job. Maybe you were dealing with customers or clients in another capacity as a waitress, a receptionist, an administrative assistant, a retail clerk.
Working from home as a reservations agent is essentially the same as working from home as a customer service representative – both positions involve assessing the customers’ needs, finding the appropriate solutions, and providing those solutions in an upbeat, engaging manner that leaves the caller feeling positive. Most often, you’ll be working in an inbound virtual call center – probably with a high volume of calls – and you’ll likely be asked to upsell everyone who calls. In fact, these positions may come with a relatively low rate of pay that you’re expected to supplement by earning commission or bonuses.
Beyond the basics, these positions vary in the details: if you work with a cruise line or a campground, you’re helping your customer book a specific experience. If you’re working for U-Haul, you’re booking particular pieces of equipment. Working in corporate travel, you may be helping to plan entire trips and doing all the air travel, hotel, and car reservations for your clients. Whatever the specifics are, make sure you read up on the industry you’re working in – it’ll help make you a better reservations agent, which can help increase your commission earnings.
What You'll Need
When it comes to skills, you pretty much just need to be competent with computers, friendly with people, and great at multitasking. Most of these jobs only require you to have a high school diploma (or equivalent). You’ll also need some customer service experience, but the time requested varies. Make sure you’re a decent typist and fantastic communicator as well. Active listening skills are a must, and make sure you’re self-motivated so you don’t get distracted working from home.
Each of these positions has specific details listed as far as technical requirements go – but several of them also provide the equipment you’ll be using! In a few cases, all you need at home is access to a computer monitor and a high-speed internet connection. In general, though, you should have a home PC, a headset, and a quiet office space where you can work undisturbed. Many job listings will specify which version of Windows you should be running and how fast your Internet speed should be, so make sure you pay attention to those specifics.
Work-from-home Reservations Jobs
Ready to find out who hires reservations agents to work from home? Great! I’ve handpicked 10 opportunities for you – not all of them may be hiring right now, but that could change at any time – so make sure you regularly check their pages! (And check out this post for a few tips to find out when your favorite company is hiring.)
Brittain Resorts and Hotels is a popular resort management company that also hires remote staff when needed. Agents help provide reservation assistance and guest services for their 19 resorts. Per the job listing these roles offer competitive hourly wage and bonuses, an opportunity for advancement, flexible scheduling and more. At the time of publishing this post, they were hiring in Texas, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
Alaska Airlines occasionally hires Reservations Sales Agents from a few select states. Agents in this position assist customers with fare information, reservation confirmation, flight schedules, policies and more. Patience, quick-thinking and a strong desire to help people are a must for this role. The role open at the time of publishing this post required 2 years customer service experience, general knowledge of Microsoft Office applications, ability to work a flexible schedule that may include nights, weekends, holidays and overtime. You also need to be within driving distance (100 miles) of a call center as some in-house time is required. The remote job openings at the time of publishing were within the vicinities of Chandler, AZ; Phoenix, AZ; and Seattle, WA.
Hyatt regularly hires Virtual Guest Service Associates to assist their customers through the inbound reservation process. They pay $11 per hour, and there are also performance-based increases in pay that you can achieve. Hyatt is also one of those companies that provides all the equipment you need to do the job: they send you a computer, IP phone and amplifier, adapter for dual monitors, and a headset. All you need to bring is the technical competence to handle those things, a high-speed Internet connection, and fantastic customer service skills.
Hilton is a strong supporter of work-from-home agents and they have a full site dedicated to the opportunities they offer in Hilton Reservations and Customer Care. While Hilton does provide you with some equipment, you'll need to provide a computer monitor and surge protector along with the high-speed Internet connection. They'll send you a Thin-Client/Mini PC (lightweight computers with limited computing power), keyboard, mouse, a compatible headset, flash drive, and ethernet cable. Working for Hilton comes with benefits! They have an incentive program to increase your pay, medical benefits, a 401k plan, PTO, and even discounts on travel.
Enterprise only hires from certain states, so check the list before you apply. The great thing about working as customer service or a reservations agent with this company is that they’re also behind Alamo and National car rental services. They pay $12.85 per hour (with the possibility of commission to increase your earnings) and you only need 2 years of customer service experience and a high school diploma (or equivalent) to qualify. You’ll need to supply your own computer and it’s PC only – no Macs.
U-Haul reservations agents help folks accomplish their moves and can take home a nice paycheck, depending on your base rate of pay and any bonuses you earn. They also offer some benefits. All calls are inbound, so you’re not doing cold sales calls. Note that they require you be available to work Mondays, Fridays, and at least one weekend day. (They also need you to work holidays.) You can expect three weeks of paid training, and you must supply your own equipment: computer, headset, and high-speed Internet connection.
Working Solutions offers a Corporate Travel Agent Program that their registered agents can be considered for. As the name implies, they handle making domestic and international travel reservations for mostly corporate customers. You must be able to work at least 25 hours per week in this position, and you should have experience with GDS systems such as Amadeus, Galileo, or Sabre. You should also have previous experience in booking travel reservations and they prefer you to have corporate travel experience as well.
Aspira seasonally hires work-from-home agents to help their callers book camping reservations – the position generally lasts about 4 months starting in May. They should send you most of the equipment you need, though you’ll need to supply your own monitor. They require you be available to work at least one weekend day each week, and you should be available to work 32 hours each week as well. Make sure your minimum typing speed is between 20 – 30 WPM.
American Express hires Virtual Travel Consultants (see available positions here) to provide superb travel arrangements to their Premium Card Members. This could include talking cardholders down while fixing travel arrangements that have gone awry in addition to planning and booking all travel arrangements and first-class entertainment. They provide 24/7 support, so pay attention to which shift they’re hiring for (for example, 2nd shift is 12:30PM-9:00PM). American Express will install their own high-speed Internet connection in your home to be used exclusively for your job.
Holland America Line actually offers a few different positions, from Cruise Consultant to Direct Reservation Sales Agent to Shore Excursion Reservation Agent, that can be done from home from various states. Some of these positions include outbound sales work while others involve inbound calls making reservations, resolving complications, and so forth. Holland America Line offers an impressive benefits package, including a profit sharing plan, stock options, and travel privileges for you and your family. If you’re skilled with sales, this position could be quite lucrative for you!
SYKES hires Corporate Travel Reservation Agents with experience – which means you must have at least 1 year of experience working with a GDS system (like Sabre). Beyond that, you should understand that needs and expectations of corporate travelers, have a passion for providing great customer service, and have a high school diploma (or equivalent). They also don’t hire from several states, so check the list before you apply. They don’t disclose their pay rate (they simply say it’s “competitive”), but they do advertise that they offer benefits from medical coverage to discounts on travel to 401k contributions.
Omni Hotels & Resorts offers home-based reservation agent work and, just like SYKES, they advertise that their rate of pay is “competitive.” Their hotels are upscale and they require consummate professionalism in their remote workers. They do hire for these work-from-home positions in specific areas because you must do on-site paid training before beginning to work remotely. Pay attention to the city listed in the job description! Also, note that you must have advanced communication skills and be available to work at least one weekend day.
Many of these positions do not require prior travel agent experience.
If you are on the fence about taking a customer service job, I want you to remember you aren't marrying your first work-at-home job. Where I started out my work-at-home journey – in a customer service position – and where I am today are so far apart. I have had so many jobs over the past 10 years. But in the beginning, I was willing to do whatever it took to make my dream come true. And when I took those first customer service positions, I wasn't taking them because I planned to be there for years. I didn't ask myself, “Can I do this forever?” I said, “Can I do this for a few months while I get my virtual assistant business going? While I get a better job? While I learn the ropes of this new world?” And the answer was YES!
First published April 2018. Updated February 2020.