There are many great perks to being a travel agent. Agents get discounts on lodging, transportation, and constant opportunities to see the world. But travel agents do more than get discounts – they help people. There are a few things people need to do before getting jobs in travel agencies.
Travel agents offer advice on travel, put together travel arrangements, research vacation spots, and confirm arrangements. Before people can be a travel agent, they need to determine the skills they need, take advantage of educational opportunities and professional resources, and consider specializing in a certain type of travel.
First and foremost, travel agents need a high school diploma or a GED, like most other career requirements. People need to take classes in travel planning. Having that extra, focused knowledge makes agents a better candidate when walking into an agency office. Community colleges, vocational schools, and industry associations supply these classes.
Agents need to focus their education on reservation systems, travel regulations both domestically and internationally, and marketing. Getting a degree in travel and tourism is the best way to ensure a travel agency job. Many colleges offer online classes to obtain this degree. If agents want to eventually open their own agency, business classes would be required as well.
Certain skills are needed to be a travel agent. A traveller’s personality must be developed. Being worldly, confident and a great networker make for a successful travel agent. Even if working for a parent company, agents need to convince clients they are being offered the best vacation they can possibly have.
Travel agents need to be adventurous. Agents need to be willing to scope out and analyze different, sometimes dangerous and exotic areas. Communication skills should be honed behind a desk by emailing and talking on the phone. Success rate for agents is usually based on how well they communicate.
Every person has a different ideal vacation. Agents need to make sure every single detail is above standard to ensure returning customers. Being organized is a must. There are dozens of itineraries agents have to deal with daily. Keeping things straight and meeting deadlines is imperative to success.
Making connections and networking may be the most important part of being a travel agent. Clients are needed to make commission and talking is the only way to achieve that. Be the go-to agent for all friends and family who need travel information and itinerary organization.
Agents must be well-travelled. Selling a product an agent is unfamiliar with will not lead to success. They need firsthand knowledge of the area to answer any questions clients have and to be able to sell the destination. Not only that, but actually visiting the area will make planning someone’s vacation much easier. Knowing a couple of foreign languages is also helpful.
Before starting a career as a travel agent, people need to familiarize themselves with the market and what they are getting into. Becoming a destination specialist makes an agent more appealing and personalized. Agents should choose a region that most appeals to them. Agents can choose a specific geographic location, type of travel like cruises or tour groups, or price-focused travel.
Agents can also specialize based off of client interests. They can become an expert in a certain kind of travel group. These types can be based off of hobbies, special interests, or lifestyles. Examples of lifestyles include seniors or vegetarians.
Travel agents need to decide on their work environment. There are many big name travel parent companies that offer agents a website they can call their own for a minimal fee. They train and support agents and provide their income.