How to Become a Travel Agent
Help create dream holidays and give your customers the experience of a lifetime with a career as a Travel Agent. As well as the satisfaction of helping others, you have the potential for high earnings as well as incredible travel deals for yourself. Find out how to get into this career below and take your customers on incredible adventures across the globe.
What Does a Travel Agent Do?
Travel agents assist holidaymakers by organising and booking their holiday whether they want a trip to Florida or an incredible African safari. Travel Agents assist customers with every aspect of their holiday, from booking hotels and flights to activities to travel insurance and booking any extras such as rentals and travel insurance. Overall they’ll ensure that the holiday goes smoothly with their expert organisational skills.
When finding the right holiday, travel agents will consider many key things such as their clients budget, their travel requirements, any restrictions or additional things to consider such as disabilities, children or pets and of course what they want their holiday to be like. They consult regularly with clients and communicate any issues which arise, being flexible to making travel arrangements on the clients behalf.
Some of the main responsibilities of a travel agents are:
How Much do Travel Agents Earn?
Travel Agents earn between £18,000 and £27,000 per year depending on experience. They may also be entitled to discounts on deals with the company they work for or be entitled to other perks.
What Qualifications are Needed to Become a Travel Agent?
There are a few different routes to becoming a travel agent. You can take courses in Travel and Tourism , which can be taken full time or part time, in person or online. You can also gain practical experience and theoretical knowledge via work experience at your local travel agency. Finally, working in a travel agency as an assistant or receptionist can lead to great career progression and you can work your way up through on the job training to become a travel agent.
If you have a degree or want to undertake a Bachelor’s or Master’s, then this will stand you in good stead for becoming a travel agent too. Relevant degree courses in Travel and Tourism can also be helpful as well.
You will likely need 5 GCSE’s grade A*-C, however this will vary depending on the route you take, and what the course or travel agency requires.
What Skills are Needed to Become a Travel Agent?
Successful travel agents have a range of hard skills and soft skills which make them excellent at what they do. If you don’t have these skills yet, don’t worry, gaining experience in the field can help greatly.
A passion and excitement for travel
Excellent customer service skills
Flexibility and adaptability
Friendly sales approach
Research and IT skills
Does a Travel Agent Need any Work Experience?
To become a travel agent, you don’t need to have work experience, however it would be advantageous when applying for courses or roles in a travel agency.
Relevant experience in a customer facing role can also be very useful, and any work as a salesperson would be helpful for a travel consultant role. If you can, getting work experience in a travel agency could be ideal, even if only for a couple of weeks. Any experience of travel would also be beneficial, particularly if you can speak other languages or have spent some time in other countries integrating with the culture.
However, if you do not have any prior work experience, then don’t worry. In your application or interview (depending on which path you take) you can discuss your personal travel experience, any places you have explored or want to explore and express your passion and interest in travel planning.
Career Progression for Travel Agents
There is the opportunity for career progression within the world of travel agency, and the higher up you progress the more you can earn. You can go from a travel agent to a travel company branch manager and then progress to a tour manager. In the tourism industry, there is also a lot of potential to go into different areas depending on your interests.
For example, you can specialize in luxury travel, become an independent travel agent and work for yourself on behalf of a host agency or focus on a particular type of travel such as cruise ships. Of course, after you have gained enough experience, you can even open your own business of travel agents by which time the possibilities are endless!
If you have a passion for travel, then working in the travel industry is a no-brainer. Whichever career path you go down, and however you choose to kick-start your career, there are so many benefits to working in this industry from helping others enjoy an unforgettable experience to enjoying a futureproof, profitable career for yourself. Whether you are in high school or another career altogether, explore your career options today.
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