Do you enjoy the interaction with clients and have a real craving for travel? Do you love to spend your day scanning hotel flight and want to enjoy hotel awards points? Then the travel agent job is perfect for you. But you may probably wonder how to become a travel agent.
And when it comes to the fact that living in the age of the Internet means that travel agents are not as important as they used to be. People use travel agents more than you think. Just because passengers don’t call an agent every time, they need an urgent flight. However, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to consult an expert for a big trip. Especially when it comes to a honeymoon or bucket list trips, you may need translators or multiple resorts. In this situation, it is logistic to leave all responsibility on a travel agent.
You do not need a specific professional background to become a travel agent. So if you are considering a travel agent to start your career, it’s good. You have to start from somewhere to start your career. The Sooner you jump into your dream career, the sooner you’ll build your strong client-base. On the other hand, hoping to end your experience in a semi-related industry, be it marketing or hospitality, can be beneficial as you will have more perspective on your new career. However, working as a travel agent can be pleasant and rewarding for your career. Let’s discuss what you need to know to become a travel agent.
Steps to become a travel agent
In general, a high school diploma is a prerequisite for becoming a travel agent, although a relevant bachelor’s degree can certainly outperform other competitors. Background in sales or customer service is also more helpful and beneficial in this job.
Even before you become a travel agent, you need to understand when you refer to yourself in this way.
Choose what type of travel agent you want to be
There are many travel agencies out there, and knowing which path you want to take in your career can help you figure out what you should do. This may mean that you must understand the culture and destination better if you want to master a particular part of the world.
Are you interested in becoming a travel agency for those who want to make their vacation more enjoyable on a low budget? You need to have an understanding of financing or budgeting. Moreover, you must know where to find cheap deals.
This is also true if you become a leisure travel agency or a corporate travel agency. Leisure travel agents are the most generally affiliated with selling holiday packages to travel agencies, folks, families, and groups. While corporate travel agencies focus on travel arrangements for staff attending corporate and business meetings.
Education: Certificate and/or college degree
Education is optional in this career. But it benefits both in taking advantage of a job interview and gaining significant experience before entering the field.
It is unnecessary to get a “travel agent” bachelor’s degree program regarding a college degree. But a program that shows that you understand one of the most vital elements of the job is crucial. Some college degrees are more directly allied, but others may be more relevant. These major companies and programs may include:
- Business administration
Indeed, some of these programs at 4-year colleges can be very expensive. Many community colleges, vocational and technical schools also teach travel planning education.
Also, there are several certificate programs for those who have inadequate experience in gaining certificates. The Travel Institute provides education and testing at travel agencies. They also offer travel agency proficiency tests (TAP tests) to test your basic knowledge. Registration for the test costs $95, but it is also provided at the end of many Travel Institute admissions programs.
Research travel planning and money saving techniques
As a travel agent, customers rely on you to help you save as much money as possible on their trip. This aids you find deals on events that can be offered through hotels, cruises, flights, or local specials.
If you work for an agency, you get training to quickly find the best deals for your clients and make the best booking for the price. This experience can help before you start your own business.
Develop your communication skills
Travel agent’s success depends on their ability to communicate with others, whether through phone calls, emails, or personal appointments. Good communication skills will help you find and retain loyal customers, which is your main source of income. If you plan to work independently, not for an agency, keeping your clients happy is important.
Increase your knowledge about the tourism industry
Travel policies for resorts and their clients change over time. That is why it is imperative to keep industry updates. It allows you to take continuous courses that help you better understand the tourism industry.
In addition to the TAP test, the Tourism Institute also offers courses in geography and tourism planning. These courses help you plan a memorable trip for your client.
Know the facts
Familiarize yourself with the market and business as well as discretion before you start your career.
A travel agent who starts his career earns $15 in an hour or 30,000 a year.
In 2016, there were 81,700 travel agents in the United States (expected to increase in 2021).