What do you need to become a travel agent?
A person who is passionate about travelling can pursue their career as a travel agent and their primary duty remains planning package tours for families and managing travel requirements for the business client. The main is to keep the client satisfied and provide trustworthy service. The travel and tourism industry is a global industry that caters to recreational, leisure, and business travellers. The industry mainly covers transportation, hospitality, and entertainment service. A travel agent helps clients to create and organize trips, guide them in picking the best holiday package that suits their budget. The position needs professionals to possess experience in planning travel packages, selling trips to clients, learn how to organize and multitask, handle best practices in travel management, and expose to the travel and tourism industry.
What does a travel agent do?
A travel agent is accountable for performing various duties.
- Help clients identify their travel package based on suggestion and requirement
- Get information regarding various travel destination like price, weather, currency, language, and customs
- Regularly maintain a good relationship with customers
- Provide great service while organizing a trip from booking tickets to reserving hotels
- Provide essential information to tourists regarding itinerary, brochures, and maps
- Sell apt tour package to the right customer
- Resolve issues that may arise during the trip for customers
- Ensure the data is secured and handled appropriately
- Reach sales and revenue target
- Regularly update the database about client details and their travel information
- Stay up to date regarding domestic and international travel trends
- Create a network with other tour operators
- Attend travel seminars to remain updated with the tourism trend
- Use promotional techniques to sell an itinerary tour package
The travel agent must have proven experience in a similar field and should have great knowledge about the computer reservation system and GDS system. They must be fluent in English and it’s good if know about handling regional languages. If they have personal travel experience, it will be considered as an advantage.
How to become a travel agent?
Many people are attracted to the career as a travel agent due to the perks, transportation, and regular opportunity to see the world. To become a travel agent, you need to possess education, skills, and knowledge of various destinations. It would help if you have experience in sales and foreign language skills. Generally, a high school diploma is the base requirement, though a bachelor’s degree can provide you with benefits against other competitors. Here are given a few steps about how to pursue your career as a travel agent.
Step 1: Decide what type of travel agent you want to be
There is various type of travel agents and knowing the perfect route can help you pursue your career in the right direction. If you are looking to specialize in a specific area in this field, you need to be familiar with culture, language, and destination. If you are interested to be a travel agent to be more thrifty with their vacation, you need to understand budgeting and how to find savvy deals. There are leisure and corporate travel agents. Leisure travel agents are associated with selling tour packages to families, and groups. Corporate agents focus on arranging travel needs for business and employees attending work conferences.
Step 2: Education
A high school diploma is necessary to get started and it essential to get good grades and learn computer skills. You may then attend classes in travel planning. Extra knowledge will make you perfect in starting your own business. You may check for programs conducted at local community colleges, vocational schools, and the program should focus on the reservation system and travel regulations. You should get a degree in travel and tourism. Though a college degree is not necessary to become a travel agent, the program shows you have a great understanding of the profession. The programs that can include in degree courses are travel, tourism, business, and economics. Some universities offer 4-year programs. Also, there are certification programs for those with limited experience. There is a travel institute that offers education and testing on a travel agency and they offer a Tap test to test your basic knowledge.
Step3: Gain experience
You have to decide whether you want to work with a travel agency or take risk of starting your own travel business. A person with a business degree interested in travel may start their own business but beginners should develop their skill and support system first before opting for the choice. You may try for a job and gain enough experience working in this field. Along with a degree and certificates, you must experience traveling to various destinations. It makes it easy for you to handle various clients by giving them suggestions on how to plan an itinerary. Many agencies offer on-the-job training for computer programs. You must be well versed surfing the internet to gain information about various tourist destinations and to perform bookings.
Step 4: Continue your education with certification programs
Travel agents must continue their education to remain up-to-date on technology as well as to get information about the latest trend regarding travel. Even though a certification course is not required for a travel agent, people who can afford it and those who are looking to upgrade their career can opt for a program. There are certified travel associate programs available for those who hold more than 1 year of experience in the travel industry. The travel institute also offers other programs called certified travel counsellor program.
Step 5: Skills required
- Develop personality – to remain successful, you must be confident and a good communicator. You must have the skill to convince your clients to offer the best vacation they could have.
- Be well-traveled – you cannot sell a product that you are unfamiliar with. Knowing a foreign language will help you a lot. Able to provide first-hand information to clients.
- Become a destination specialist – It is helpful if you have an area of expertise. You may specialize in certain geographical locations or a specific type of travel like cruise tours or group tours.