People looking to advance a career as a travel agent may be a little surprised to hear that it is now fast becoming a competitive role. More people are attracted to the benefits of working as a travel agent or representative. No longer is it possible that people simply work in a travel agency, employers are looking to recruit people with a strong background in travel training courses – often these can be in the form of an accredited course completion certification, diploma or degree.
The average travel agent has participated in intense travel training courses, in order to keep up with changing systems and improvement to the service in the travel industry. Competition is stiff in securing a position, as this is a popular career path to follow, because it offers good benefits such as discount on plane tickets, rental cars and hotel bookings.
The travel agents role involves much more than just dealing with customers. Often they are required to change customer flight booking, find the correct packages, hotel booking, organise transportation to and from the airport and finding rental cars and accommodation. The agents work with both consumer clients and business companies, therefore the agent must have good logistics knowledge.
Most of their day-to-day activities consist of consulting with clients on various travel information and arrangements. For this reason, the travel agents knowledge of the travel industry should be at its best. Travel training course enable the agent to better prepare for working with various clients, networking with external agencies, CRS training and product training.
The travel agent find useful information through researching in journals, books, websites and often visiting various destinations in order to assess the tourist value of the area, for example, hotel quality, activities availability, restaurant and catering services and the quality of the resort. This is so they can provide their clients with an accurate and informative evaluation.
Many of the agents undergo training each year to keep up-to-date with new software packages, including airline-booking systems. Most of the time agents are involved with client services, company advertisement, internet marketing and sometimes providing travel presentations for large organisations. They are also involved with business trade shows and travel groups across the globe.
There are travel agents who are trained to work with one specific destination and sector, such as business or tourism groups. They are also assigned to work with specific geographical locations such as Asia or Europe. However, all travel agents have good researching skills, therefore for anyone seeking to work within this field should be aware that it takes a lot of patience and plenty of drive.
One thing is for certain, this is a growing profession and one that comes with many perquisites. However, gone are the days of getting into the travel and hospitality industry without background qualification and/or travel experience. Those with degrees and travel training qualifications are far more likely to gain employment over those coming straight out of secondary school with little or no knowledge.