A travel agent working for a big travel agency receives many perks related to their job. You can get free trips or at least enjoy big discounts to travel the world. Some big travel agencies even encourage their agents to see new locations to gain first-hand knowledge about interesting and exciting places that they can recommend to their clientele.
Being a travel agent is a job for people who enjoy customer service. A love for traveling and meeting people is also a distinct advantage.
Here are the basic things you should know to be a travel agent.
- You have to be at least a high school graduate for an entry level position in a travel agency. Likewise, if will be advantageous for you to have taken a vocational course related to travel and travel agency. The travel agency uses special software that links several sources of travel information to complete a client’s travel booking arrangements.
- Some travel agencies require a background in business, history, public relations, and/or communication. Pursue continuing education and take a vocational course related to travel and management of a travel agency.
- Read a lot about travel and the travel industry. Use the Internet for additional research. You are required to be very knowledgeable about the travel industry and the facts about various destinations – climate, culture, language, commerce, local food and customs, interesting things to do, restrictions, customs regulations and required documents.
- Get as much experience by traveling as much as you can. Nothing beats first-hand information and experience. Your clients will love you for being able to give them helpful tips, and inside information on various destinations and other valuable information that may not be found in travel brochures and published information.
- You must be computer-literate and must be able to type fast and accurately. You must also know database management as you spend most of your time using the computer and seeking information from a database source.
- Develop good communication skills, as you will spend a majority of your day talking to clients, airlines, ticketing agents, hotels, car rentals, and others when making travel reservations.
- You must have keen attention to detail as booking arrangements and itineraries depend on the accuracy of information that you will supply the various agencies in the travel network.
- Enroll in a foreign language course. Concentrate on major foreign languages that a lot of clients speak. This can prove very valuable when you come across a client or a colleague who can only speak another language.
- Check if you need to be registered or certified to be able to be a travel agent in your state. Some states do not require you to register while you have to be registered and certified if you want to be a travel agent in Hawaii, California, Louisiana, Iowa, Nevada, Delaware, Florida, Rhode Island, Washington, Virginia and Oregon.
- Aim to get advanced credentials such as the Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) certification. You will be awarded this certification once you have completed a five-part program of professional study and testing.
Instead of just reading about great travel destinations and watching travelogues, being a travel agent is much more rewarding. You get to meet and interact with lot of people, get the chance to travel (almost) for free, and learn more about the rest of the world.