Travel Agent Job Description
Because are so many travel opportunities available in today’s market, it can be overwhelming for people to identify the trips or destinations that are best for them on their own. That’s where travel agents come in.
Travel agents help their clients identify travel arrangements that meet their budget, schedule, and expectations. Since they are so familiar with the travel industry, they’re able to present their clients with a curated list of suitable options.
In some cases, travel agents visit hotels, resorts, and other accommodations so that they can make recommendations based on their own personal experiences.
In recent years, it’s become popular for travel agents to specialize. An agent might specialize on scuba diving trips, for instance. Or they may specialize in helping a particular type of client, such as singles or senior citizens.
Since this is a competitive industry, such specialization can make it easier for a travel agent to market themselves and retain clients with unique needs.
Work Environment and Schedule
Most travel agents work in offices, where they spend most of their time talking on the phone or meeting directly with clients. In some businesses, they may work in a call center environment.
This can be a stressful occupation at times, because airlines may cancel or change their flights at any time, which can interfere with a client’s travel plans. In these situations, finding a replacement flight that works with the client’s schedule can be hard to do, and managing an angry client is rarely pleasant.
Most travel agents work full time, and need to be available to help their vacationing clients all times the event of a travel emergency. It may also be necessary to work longer hours during popular vacation months.
How to Become a Travel Agent
A minimum of a high school diploma is required to become a travel agent, but may employers prefer candidates who have taken classes in travel planning. Community colleges and vocational schools often offer relevant classes. These classes teach the basics of reservation systems, travel planning, and marketing, and can be very worthwhile.
In some states, travel agents must have a business license to practice. To find out what the requirements are in your state, contact your state’s licensing agency.
Certifications are not required for positions in this field, but they can be helpful. The International Airline Transport Association’s Training and Development Institute and the Travel Institute both offer certifications to experienced travel agents.
There are currently 82,800 travel agents in the United States, with 1,720 new travel agent job openings created each year.
Travel Agent jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Travel Agent Salaries
Travel Agent salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most travel agents make between $25,800 – $43,500 per year, or $12.39 – $20.90 per hour.