Do you LOVE to travel? Travel agents offer advice on destinations, plan itineraries, and make travel arrangements. They often work in agencies or start home-based businesses and plan leisure or corporate travel. Let’s take a closer look at how travel agents learn the trade.
Here is how to become a travel agent.
A travel agent should love to travel and become a master of world geography.
One of the best ways to learn is through experience! Agencies hire those who are worldly and adventurous and share an interest in exotic destinations or certain types of travel. This is why travel agents often get discounts! So, pack your bags, seek out and experience travel in a location or lifestyle area that interests you.
Take classes in professional travel planning. Many vocational schools, industry associations, and community colleges offer professional travel planning programs. Stratford Career Institute’s Travel and Tourism course can be an excellent place to begin your studies.
Students can learn about reservation systems, fares, ticketing, regulations, sales, and marketing. Computer skills are also helpful and many employers offer on the job training for programs commonly used in a travel agency.
Are you interested in a career as a travel agent? Stratford Career Institute offers a convenient way to get started with their Travel and Tourism distance learning course. This program is an easy and affordable way to learn more about how to become a travel agent.
Love to visit a certain area? Then become a destination specialist. Travel, research, talk to as many people as you can, and learn as much as possible about your favorite destination. The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics says job prospects are best for agents who not only specialize in a location but also a certain niche or lifestyle. Specialties often include:
- Price focus: plan luxury or affordable vacations.
- Travel groups: plan travel based on hobbies, special interests, lifestyle (i.e., seniors or vegans etc)
Practice the Skills
If you are confident, credible and persuasive, this may be a great career for you. Travel agents need excellent sales, communication and customer service skills. Much of their work involves selling people the vacation of their dreams. It takes an organized and detail-oriented type to sort through the large volume of information available and help customers make informed choices.
Learn on the Job
Travel agents usually need a high school diploma or equivalent.
Employers often look for those who have taken classes related to the travel industry or have a college degree. Don’t rule out starting as a receptionist or assistant in an established agency. This can give you the opportunity to meet agents already in the field. Many employers also offer on-the-job training, an excellent way to gain experience while you learn the business from the ground up.
Networking is essential for success as a travel agent. Talk to other agents who have been to a particular location. Aside from personal experience, this is the next best way to expand your travel knowledge. Those who stay connected with other agents are often able to find customers exactly what they are looking for in a vacation.
If you love travel, managing others’ travel could be a great career for you. Learn more about travel and tourism in our distance learning course!