The role of a travel agent is to book travel arrangements for clients; be it business or leisure. As a travel agent, you will be expected to book various things for customers such as airline arrangements, accommodation, car hire and other things like cruises and day tours.
As travel agents are constantly dealing with people, excellent customer service skills will be required in order to communicate well with the client and make the correct arrangements with no complications. Quite often, a client will have very little or no knowledge on where they are going or how to go about booking a holiday (for example, young couples and first time bookers) so this is where a good geographical knowledge is key. A well-travelled person makes a good travel agent as they can make suggestions and recommendations which will lead to a satisfied customer. A travel agency is usually a fast-paced environment, and as agents will have several clients to deal with, it is essential you can stay organised!
Many travel agents begin their career by getting a job in an agency and completed work based training. There may also be apprenticeships available, so you can start on the job training while gaining a qualification. Just like most work places, an agency would be happy to see some basic education qualifications, such as GCSEs (grades A-C). Previous experience in customer service or sales would prove useful in the job role.
Some relevant courses you might want to consider are:
- Level 1 Certificate/Diploma Introduction to the Travel and Tourism Industry
- Level 1/2 Certificate in Travel and Tourism
- Level 2 Award in Principles of Customer Service in Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism
- Level 2 Certificate/Diploma in Travel and Tourism.
The general starting salary for a travel agent is around £13,000 a year. As you progress, this will increase to approximately £15-25,000 per year. More senior roles in the travel agency can earn up to 35,000 a year. Most travel agents receive commission based on meeting personal targets on top of their salary.