What Does a Travel Agent Do?
As a travel agent, it will be your job to offer and plan accommodations and travel arrangements for customers. You will also be instrumental in securing transportation, deciding on an ideal destination, determining overall costs and figuring out the perfect travel dates. There are also travel agents who organize itineraries, offer tour packages and take care of any problems a customer might have with his trip. To better assist your customers, you will also learn more about them to help plan the perfect vacation or travel arrangements that meet their individual needs and budget. Travel agents are projected to see a 12 percent decline in employment opportunities for the next several years, which translates to roughly 1,100 jobs a year. The reason for the drop in job growth is likely due to the rising popularity of travel websites and app.
Travel Agent Skills and Abilities
Some of the general skills you’ll be expected to have as a travel agent include actively listening to what your customers and others say to you, going out of your way to help clients, being aware of the reactions of others and comprehending information that’s conveyed to you. Examples of abilities you’ll want to hone include oral comprehension and expression, writing comprehension, and speech recognition as well as speech clarity. Additional knowledge travel agents should have include being aware of effective marketing and sales techniques and adequately describing geographic features.
Travel Agent Duties
General day-to-day activities for travel agents include gathering all necessary payments from your customers, printing out all information and booking transportation as well as hotel reservations. You will also be expected to determine how much travel and accommodations will cost by using carrier tariff books, hotel rate books and a calculator. When you aren’t taking care of your clients, you might find yourself handing out samples and promotional information to potential and past clients.
Travel Agent Tools and Technology
Some of the different types of tools often used by travel agents include:PhotocopiersInkjet printersPersonal computersLaser fax machines and printersTechnology utilized in this particular industry consists of:Galor Travel Booster database user interface softwareAccounting softwareDataswell, Illusions Online and other types of business intelligence and data analysis softwareScheduling software, such as the Apollo Reservation System and Rezdy
Education and Training for Travel Agents
A majority of travel agents have a high school diploma or its equivalent. With that in mind, know that there are are some agents with a college education background and even some who have earned bachelor’s degrees. Depending on your specific career goals, you can even earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree and become a travel agent. No prior work experience is required for you to qualify for a job, and you’ll most likely receive some on-the-job training once you’re hired.
Travel Agent Salary
U.S. travel agents earn a median salary of roughly $34,800 a year, but those in the top 90th percentile have the potential to make as much as $59,100. When you first get started and are among the lowest 10 percent, you may not take home much more than approximately $19,700 a year. It’s entirely possible for you to make much more if you’re willing to move to a different state. For instance, the top 90 percent of travel agents in California take home $58,700 a year, but average earnings there are $36,300.
Travel Agent Jobs by Geography
States with the most favorable growth potential for travel agents include Arizona, Washington and Indiana while those with the least favorable are Minnesota, North Dakota and Connecticut. If you’re mostly concerned with making as much as possible as an agent on average, consider moving to Massachusetts, Virginia or North Carolina. States in which agents make the least on average include North and South Dakota and Ohio.