Travel Agent

How to Become a Travel Agent
Travel Agent Job Description
Skills and Qualities of a Travel Agent
Travel Agent Salaries
Influential Professional Travel Agents
Leading Organizations for Travel Agents
Top Cities for Travel Agent Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Travel Agent

If you are the type of individual that would love to travel anywhere in the world at any given time, have a great interest in learning about other cultures and races plus an enthusiasm to share that knowledge, then becoming a Travel Agent should be high on your list of career choices. To enter this field a High School Diploma is required. Vocational training is also a definite advantage.

There are many training institutions and colleges that offer courses on how to become a Travel Agent. These training programs usually cover all aspects of becoming a travel agent. If you already have a college degree or diploma in business or any other qualification that will give you an advantage. Being fluent in more than one language or if you are seasoned traveler, you may be considered for on the job training. There are many cases where the receptionist, after being exposed to the operations of a travel agency and having discovered a great liking for this type of work, has positioned herself or himself into a situation where they eventually become seasoned travel agents.

What does a Travel Agent do?

A Travel Agent is the person that arranges and organizes trips that is best suited to the individual. He or she must be able to make informed and helpful decisions regarding travel destinations. The agent also advises about all the documentation needed if the client is traveling abroad.

Arranging transport, hotel or any other form of accommodation, excursions tours, vehicle hire as well as being prepared for any emergency detours is all part of the job. Travel agents also assist in putting together and arranging tour packages that may suit a variety of clients. On these occasions, they may travel to the destinations themselves to gain first hand information on the viability of the trip. Here everything is thoroughly checked out - the state, management and safety of the accommodation. The quality of the tour package is also assessed and either changed or improved.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Travel Agent?

Internet knowledge and skills are a definite requirement in this business. Multi-tasking is given a new meaning in this line of work. An above average sense of organization plus a good eye for detail is a must. These qualities are essential, as the job requires the agent to put together a well-planned and organized itinerary. This means that the agent will often spend longer hours behind the desk than the average office personnel. Having a good inner psychological awareness is a good quality, as it will help to assess and address the client in a professional manner, as well as, assist them if any form of emergency arises. Sales and marketing are two other vital skills to have. Agencies are after all selling and promoting a product and, in this case, it is traveling and tourism. Tour packages have to be arranged in such a manner that it will attract a lot of business. Advertising and promotional abilities have to be of a good standard to be able to pull off this aspect of the job.

How much do Travel Agents make?

According to the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES), the average wage for a Travel Agent is about $29,210 per annum. This was the figure in May 2006 after a survey had been done. It was also assessed that middle 50% earned between $23,020 and $36,920. The lowest 10% earned less than $18,100 but the top 10% earned $46,270, which is a very good living wage. Travel agents specifically working in the reservation services earned slightly less than the average wage per annum and that is $29,160. However, according to an independent company that researched the general wage packages of travel agents, the net monthly income of a travel agent is about $2,125.26.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

The current leader in this field is a company called "Anthony's Travels". The president and CEO of the company, Mr. John Anthony, has recently received a prestigious award from the "World Travel Awards" held in Dallas, Texas in September 2007. The reward was for "Best Travel Agency in North America". Great reviews were also made in the Wall Street Journal about this outstanding company.

Graham E.C. Cooke is the founder of the "World Travel Awards."

What are some leading organizations in this field?

America's Vacation Centre is considered one of the best travel organizations at the moment. They have won the NCL (Norwegian Cruise Line) award twice in a row. Another leading company is Travel Store. This company is known and has been awarded for the high level of luxury that it affords its customers. They have been awarded the "Leader in Luxury Travel award" three times in a row.

Currently the leading organization in the travel industry at the moment is ILS and the Discover Travel Group. ILS stands for Intelligent Leisure Solutions. At the recent "Oscars of the travel Industry" awards in Orlando, Florida they came out tops.

What are the top cities for Travel Agent jobs?

At this moment Chicago is at the top followed by Houston and then New York. If these locations are not what you have in mind the other options are Indianapolis, Dallas and Seattle. Given the current economic climate and with the possibility of this country falling even deeper into recession, the job prospects are very low. In fact, according to statistics of the National Employment Matrix in 2006, there was no growth in the employment department for travel agents.

This means that the chances of becoming employed at a travel agency are very slim. These are however only statistics and should not be the sole reason for not getting into the industry. Determination coupled with hard work can bring about lucrative opportunities.

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