The Ultimate Guide to Travel Agent Jobs
Being a travel agent is a great career for anyone that wants a flexible job that fits their life, and doesn’t require them to come into an office daily. Here is the ultimate guide to being a travel agent.
A travel agent’s job is to help people book and schedule their vacations. This is more than just going online and clicking ‘book trip’— it’s working with each client individually to find out their needs and wants and setting them up with the best trip. Whether they’re a retired couple looking for a two-week vacation through Europe, or a couple of friends that just want to have a weekend off from work, a travel agent works to make their clients have the best trip possible.
Travel agents have to work directly with each of their clients to make sure their needs are met. This can include finding the cheapest trip possible due to budgetary restrictions or meeting specific dietary, medical, or accessibility needs.
Travel agents work the entire year, there really is no off season, but they work more during peak vacation booking times. In cruising, the industry’s busy booking season is typically January through March, known as ‘wave season’ While people tend to travel the most during the summer and holiday seasons, agents are busy planning trips and making last-minute changes for their clients year round.
How Much Money Does a Travel Agent Make?
Part-time travel agents and full-time travel agents receive commission. For every sale they make, a percentage of that goes towards their paycheck. The more a travel agent sells, the more they make. It makes sense that someone that works a full-time job as a travel agent will make more than a person who only works on the weekends or periodically throughout the month.
Compared to other jobs, location doesn’t play a huge role in how much you make. Because you work from home and do all of your work digitally, you will work with people around the country that are looking for the personal touch of a travel agent. No matter if you live in New York City or a little town like Mineola, Texas, you can make the same amount from commissions.
What Education or Training is Needed?
No specific degree or level of education is required. If you have a degree or experience in the travel agency or hospitality, it might help, but it is not required.
What Licensing is Required?
There are no regular licenses required to be a travel agent, except a business license in some states. As part of joining as an independent agent with Dream Vacations, we help you get industry certifications by learning the ins and outs of our industry to make sure that all of our clients, no matter which agent they choose to go with, get the quality customer service they deserve.
What Skills and Personality Work Best?
Being a travel agent isn’t for everyone, but for many people it’s their dream job come to life. Here are a few skills and personality traits that can make you a great travel agent.
- Great Verbal and Written Communication Skills – It is your job as a travel agent to communicate information about trips and vacations your customers can go on. The better you are able to communicate both over the phone and through digital platforms such as emails, the better your customers will be prepared for their trip.
- Active Listening Skills – If you’re not listening, and only thinking about the next sale you’re going to make, you’re not going to do well as a travel agent. A key part of being a travel agent is listening to what the customer needs and then trying to help them.
- Professional Customer Service – The best travel agents are able to provide amazing professional customer service. Chances are that your clients have horror stories about vacations they tried to schedule with another company or on their own. They’re coming to you to make sure that never happens again. This can mean everything from helping them make last-minute changes to their trip, to trying to reschedule their vacation should they need to move their plans to a future date.
- Detail Oriented – Most trips are decided in the details, and it’s important to pay attention to every one of them. Little things like layovers or boarding times for cruises can make or break a well-planned vacation. Clients might remember the amazing white beaches and crystal clear water as a major highlight of their trip, but they’re also going to remember things like being seasick on their cruise because their room was at the top level of the front of the ship. Small details like room location, dinner plans, or seasonal weather can make a big difference.
- Being Well Organized – Travel agents get to work from home, which means they are responsible for their own organization and office skills. It is their job to make sure that clients aren’t forgotten about and that everything gets done in a clear and intentional way.
- A Desire to Help People – People turn to travel agents because they need help. They have struggled in the past to make a good vacation, and they want professional help or perhaps they booked directly with a company and need better service and guidance. The job of a from-home travel agent is to help each customer with what they need.
- Basic Computer Proficiency – An online travel agent job requires you to work online. That means it’s expected for a travel agent to have their own computer and internet connection, and know how to use their computer at a basic level. The programs involved don’t require any advanced computer knowledge, but a travel agent does need to know how to manage and understand their computer to do their job.
What Is the Job Environment and Schedule Like?
Travel agents can work from anywhere. Even while they’re on trips or vacations, they can still take time to get work done. That means the environment can be anywhere from your bedroom with your pajamas on, to your balcony overlooking the ocean.
The schedule for travel agents is just as flexible. They work the hours they need that fit their life. For some, this means they work normal business hours while their kids are out at school, while other work nights, weekends, or whenever they can make the time. There are no requirements to how much you have to work each week, so you can work whenever you want.
What Are the Job Prospects for a Travel Agent?
The travel and tourism market has always been strong and although it may have its challenges, the demand for people wanting to travel is there. With trillions of dollars being spent annually, there are a lot of options out there when it comes to their vacations, and it’s starting to get more and more overwhelming. There might be a decline of traditional travel agents working from an office in your local strip mall, but there is still a need in the market for online travel agents, from entry level to experienced. Customers are looking for personalized customer care with their needs in mind, and a travel agent is the best way to get that. You can enter the field and become a work-at-home travel agent with Dream Vacations under a franchise owner who will help to mentor you.