At the moment travel is a booming industry, as more and more people catch the travel bug and venture into the unknown. Yet, despite the wonders of travel, the actual logistics of planning a trip are at best inconvenient, at worst a minefield.
This is where you come in. You offer your services to inexperienced travellers. Or you might help people who simply want to take to the skies without having to worry about connections and time-consuming research on how to get to the swing at the end of the earth. You take their dreams and help them to become reality working closely with your clients to gain an understanding of their travel needs. In other words, you plan and book flights, as well as other transport services, and activities. Helping your clients to manage their budget and the paperwork involved along the way. You should be one part dreamer, and one part organisation buff as you take practical tasks and imagination to build itineraries to set your clients hearts racing.
Do you live, breathe and sleep travel? Are you a master of organisation? Then, keep reading to find out how to follow your dreams and become a travel agent.
Step one: Consider a specialisation
Travel agents can enter the business from a range of different pathways. However, if you have in mind where you would like to head on your career path, you can bear this in mind when selecting any training. Training is not a requirement to become a travel agent, but it will greatly help you to find work.
Tour guides work all over the world accompanying their clients on their travels. You may work in one specific destination. Alternatively, you may spend the whole time with a group guiding them on trips of 5/7/ 10 days. You may have a special focus within the role, such as history, adventure, or culture. In any case, the bottom line is you aim to help your clients get the most out of their trip. This might involve teaching them about places and destinations, introducing them to food typical of the region, and guiding them on different activities.
Airline Passenger Officer
Airports are bustling places at the start and end of most travellers trips. As an airline passenger officer, you assist travellers with check-in, boarding, providing information about luggage and general enquiries. You are there to help travellers get on to their flights in the easiest and stress-free way possible. This role will suit people who like to work in a bustling environment and enjoy working with people.
Tourism Information Officer
In this role, you are usually based in a tourist information centre. You help people who come into the office looking for information. Your clients will have a huge range of needs, and questions and your job is to help as much as you are able. Perhaps you will help with information about navigating your city, locating popular landmarks or directing people to useful resources. As a result, you aid the visitors to your destination to have a enjoyable trip.
Step two: Enrol on a Course
Once you have an idea of the direction you would like to head for your career you can choose a course tailored to your interests and goals. There are a number of courses available which prepare you for work in the travel industry. Choose the course which most closely fits your interests and passions. This will then lead you on to jobs which you will enjoy.
Step three: Look for your first job
After passing your course with flying colours, we knew you could do it! You can begin to look for work. When applying for opportunities make sure you tailor your resume and cover letter to include your qualifications, personal strengths, and any experience you have in travel.
Step four: Gain Experience
Your first job doesn’t have to be your final destination. After finding work as a travel agent, use the opportunity to gain valuable experience and hone your skills. Then, when you are ready you can look for opportunities to progress your career or to move towards your specialisation.
Travel Agent Job Description
As a travel agent, you work with people from all walks of life. Your clients may be business travellers or private travellers. They could be families, solo travellers or groups. Once they give you an idea of what they want from their trip, you generate proposals which work within the budget they have. Assuming they are happy with your suggestions you then go on to make bookings for them, finding the best rates and deals along the way. At this point, you provide information to your clients about anything they need to arrange themselves before or during their trip. For instance, you provide information about visa requirements, vaccinations they should get, currency, and advise on insurance. You work to coordinate any activities or services they will use on their trip like guides, drivers, or even translators.
- Listening and understanding the needs of your client
- Providing logistics, accommodation and activity information
- Using systems to book flights, other forms of transport, and activities
- Arranging travel insurance
- Helping to plan itineraries
Skills for Success
Travel agents come into contact with a huge range of people from all walks of life. These people are your clients, or tourism professionals who you are in contact with on behalf of your clients. You must be friendly and have fantastic communication skills. Similarly you need to be very organised because you will be the force behind the itinerary. Besides you will usually have more than one commission at the same time. Meanwhile, you should pay attention to details so you pick up any mistakes in the bookings. If one part of the plan has a date wrong your clients smooth running trip will turn into a disaster. Savvy people will excel in this role. This is because you need to use various online booking systems, and negotiate with service providers from all over the world.
Skills and attributes
- A knack for conducting research online
- Good at communication and listening
- Highly organised person
- Pays attention to detail
- Friendly and able to inspire
What is the Travel Agents salary in Australia?
In Australia, Travel Agents earn a median wage of $38,023 per year. This varies according to a number of factors and is intended as a reference only, from Payscale 05/’18.