Do Thomas Cook and Thomson Local sound familiar to you? They should because they’re the two major companies that dominate the travel industry, but there are far more independent travel agencies scattered in every city and county around the UK, where you can find work opportunities to enter the field.
Trainee travel agents aren’t required to have any qualification to enter this field. What are essential are customer care skills, and the ability to sell. You’re a customer service agent; responsible for sales, but more than meeting sales is the requirement to understand what you’re selling.
Holidays are expensive, and for most families, and couples, the holiday is the highlight of the year. More often than not, people are saving all year round, for the ultimate break away. The summer holidays, family holiday, cruise of a lifetime, or a honeymoon.
You sell the dream!
You organise the trip to turn that typical holiday into the trip of a lifetime.
Advising on different cultures around the world, the travel requirements, vaccinations required, passport advice, currency advice, and the travel arrangements to get there. After reading that you should know there’s more to being a travel agent than selling a holiday. A lot more… You’ll be arranging the flights for customers to get to and return from their destinations, organising for hotel transfers from the airport, or in some cases making car hire arrangements on behalf of customers.
From the initial booking of a holiday, you’ll be processing the transaction of the booking fee, using computer equipment to generate invoices, and carrying all the administration duties keeping customers involved in the arrangements you’re making on their behalf throughout the process. Besides the major two travel agents, most of the smaller agencies focus on a particular group of customers.
In order to get the best possible chance of landing your job as a trainee, you should know about their target consumer, who you’ll be responsible for advising and selling the holidays too.
You may have a specific type of holiday that’s your favourite trip away. Perhaps skiing, snowboarding, hill walking, abseiling, water skiing, sky diving, spa resorts, golfing etc. There’s so many markets and consumers the travel industry caters too and because of that, if you can align your career to the type of holiday you love, you’ll be a top notch representative for the agency who takes you under their wing with the training provided in-house.
While the majority of travel agents are going to recruit trainees, you can give yourself a boost in your employment prospects by getting some related training to give you a head start in this career. Your local college will have a range of courses on offer applicable to travel and tourism.
The above courses are widely recognised, however once you’re on the job, you may find yourself being encouraged to continue your studying. If not, you can improve your career prospects by studying towards the following certifications.
We all love taking holidays but would you be good at helping other people choose their annual trips abroad? I
f you think you would you could be looking at a career as a travel agent. Unlike some careers there is no rigid level of education that has to be reached to get a chance of grabbing one of the travel agent jobs available today. However with that said you will find it useful to have GCSEs in relevant subjects. English and Maths are always good to have, and a knowledge of geography will also look good. Other relevant and useful topics to have done well in include business studies or something similar.
You could try asking your local travel agents to see if they have any junior positions available. Look in your local papers and start finding out all you can about the industry.
Don’t disregard social networking for getting a better idea of what jobs are available either. If you can get voluntary work in the sector it can look very good on your CV when it comes to applying for a proper paid position.
The short answer is everywhere! Since some travel companies now operate online rather than in the high street, it can pay dividends to sign up to a number of job search sites on the internet. The biggest advantage of these is that you can upload your CV and receive emails every time new travel agent jobs become available.
You can also search for travel agent jobs on a search engine like Google. This will bring back other results including those for specific companies looking to hire travel agents. Never assume the only opportunities you have are in your high street. They are more far reaching than this.
You can, and one of the most common opportunities here is to take on a franchise. This gives you a well known name to trade under, plenty of support and everything you need to know to start your own business as a travel agent. Some people consider this rather than looking for travel agent jobs working for someone else.
Whatever path you decide to choose, you will need excellent people skills in order to do well in this job. You have to understand what your customers need in order to point them in the right direction. If you have experience in customer services already you will be able to put this to good use in the travel agency field.
Competition may be high at times but don’t give up – if this is the role you want you should go all out to try and get it.