The main function of a travel agent is to sell. They sell travel services and products as air tickets, tours, car rental, hotel services, etc. A travel agent works for a travel agency and event when the company offers the services or products; it does not possess any of these because they just sell the products on behalf of the supplier.
A travel agent does not only sell, they have to help customers take the most appropriate decision about its journey. Customers are not usually familiar with trip promotions or packages, neither with tours, that is why it is the obligation of the travel agent to talk about the pros and cons of each one of the promotions available at that moment.
Since the job does not only consist in selling, travel agents need to develop a variety of skills in order to be:
- Be communicative, friendly and polite.
- Be persuasive and patient.
- Capable of working under pressure and of dealing with all type of people.
- Organized and capable of doing several actions at the same time.
If you are planning to become a travel agent, you must know that is advisable to have a travel agent license. There are two possible ways of doing this:
The first one is by going to a college and get a degree in travel or tourism, in order to achieve this degree you have to go to an accredited school as:
- The University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) offers the Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM). IT is located in Amherst, Massachusetts.
- The University of Central Florida has the Rosen College of Hospitality Management, this schools offer the Bachelor of Science in hospitality management. It also offers a Master of Science in Hospitality & Tourism Management degree. It campus is in Orlando, Florida.
- The Johnson & Wales University is located in Providence, Rhode Island and it offers several degrees for tourism as: International Hotel & Tourism Management, Travel-Tourism & Hospitality Management and Hotel & Lodging Management.
- The Strayer University offers the certification of Bachelor of Business Administration in Hospitality and Tourism Management.
The second possibility of getting a travel agent certification is by going to a travel school. Some of the most recognized is the associate degree in Applied Science in Global Travel and Hospitality Management offered by Kaplan University.
It is also important to know that there are some states (14) which require a Travel Sellers License, getting this license is not really difficult. The states are: California, Delaware, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Maine, Rhode Island, Florida, Hawaii, Virginia, Iowa, Washington and Pennsylvania.
About the salary of travel agents, it goes from $20 000 to $50 000 per year. The experience and the certifications define the salary. Obviously the least experience and preparation the least the salary is. For this reason it is very important to write down all the sales experience you have in your travel agent resume, the working experience as well as the certifications must be in chronological order, to learn more about how to write a good resume check the following samples.