Travel agent: job description
Travel agents are responsible for helping members of the public select and organise their ideal holiday on a limited budget.
Employees may receive free or subsidised foreign travel as a perk of the job.
Due to Covid-19, you may find it difficult to gain work as a travel agent at the moment. As we explain here, however, recruiters will not view time out of work due to the pandemic as a 'gap' in your CV. For guidance on searching for work during this difficult time, take a look at our advice for job hunting during a pandemic.
A travel agent's role is to help people plan, choose and arrange their holiday. They will usually work to a budget set out by whoever is planning the holiday. They also offer advice and opinions on where to go and local tourist attractions, events and customs.
Typical duties include:
- promoting and marketing the business
- dealing with customer queries and complaints
- providing advice about visas or passports
- recruiting, training and supervising staff
- managing budgets
- maintaining statistical and financial records
- selling holidays and insurance
- meeting profit or sales targets
- preparing promotional materials and displays.
- Tour operators
- Package holiday operators
- Cruise lines
- Independent travel agents.
Most graduates enter the profession as junior counter staff (travel agency clerk/consultant), moving into managerial positions after having gained several years' experience.
A small number of companies operate head office-based graduate training schemes. Vacancies are advertised in trade publications including Travel Trade Gazette and Travel Weekly, as well as their online equivalents. Networking and speculative applications are advisable.
A degree in any subject is acceptable, although travel, tourism, languages, leisure, business studies or management degree holders may be at an advantage.
A travel training company qualification or relevant travel agency, retail or sales work experience can also be helpful.
- Commercially aware
- Good interpersonal skills
- Numerical ability
- Verbal communication skills.
Fluency in foreign (particularly European) languages and personal travel experience are also highly valued.