How To Become A Travel Agent

travel agents play the role of selling transport, lodging, and entertainment packages to their clients who plan to go on trips or vacations. they also offer travel advice on destinations, plan trip activities, and make travel arrangements for their clients.  they may arrange travel for businessmen/woman or vacationers. following lists the details of their tasks:
  • determining the needs and preferences of their customers, such as costs and time schedules;
  • planning day trips and travel packages;
  • calculating travel costs;
  • making reservations for hotel, rental cars, tours, and special events;
  • discussing trip details with their clients, including the details about all the travel documents required;
  • guiding clients about local weather conditions, norms, tourist sites, and attractions; and
  • making alternate arrangements for clients in case of change in plans.

how to become a travel agent
in order to enter the profession as a travel agent, a high school diploma or equivalent may be sufficient. strong communication and computer skills may also be required. however, with an increasing need for specialization, many employers now prefer formal training. they may prefer candidates who have degrees related to the travel industry. community colleges, industry associations, and schools usually offer classes and technical training in professional travel planning. the classes usually focus on reservation systems, marketing, and rules regarding international travel planning. apart from that, some colleges may also offer degrees in travel and tourism. in addition to that, certain institutes provide associates degree certification to travel agents who have some professional experience. they offer examinations for different levels of certifications depending on the travel agent's work experience.

the certified travel associate program (cta)
the cta program focuses on providing training in communication, customer service, and other skills a travel agent requires on daily basis. in order to complete the certificate the candidate may be required to have a minimum relevant work experience of about 18 months. the curriculum usually consists of about twelve courses, which may consist of about eight core courses and four elective courses. the core courses may include the following:

  • business writing skills;
  • customer service;
  • customer-focused selling;
  • interpersonal communication;
  • work professionalism;
  • world touring;
  • understanding customer needs;
  • selling special interest travel

candidates may choose four elective courses from topics such as planning itineraries, selling travel insurance, time management, and team work. please note that the above mentioned details are typical for many programs, but may vary for different institutes. professionals may pursue higher level certificate degrees, such as certified travel counselor (ctc) after completing the certified travel associate program. apart from the education and training, a successful travel agent may need other important qualities, such as detail orientation, organizational skills, and sales skills.  finally, some states require the travel agent to have a business license in order to sell travel services. however, the requirement may vary for different states.

pay and job outlook
according to the u.s bureau of labor statistics (bls), the median annual salary of travel agents was $ 31,870 in may 2010.  the total employment of travel agents is expected to rise by 10% from 2010 to 2012 according to bls.


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