what is a travel agent?

As a travel agent, your job is to simplify planning a holiday or trip. Travel agents book flights, accommodation, cruises, resort stays and rental cars on behalf of the client and ensure their holiday is memorable. You provide consultation services and travel packages that save time for customers. As a travel agent, you cater to diverse demographics, including corporations and individuals.

Before planning a holiday or trip, you consult with your clients to determine their interests to identify activities to include in their itinerary. When a client isn't sure about the travel destination, you make suggestions based on their preferences. As a travel agent, you ensure clients receive the best services to suit their travel expectations and financial limitations. You work for airlines, cruise lines or resorts that offer travel packages. Your job is to align the client's needs with your employer's offerings.

As a travel agent, you require exceptional negotiation and relationship-building skills to secure travel arrangements with various service providers. For instance, if the client isn't travelling to a resort that offers a complete holiday package, you speak with rental companies and hotels to find the best deals for their budget.

Would working as a travel agent suit your negotiation skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a travel agent role.

travel agent jobs

average travel agent salary

According to National Careers, a travel agent's salary begins at £18,000 annually in entry-level roles. The low salary is due to a lack of experience and minimal qualifications. The compensation package grows gradually with experience, and senior travel agents take home over £27,000 annually. In addition to the basic salary, travel agents enjoy numerous perks like discounts on holiday packages and bonuses for meeting targets. Some companies pay travel agents on a commission basis depending on the destination, flight or accommodation type clients book.

ways to boost a travel agent's salary

As a travel agent, you can increase your compensation package by specialising in high-paying travel specialisms and improving your experience. New travel agents aren't known and have fewer clients, which limits their commissions. Veteran travel agents receive repeat business and referrals from happy customers. Therefore, they receive higher basic salaries and better commissions.

Corporate travel packages are also likely to pay more than individual travel packages. You earn higher commissions when you book flights and accommodation for multiple clients. Some locations also warrant higher commissions, especially exotic tourist destinations.

smiling employee
smiling employee

types of travel agents

Some of the types of travel agents include:

leisure travel agents: you arrange trip itineraries based on a client's interest and budget or sell a travel package with pre-determined itineraries. A leisure travel agent can focus on specific types of travel like adventure tours or offer travel packages to a specific location.

corporate travel agents: you coordinate business travel plans, making arrangements to ensure corporate visitors have accommodation and transportation. If the business person is attending a conference or event, you also secure tickets for the events or conferences.


working as a travel agent

If a career as a travel agent has caught your attention, it is helpful to know what to expect. Read on to learn more about the duties and expectations of being a travel agent, where you work and what kind of working hours you will have.


education and skills

Some of the routes for becoming a travel agent include:

  • college course: a college course isn't necessary for becoming a travel agent but improves your competitiveness. Pursue a Level 3 Diploma in travel and tourism if you have 4 to 5 GCSEs. When you complete the course, try entry-level jobs in hospitality.
  • apprenticeship: you can join the role through a travel consultant advanced apprenticeship, which requires 5 GCSEs. The apprenticeship gives you work experience as you complete the coursework.

travel agent skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of travel agents include:

  • customer service skills: you interact with clients of different demographics and cultures. Your customer service skills help you maintain professional relationships. You should be friendly, approachable and calm when dealing with complaints.
  • detail-oriented skills: your job involves booking reservations for clients, from accommodations to travel arrangements. It is essential to be detail-oriented to avoid making mistakes in the reservations. Getting any details wrong can cause serious inconveniences.
  • communication skills: to provide the best travel advice, you should listen to clients. Listening and communication skills help you discover the client's needs and provide relevant travel advice.
walking woman
walking woman


FAQs about working as a travel agent

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