Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.
Powered by Campus Explorer
The job description of a travel agent has been turned on its head with the advent of online travel agencies. Most every leisure traveler these days looking to book a flight will simply go online and shop for deals. Travel agents whose bread and butter were booking leisure air travel found their businesses shrinking rapidly. Those that didn't change with the times quickly went out of business. Some were able to find new travel niches and survive. These niches include corporate travel and packaged vacations.
Travel used to be a very simple affair, but post 9/11 regulations and paperwork required for the passage of goods, businesspeople, and tourists have increased dramatically. This is to ensure that national security is not breached and the sale or distribution of illegal substances is kept to a minimum. There are even tight regulations between states since terrorists do not respect boundaries and internal flights were viewed as easy potential targets before 9/11.
While national security and cracking down hard on drugs is extremely important, in addition travel agent school teaches you a broad range of skills. These are designed to ensure that traveler's identities are recorded accurately and correctly, and that itineraries are booked to ensure the minimum amount of disruption for a traveler. You may learn about booking systems, discounting, pricing, travel insurance, marketing and promotion, customer service, complaint handling, and law. Sometimes, a problem may occur which is completely beyond your control, so learning about customer satisfaction and diffusion of aggressive situations could also be very important.
An obvious place for employment is within a travel agent's office. You could also find employment within a large luxury hotel that offers travel arrangement planning and booking for its guests. Some large corporations deal with all their travel and conferencing arrangement in-house, so a role within a personnel department might appeal to you. Alternatively a specialist travel agency such as student travel, or winter sports holidays might attract you.
Corporate travel does not revolve around finding the cheapest flight. Getting to a destination at the right time is most important, and negotiating
bulk flying rates with airlines still needs a human touch. Vacation packages are often just too complicated for people to plan on their own. Plus,
a travel agent can often work out savings by pairing travel with lodging or other pieces of the hospitality puzzle. These savings are often only realized
with experienced travel agents with business relationships.
If you want to become a travel agent, there is still a job market out there for you. Many future travel agents enroll in travel tourism agent programs as a way to learn their business and earn some valuable professional credentials. You should look into the travel tourism agent programs offered both in your area and online. If attending a classroom-based travel tourism agent program is too prohibitive, an online program might be perfect for you.