Job description

Travel agents plan, sell and arrange holiday packages including transportation, accommodation, tours and activities for individuals, families and large groups.

They are responsible for creating fixed and tailored itineraries based on their expert knowledge and recommendations while also taking their clients requests into consideration.

Duties

    • Arrange travel for business and leisure trips
    • Liaise with suppliers to book and confirm tour arrangements
    • Cooperate with clients to determine their needs and provide recommendations
    • Provide relevant information on top holiday destinations
    • Create invoices for both clients and suppliers, and carry out transactions
    • Use promotional techniques to upsell packages
    • Deal with unexpected travel issues
    • Network with tour operators and keep good working relationships
    • Update and maintain client records

Skills, qualities and knowledge

Attention to detail
Patience
Communication
Customer service
Interpersonal
Listening
Persuasion
Problem-solving

Working hours and environment

Average working hours

40hweek

Typical schedule

Full Time

Standard business hours

Most travel agents work in an office environment and spend a lot of their time on the phone liaising between clients and tour operators or on their computers. Others, who have built a vast pool of contacts, work remotely and handle requests via telephone or email.

Work is usually predictable and is expected to spike during busy seasons such as summer and winter holidays. At its busiest, travel agents may be required to work overtime and immediately resolve and unexpected issues that may arise.

Salary

Bottom 10%

$22k

Median

$39k

Top 10%

$66k

Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level

High School

DVM / VMD degree

Study time

None

While formal education is not required, some travel agencies prefer candidates with an undergraduate degree or who have completed coursework related to the travel industry.

That said, basic computer skills are a must. While employers in the travel industry always offer on the job training, it’s essential to know how to use general office programs.

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2018 to 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 5%.

-6%

No of new jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2018 and 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.

-4.5k

Automation risk
The probability of computerisation, based on data published in ‘The Future of Employment’, a 2013 working paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne.

9.9%

Career progression

With training and experience, many travel agents progress to more senior roles including supervisor, branch manager, regional director or managing direction. Others choose to start their own business and work independently.

You could also move into other sectors of travel, such as tour operations, event planning or hospitality.