Career Profile: Travel Agent
August 26, 2009
Travel perks attract people to this occupation. Travel agents make arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and tours for their clients. They handle sales for most major cruise lines, and promote resort and travel packages to their clients. Agents who work for tour operators may help develop, arrange, and sell the company’s own package tours and travel services. They may promote these services, using telemarketing, direct mail, and the Internet. They make presentations to social and special-interest groups, arrange advertising displays, and suggest company-sponsored trips to business managers. Travel agents are increasingly expected to be able to advise travelers about their destinations, provide information on customs regulations, vaccines, and visas.
$32,060 – $41,480, plus commission. (United States)
A love of travel, superb communication skills, and computer training are essential for talking with clients and making travel plans. The minimum requirement for those interested in becoming a travel agent is a high school diploma or equivalent; although many travel agencies prefer applicants who have a college degree and business or travel experience. Travel agents increasingly specialize in specific destinations or by type of travel or traveler.
Many job openings are expected as established agents retire, but the number of US jobs will not change significantly through 2016. Opportunities should be better for agents who specialize in specific destinations, luxury travel, or particular types of travelers such as ethnic groups or groups with a special interest or hobby. The demand for travel is sensitive to economic downturns.