Are you interested in becoming a Travel Agent? There are certain skills, attributes and techniques you’ll need to master if you plan on embarking on a career in the travel industry.
A Travel Agent provides information, guidance and advice for people wishing to travel, while researching new destinations to ensure they are on top of the latest trends and locations. A large part of the role involves planning and costing travel itineraries, issuing tickets and assisting customers when changes to travel bookings need to be made. Read more about the job description of a Travel Agent.
What technical & professional skills do I need to become a Travel Agent?
As a Travel Agent, it's important that you are a strong multitasker who can listen to client requests, manage their travel plans and suggest travel options that will best suit their needs. You'll also need to have strong sales skills, as much of your success will be determined by the travel sales you secure.
While you don’t need a licence to work as a Travel Agent, formal training will put you in a strong position stand out from the crowd when it comes to applying for jobs.
As most employers prefer their staff to have previous experience in the travel industry, a qualification such as a Certificate III in Travel or a Diploma of Travel and Tourism (SIT50112) is an ideal way to gain experience if you haven’t worked in the industry before.
As SEEK Learning Consultant Rachel Armstrong explains, “A travel or tourism qualification will teach you valuable skills using the computer reservations system used for making travel bookings, preparing quotes and destination knowledge.”
While a Certificate provides you with an entry point and the practical skills you’ll need to get your foot in the door, a Diploma will prepare you for managerial roles in the travel industry and teach you skills relevant to related fields such as hospitality and events.
Your own travel experience will also be used to your advantage. Travelling as much as possible (or a long history in travel) can strengthen your geographical knowledge and provide you with valuable first-hand insights.
What will I need to start my own travel agency?
If owning your own travel business interests you, there are a number of steps you should consider before embarking on this career goal. Writing up a business plan will help give you direction and plan out your business’ future. It’s also important that you get an accreditation from the AFTA Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS).
Should I become a Travel Agent?
To be a successful Travel Agent, you will need to have:
- good communication skills
- the ability to multitask
- general computer skills
- an aptitude for geography
- basic mathematics skills
Whether you’re a well-heeled traveller or an armchair explorer, a passion for travel is a must if you want to succeed in the industry. Alongside this, strong people skills and a focus on customer service are all important traits too.
Josh Dyer, Senior Travel Consultant at Melbourne-based agency The Friendly Group, says the best Travel Agents he knows are “customer driven, and able to funnel their passion through their love of helping each and every uniquely different person”.
“Quite often you will be juggling many detailed itineraries and dealing with customers and suppliers in order to secure dates and ensure smooth transitioning, so organisation and multitasking skills are essential,” adds Josh.