How to Become A Travel Agent: 10 Ways to Excel as a Travel Agent


Do you know that if you’re the kind of person who loves making travel arrangements, hotel bookings and lining up events for a vacation, you can get a job as a travel agent?

Travel agencies are businesses that have to do with providing assistance travel related activities. These could include pre-booking of flight tickets, securing of hotel accommodations, etc.

Becoming a travel agent would be worthwhile if dedication and passion is in the picture and we’d be looking at what it actually entails to become a travel agent.

As stated earlier, travel agencies are companies or organizations that specialize in providing various travel-related services to their clients. The travel agency business is a vital business area in the travel and tourism industry.

Despite the popularity of automated booking systems for vacations today due to the non-stop advancement of technology, travel agents are still in demand for trips that require thoughtful planning and expertise.

Why do you think travel agents are still needed and still play an irreplaceable role in travel? Because travel agents ensure travel plans, such as activities and costs, receive a personalized touch while often providing clients with the best value for their money.

They give a personalized touch as they dispense their services to their clients. Nothing beats the physical presence of someone who gives assistance. So they are still in need of travel agencies.

Understanding the steps and requirements it takes to earn this role may help you begin your career and increase your chances of job success. But before we go into that, let’s have a basic understanding of the range of services that they offer to people.

Some of these services include:

  • Negotiating hotel rates for clients
  • Helping clients create trip plans
  • Developing alternative travel plans when schedules change or client events arise
  • Determining travel costs and helping the client save money
  • Advising clients on activities in the area they’re visiting
  • Informing clients about required travel documents, like passports
  • Discussing essential information with clients, such as requirements for crossing borders.
  • providing language interpreters for you and your clients
  • making rental cars available for clients
  • recommending good foreign exchange media to clients.

How to Become A Travel Agent

Most times, people attach too much importance to some professions, such that someone who would want to go into such a profession is held back by the acclaim such a profession has been said to have.

Likewise, becoming a travel agent sounds so professional—not that it is not professional, if is professional—but  getting started on that line doesn’t necessitate that everyone who wants to venture into travel agency should have gotten a degree from a university.

Although a degree in business management would be good for someone who wants to go fully into being a travel agency.

1. Formal Education or Degree

A degree in business management, at least a high school diploma, or  some college education can help you gain essential knowledge in areas such as tourism, best business practices, international affairs, travel insurance, strategy, finances and marketing. However, in the absence of this degree. There are some available training programs which one can enroll in .

Also, some four-year colleges, community colleges and trade schools offer tourism certifications; it is not a requirement for those trying to become travel agents. But then, certificates of tourism can be very helpful, and with previous training in hospitality, event planning and marketing, you can be good to go.

Ultimately, your knowledge of destinations, sales, itinerary planning and booking software will be crucial for your career as a travel agent.

It is also important that one gets familiar with the current trends going on in the travel community so that he can keep his customers updated with the latest trends during the course of travel assistance.

In terms of the training time you need to put in before becoming a fully-fledged travel agent, it depends. You could start your career right after high school or you could put in one to four years to earn a certificate, associate’s, or bachelor’s degree in tourism.

2. Training Programs Available

You could take classes with a company like The Travel Institute to earn your certification. Not only will they teach you the basics of planning itineraries, but they’ll also make sure you’re learning about new cultures, world geography and experiences you can have all over the world. They’ll also help you decide what business route you want to take.

Becoming a travel agent would mean that you would become a small business owner . Unlike many other types of businesses, which require a physical space for operation, for the travel agent business, you can operate from your living room and there aren’t nearly as many costs.

3. Considering The Business Type

It’s crucial to select the kind of business you’d want your work to take. Whether incorporate, LLC or as a sole proprietor. Incorporating requires the most effort and is often the most expensive.

On the other hand, becoming an LLC is a good medium because it can help protect you as a business entity without having as many associated costs. Small business owners typically form an LLC to protect their personal assets.

One of the advantages of staying under an LLC is that if something happens in the course of your work and you get sued as an LLC, someone can come after your business holdings but can’t come after your house, car or personal savings.

If you want to start up your business as a sole proprietorship, you can, but it is advisable to employ a business manager if you have no knowledge of how to manage a business.

4. Acquiring A Travel Agent Certification

You would want to have more things to boost your career; acquiring a certification helps you to be further recognized as a travel agent and will also show your clients your expertise and potential travel agency employers. For example, the Travel Institute offers the Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) test, which you can take to showcase your skills and qualifications.

After a few years of experience, you can take additional exams with The Travel Institute or similar organizations to earn more advanced certifications, such as becoming a Certified Travel Associate (CTA). Other certifications can include:

  • American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA)

This has several certifications, including courses with various topics, including negations, legal issues, project management and geoculture guides.

  • International Air Transport Association (IATA)

IATA allows travel agents to plan and book clients on airlines for domestic and international travel.

  • Travel Industry Designator Service (TIDS)

TIDS permits travel agents to schedule client vacations with travel suppliers and here, the agent can receive a commission.

  • Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)

CLIA helps clients plan and actually schedule international cruise vacations.

5. Develop your interpersonal skills

Another thing that is necessary for someone who wants to be a travel agent to imbibe is the ability to communicate freely and excellently, as the job entails interaction.

Interpersonal skills have a way of attracting clients to you; it can promote or demotivate you. So it is very important that a travel agent possess and develop his or her interpersonal skills. It even makes one grow at a faster rate and make progress in the job.

6. Research planning and budgeting techniques

As a travel agent, you have to be well read, as your clients depend on you to help them save the most money possible while they travel. They believe in you , so you’d have to try your possible best to give them the most affordable options.

It is a very tedious job and would require a lot of research on the prices of flight tickets, hotel accommodations and the different travel requirements of different countries.

7. Distinguishing Your Business

After you have started working as a travel agent Once you’ve secured work as a travel agent, you’ll want to think about how you can earn more money and distinguish yourself from other agents. Here are three things to consider as you start your career.

8. Making Commissions

If you’re working for a larger travel agency as an independent contractor, how do commissions work? Make sure you have this conversation early on before accepting the position. When you’re starting out, you want to make sure the commission rate you’re receiving is similar to the industry standard.

9. Growing Your Client Base

Keep going with the flow but be conscious of how you keep bringing clients to plug into the services you offer.

Now, how do you grow your client base? how do you keep advertising what you do to the world?

You can do this by stocking and displaying the satisfactory comments that your previous clients received from you while advertising your services; this would help to build your client base.

10. Establishing a Niche

What sets everyone apart from everyone else is the ability to specialize in a particular area of endeavor. This is what is called selecting niches.

You’d have to select a particular niche and major in it. Establishing a particular niche serves as a catalyst for the growth of a business and also helps you reach the right audience.

In order to become a travel agent, we have seen that it doesn’t necessarily require formal education but it would be better if one could get an undergraduate or postgraduate program in business management in order to be able to handle a few duties that the travel agency business entails.

Also, it is necessary that one create a particular niche to work with in order to attract the right audience. Registration with various travel agencies is also beneficial, as it would help to display your expertise to your clients.


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