For people who love to travel and learning about other areas of the country or world, becoming a travel booking professional is an excellent career choice. Travel professionals often operate out of home-based businesses, offering travel bookings online to clients around the world. There are specific steps that must be taken, however, in order to become a travel booking agent.
Travel Agent Education
Most states require travel booking agents to have formal training in regulations surrounding the travel industry. Many community colleges offer certificates or associate degrees in travel and hospitality as do online travel agency training schools.
The courses offer students an understanding of travel destinations as well as reservation systems, sales and marketing, along with other travel-related information. Obtaining certification demonstrates to customers that an agent meets standards and professional ethics of the travel industry.
Various industry certifications are available, and host agencies also offer specific training in the travel profession. Host agencies allow travel booking agents to offer exclusive services, quality control and automation, creating a better customer experience.
Use of a host agency also helps boost confidence in customers as the agent can offer better pricing and options than if they are booking strictly on their own.
Develop a Niche Market
The travel booking agents that are considered leaders in the industry have developed what is known as a niche market for their clients. Although they book every type of travel, they become known as the agent to contact for specialty travel.
By building knowledge in a particular destination or recreation experience, the agent is able to provide guidance to clients whether they are traveling for business or pleasure. Some agents may specialize in cruise travel while others may develop extensive knowledge of the Caribbean.
People who travel for a particular hobby or interest, such as mountain climbing, scuba diving or skiing, often contact travel booking agents who specialize in those types of destinations.
In order to continue to provide excellent customer service to clients, travel booking agents must keep learning. It is critical that they stay up-to-date on the latest travel news, learn about new resorts or destinations, and changes in regulations including customs and immigration laws.
Travel companies often provide webinars on new resorts, destinations and travel experiences, so it is critical for a booking agent to conduct research on what new information is available on a regular basis.
Good customer service requires a travel agent to anticipate what their clients want even before the client knows that they want it. By offering specials and deals to clients as they come available, not waiting until the client requests the information, the agent can further develop their reputation as an expert in the travel industry.
As the agent books more clients at a specific resort or destination, this also increases their reputation with those stationed there, and they may then begin sending additional deals and discounts, further improving the customer service.
Although travel booking agents often enjoy the benefits of being able to travel to unique and exotic destinations, their main goal is to provide clients with the ultimate travel experience.
By gaining the education and certification necessary, developing a niche market and working with a host agency, someone with an interest in travel can build a profitable travel booking agency. Find out more about Travel Planners International.