What does a travel agent do?
Travel agents may be based in a large travel agency in a shopping centre or supermarket, or they may work for a local high-street travel agent. Some roles may be based in a contact centre.
This job would usually include:
- using knowledge and creativity to help customers find a suitable package holiday or to plan independent travel
- checking the availability of the chosen holiday by telephone or computer
- making bookings using a computer system
- collecting deposits and filling in booking forms
- contacting customers when their tickets arrive, and collecting final payments
- informing customers of any changes, such as cancelled flights, and arranging alternatives
Travel agents also advise customers about passports, travel insurance, visas, vaccinations and tours. You may also arrange refunds and handle complaints.This role might involve specialising in the business-travel sector and managing travel arrangements for people on business. This might involve dealing with documents, ticketing, vehicle hire and accommodation.
What do I need to do to become a travel agent?
The most common way to start as a travel agent is to find work with a travel agency and train on the job.
A good general standard of education would be helpful, including some GCSEs (A-C). Employers will want to see that you are enthusiastic, and have the right personal qualities for the job.
It would help if you have experience in customer service or sales, and foreign-language skills could also be useful for some work. You could take a college course to help prepare for this type of job. This is not essential, but it may help you when looking for work. Relevant courses include:
- Level 1 Certificate/Diploma Introduction to the Travel and Tourism Industry
- Level 1/2 Certificate in Travel and Tourism
- Level 2 Award in Principles of Customer Service in Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism
- Level 2 Certificate/Diploma in Travel and Tourism
- GCSEs (grade A-C)
- Foreign language skills
Where to find out more
Where could I be working?
There are often career opportunities available with a wide range of organisations. You could find work with independent agencies and business specialists, or large travel chains with many branches.
More people now use the internet to make their travel arrangements, which has created a growing number of jobs in contact centres that sell and arrange customers’ holidays.