What is a Travel Agent and What do Travel Agents do?
When I started in this industry some 40 years ago, the term Travel Agent was the one and only term used to describe this very important role and professional title. There are now a wide variety of terms used interchangeably with what used to be the only term used. Travel Agents now call them selves a variety of different names such as a travel advisor, travel professional, travel consultant, travel concierge, travel planner, dream maker, travel director, vacation planner, trip planner, and the list goes on. No matter what title you choose to use, the role and description of this all important individual is somewhat consistent universally. Let’s delve into What a Travel Agent Is?
Travel Agents are Trip & Vacation Planners
They simplify the process for their customers by providing consultation and arrangement of travel plans. This can include such a wide variety of various travel components like hotel bookings, cruises, rental cars, resort stays, events, flights, sightseeing options, tours, wine tasting, culinary tours, pub crawls and more.
Some Travel Agents specialize in one or more of the above components and often have skilled expertise in either types of travel such as cruising, all-inclusive resorts and of course in destinations that travelers are interested in exploring. Specializing in a niche or specific travel type does lend itself to allowing that travel agent to have in-depth and valuable knowledge to share with their clients. Being an expert at all things is a rather daunting task, therefore choosing a niche or speciality is recommended. For more information on choosing a niche, see below:
What does a Travel Agent do?
A Travel Agents job is to make travel arranging and planning easy and seamless for their clients. Travel Agents must have fantastic listening and communication skills. An agent wants to assure that their clients have the best possible travel experience possible. They communicate with their clients either in person or by phone, email, text, video calls and uncover what their clients are looking for in their travel experience. They make suggestions based on their own experience and or knowledge that they have garnered and offer travel arrangements to suit those needs. They work within a clients budgetary guidelines and provide the best possible options to assure their clients have a wonderful travel experience.
Following are just a few of the many functions of a travel agent:
- Provide Travel Information– Travel Agents are expected to provide necessary travel information to travelers. They are expected to share up-to-date and accurate information about types of travel and destinations. Additionally, they should be proficient in accommodation information, sight-seeing, shopping, cruising, customs, passports, visas, customs and more.
- Trip Preparation– An itinerary is the typical term used to identify a trips plan which can include a variety of elements that make up the trips plan.
- Calculate Travel Costs– A Travel Agent provides the customer with a detailed costing of the components of their travel plans.
- Reservations– A Travel Agent provides the service of making the travel reservations for the traveler which can include many different modes of travel such as airline arrangements, tours, cruises, hotels, car rental, coach transportation, sightseeing and more.
- Travel Insurance– Travel Agents often provide the service of arranging travel insurance for their customers. Not only is this a very important element for an agent to recommend to all travelers, it also pays agents a healthy commission.
- Distribute Travel Documents– A Travel Agent provides the traveler with the necessary travel documents needed for their travel plans. These may be in the form of paper documentation or edocuments.
When do Travel Agents Work?
Travel Agents work pretty much year-round. Depending on where an agent markets and sales their services will often determine what times of the year they are more apt to be busy.
These days many school districts offer varied holiday schedules and the old days of summer time only travel when the kids are out of school, is no longer the norm. Therefore planning family travel has changed dramatically and is pretty much a year-round opportunity.
Then there is the weather related travel planning where those located in the Northeast or Midwest may agents find themselves busy planning travel for their clients to find some sunshine in the dead of winter while on the West Coast they may be planning trips for clients to visit the snow to ski.
When travel planning is not as demanding for an agent, they will often use that time to research and uncover travel destinations and products themselves allowing them to have the knowledge and expertise to sell those options to their customers. Yes, Travel Agents do travel! They need to travel to stay abreast of travel opportunities for their clients.
Where do Travel Agents Work?
Years ago most Travel Agents worked in a store-front office or in an office building. Today, the majority of Travel Agents actually work from their own homes. While there are still retail store front travel businesses in some communities, the advent of technology has enabled not only travel agents but many other businesses to operate from a home based. This is a tremendous opportunity to control costs and overhead. Be sure to make use of all the books, tools and videos available to you at www.HomeBasedTravelAgent.com.
Travel Agents are a passionate and giving personality type who get satisfaction from making their clients travel dreams come true. Be sure to read this article as you begin your journey into the world of selling travel “What is a Travel Agent and Do You Have What It Takes”.