The travel industry is among the largest service industries in the world and it plays an important role in the economic development of any country.
The travel industry can be interlinked with tourism, transportation, hospitality, and financial sectors. Some of these sectors offer travelling services or products to travellers.
Travel agents and tour operators are among the sub-sectors of the travel industry. With the help of a travel agent, you can plan and book your travel arrangements.
Although travellers can now book their trip on the internet without using a travel agent. But that doesn’t erase the need for a travel agent. This makes it more competitive profession than ever.
With that being said, here in this article was would guide you on how to become a travel agent and learn more on how to start your own travel agency.
Read Also: Sea of Stars Maldives What to Know
Who is a travel agent
A travel agent assists travelers in planning and booking travel arrangements including flights, hotels, car rentals etc. They help in navigating complex itineraries and finding the best deals and experiences.
A travel agent has knowledge and expertise in the travel industry. They give advice and recommendations based on their clients’ preferences and budgets.
Some travel agents are employed by travel agencies or companies while other work independently.
How To Become A Travel Agent
The travel industry is highly competitive and lucrative. Even with the growing presence of various online booking platforms, yet it has not stopped the need for travel agents to plan and book travels.
The following tips are guaranteed to help you on how to become a travel agent:
Get a Formal Training
The travel industry has no standard of education and training for travel agents. Most travel agents do learn on the job, and you can begin working in this field after graduating.
Some hospitality schools, career schools, and colleges often offer degree programs and certificates in tourism.
Students under this program often learn business principles including marketing and sales, travel planning, airline pricing and computer systems, and itinerary planning. Students may also learn about specific travel destinations around the world.
Consider obtaining a certification or license
There is no certification that qualifies you as a travel agent, but obtaining a relevant certification or license can give you a boost in the travel industry. It is also a good idea to obtain a license when you want to start a travel business.
Joining should consider joining an association, if you are starting a travel agency, as it can positively impact your business.
Some airlines, hotels and car rides gives travel agents rates to only accredited travel agents with a valid IATA, IATAN, CLIA, ARC or TIDS number.
Some of these membership includes:
- International Air Transport Association (IATA) – allows you to book travel on domestic and international airlines.
- Travel Industry Designator Service (TIDS) – allows agents to book trips with a variety of travel suppliers and receive commissions.
- Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) – allows agents to book trips on cruises around the world.
Read Also: How To Be A Travel Vlogger In 2023
Apply for travel agent hjobs or start your own agency
There are lots of travel agent jobs that are often released by travel agencies. These agencies often need people to fill up the position of a travel agent in their establishment.
You can also decide to start your own travel agency. You may need to obtain receive certification or obtain the necessary licenses and permits as well as establishing relationships with suppliers.
Gain more knowledge
Learn about the different types of travel and tourism, popular destinations, travel regulations, and the skills. You should also take courses or obtain relevant certifications in travel and tourism.
If you constantly travel to various destinations around the world, you can turn your passion into money. But if you don’t already have travelling experience you will gain more knowledge and experience as you work in the travel industry.
Gain experience in customer service and sales
Many travel agencies prefer candidates who have experience in customer service and sales. This skills are essential for helping clients plan and book their trips.
Some schools do offer degree programs and certificates in tourism, where one can learn marketing and sales.
Network and build relationships
To become a successful travel agent you need to network and build relationships. You should attend events organised by stake holders in the travel industry and connect with other travel professionals. It’s also important to build relationships with suppliers, including airlines and hotels.
Choose a specific niche
As a travel agent, you can specialize in a specific areas of the travel industry. You can pick a niche that best suites your expertise.
You can decide to arrange adventure travels, business travel, tourist travel, luxury travels, group or excursion travels, religious pilgrimages, Visa application, and relocation for study or educational purposes.
Deciding on an area of specialization will give you a better understand of the market and place you ahead of your competitors.
Continue learning and stay up to date
The travel industry, like every other industry is constantly changing. Therefore, it is important to stay up to date about new destinations, travel trends, and regulations.
Attending travel industry events and conferences, taking courses, and participating in professional development opportunities is a sure way to stay current.
How much does it cost to become a travel agent or star a travel agency
There is no fixed price on the cost required to become a travel agent. Becoming a travel agent allows you to travel the world, enjoy adventures and the financial rewards that cones with the hard work.
Among the thing to consider when you want to become a travel agent or build your own travel agency.
Cost of Education
Although no specific education is necessary to become a travel agent, getting a degrees in tourism or hospitality can be acquired through colleges, and universities. either online or on campus. If you don’t have any qualifications, don’t let this stop you from starting your own travel agency.
The cost of education, may vary depending on the school. The average tuition fee may cost around £10,000 and will take aboutfour years. Student loans and grants will allow you to pay for your course in stages.
Cost of Training
You may consider taking a relevant training to gain more knowledge of the travel industry. There are many recognised courses and qualifications that are available on the internet.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) offers a range of travel and tourism online courses which costs around £100.
Some of the industry-recognised courses often leads to receiving professional certifications. You can find travel related courses online.
The travel industry is an highly regulated and well licensed to protect its consumers. Having a license shows that your services are legitimate and reliable. This also assures your travellers that they’ll receive the best services.
However the type of holiday you plan on selling will determine the licence you need to acquire. For example the Travel Trust Association (TTA) provides financial protection for customers, membership fees vary depending on the package you choose and three is an application fee of £150 plus VAT.
Travel agents should have an insurance to protect them and their agency in case of legal action from customers or travel companies.
Professional indemnity insurance will protects you against claims for losses or damages by clients or third parties. Compensation claims can be brought against you, even if you provided a service or offered an advice for free.
You need to set your budget to market your travel agency. This is aming the costs to consider when starting a travel agency. You can use free social media platforms but to attract a wider range if audience you will need to promote you business using paid adverts.