“At its core, you get the privilege of making people’s travel dreams come true and you can have a tremendous impact.”
Life as a travel agent can be a fun and rewarding career. At its core, you get the privilege of making people’s travel dreams come true and you can have a tremendous impact. Moreover, there are many exciting and fun adventures when planning dream vacations for customers.
Of course there’s much more to being a travel agent than just planning other people’s vacations, and it can be difficult to fully understand the scope and impact of the services travel agents provide. This article digs below the glamorous surface to answer questions like what do travel agents do every day, what challenges do they face in today’s online world, what type of travel does an agent sell or specialize in and can you really make career out of planning vacations for others? To answer that last question, yes!
Keep on reading if interested in learning more about if this path is right for you.
Travel Agents Tasks
On the surface, they plan people’s vacations. But what does that mean? As summarized by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics travel agents have to diagnose the customers needs and preferences, sort through heaps of information to find the best options for their clients, determine a budget and work within it, and manage all the bookings for a clients travel (hotels/resorts, rental cars, airfare, etc…).
As the expert on the destination, many agents visit hotels, resorts and restaurants to get a firsthand experience before they send their clients there. As fun as this sounds, it’s real work. You are educating yourself so you can better serve your customers and understand what destinations will accomplish their travel goals best.
Travel agents must be prepared and knowledgeable about information like the required documents their clients will need when traveling to different places. Different countries have different visa and passport requirements and staying update to date on changes is essential.
And when things don’t go as planned, you are there to help make new plans. This is bound to happen at some point so expect to spend time contacting airlines and hotels/resorts to cancel and re-book travel reservations.
Your work environment can depend on the type of travel you sell, if you are part of a host agency, the owner of an agency, an employee or an independent travel agent. There are many different variables and environments you can work in. You could find yourself in an office setting with other colleagues or you might be working remote from the comfort of your own home. You definitely spend most of your time on a computer or on the phone, and you will work with not only customers but suppliers and different providers as well. You might meet face-to-face with clients, but it’s not uncommon to never actually see your clients.
Types of Travel Niches
Specializing in a unique travel experience or niche has no limits in today’s world! If there is a type of travel that you love and it gets you really excited, this is a great indicator of your niche! There are so many different travel niches and areas to specialize in. To give you inspiration here are 10 types of travel and tourism that you might find helpful and inspiring!
- Ancestry Trips
- Adventure Tourism
- Agri Tourism
- Astro Tourism
- Babymoon travel
- Bucket List Trips
- Culinary or Foodie Trips
- Ghost Tourism or Haunted Tourism
- Religious Trips or Pilgrimages
- Wellness Trips
Money & Income
As in any career, there will always be the question about how much money can you make. Of course this matters and it’s important to know.
The earning potential as a travel agent varies widely and depends on many different factors like the type of agency, your job position, experience level, niche or specialty and if you are an employee or independent.
According to the *U.S. Bureaua of Labor Statistics* the estimated median annual wage is $40,660. This number is really conclusive as an average for ALL travel agents recognizing that many make below this and many make much more.
Furthermore, according to Host Agency Reviews – which breaks down earnings by agent type – “10% of hosted agents earned $100,000+ in 2018!”
The earning potential can be six figures! As with anything though, good things take time so don’t expect six figures right off the bat. According to Gifted Travel Network it takes about 3 years build up a decent travel business.
Start Your Journey
If you think this path as a travel professional is right for you, be patient as you get started on this journey. Figure out what type of agent you want to be and what your niche is, and invest in the right experiences and tools to make you successful. If you work hard and have a plan, that hard work will pay off in the long run as you build your travel business!