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Travel Agent

Sector:
Transport/Travel Trade

Overview:

Travel agents promote and sell holidays, business travel, cruising, pilgrimages, skiing holidays, sporting events, weddings abroad, insurance, coach tours and boat and train tickets.

Travel agents promote and sell holidays, business travel, cruising, pilgrimages, skiing holidays, sporting events, weddings abroad, insurance, coach tours and boat and train tickets.

There are travel agents that have shops, like Trailfinders or Falcon Holidays and there are ones that only exist online, like Lastminute.com or Expedia.

They can find you a hotel or a flight, but mostly people go to them because they put together packages with hotel, flight, travel insurance, car hire, airport transfers, etc.

Travel agents or travel advisors need to be outgoing and have excellent customer service skills. They need to be able to listen to people and use their knowledge of locations to respond to their needs. No two days as a travel agent are the same, so it’s a good job if you’re the kind of person that gets bored easily.

One of the perks of being a travel agent is that you’re the first to hear about new holiday offers and good deals. Also, travel agents are often given free holidays so that they can give the public first hand information on the destination.  

The Workplace:

You could be working in an independent agency or in a big chain with large offices with lots of other workmates. Once you are trained in as a travel agent you will find it easy to move jobs to a specialised area that’s best suited to you.

Most travel agent employees wear a uniform if they are visible to the public. Luckily, these days the uniforms are getting nicer and more comfortable. People who are in the back office tend not to have to wear a uniform, just smart business clothes.

The Career Path:

For your first year or so of working, you will be a junior travel advisor, working with an experienced travel agent until you gain experience. You’ll find out all about passports, vaccinations, visas, travel insurance, car hire and excursions related to the types of holiday your agency deals with.

A travel advisor tries to match customers to the holiday that will best suit their needs. You’ll organise the different elements involved in a holiday booking and handle the payments. You’ll have sales targets, i.e. a set number of bookings you’re supposed to make each month. Customers can get stressed if something goes wrong on holiday, so there’s also a big advice and problem-solving element to the job.

Managers within each agency decide the sales targets and motivate the travel advisors to hit those targets, helping them to plan their work. They report to the company directors on sales and instruct travel advisors on implementing methods to increase sales. They deal with major clients and serious customer complaints; manage the day-to-day running and finances of the office.



Junior Travel Advisor
€17,500-18,000
Travel Advisor
€25,000-30,000
Travel Agent Manager
€30,000-40,000

How to Get Started:

Getting a part-time or summer job in a travel agent is a good idea because then you will have a better idea if the job is really for you. If you decide that you’d like the job, these are the types of course available:

A one-year course: Colleges of Further Education do specific courses in Travel Agency, where you learn how to use common booking systems. There are also more general courses in Tourism and Travel. See Sallgnoggin College of Further Education for information.

A three year course:  Some of the Institutes of Technology offer courses in Travel and Tourism.  See the example of IT Tralee for details.

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