Travel agents assist clients by providing valuable information on affordable travel arrangements. They also offer advice on touring destinations and can arrange transportation, hotel accommodation, tours, restaurants, car rentals and so much more.
Clients expect travel agents to be very accustomed to the weather conditions, events, customs and attractions of popular destinations.
Travel Agent Training Courses
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most efficient training for travel agent professionals includes specialized information that will appeal to a certain type of traveler and comprehensive knowledge about specific destinations. A well rounded training covers:
- Cruise ships
- Tour options
This variety enables travel agents to remain flexible and serve a diverse set of clients.
Most travel agent jobs don’t require more than a high school diploma. However today, more and more travel companies are requiring a college degree in addition to an individual’s travel and business experience.
Some of the four-year college degrees that could be helpful to aspiring travel agents include studies in the field of marketing, business, communications, and computers.
A bachelor’s or master’s degree in tourism, travel and hospitality will provide an edge for those wanting positions in the industry. Many travel companies also put importance on an individual’s ability to speak several foreign languages.
Community colleges and accredited online institutions provide travel agent training courses that can help mold professionals to work as home based travel professionals or for bigger companies. There are courses that focus on teaching the basics of cruise lines, destination geographies, navigating airlines, putting tours together, car rental and hotel reservation systems.
Computer Literacy Training
Sabre, Apollo, and WorldSpan training are crucial to any travel agent’s success. These are computer reservation systems that are used by all major cruise lines, carriers and hotels all over the globe.
Home study online travel agent training courses are also available, with computer training as the most popular course offered.
Educational institutions such as Hospitality Academy and International Air offer campus based educational training for students who prefer classroom instruction.
Specialized Travel Agent Training
There are two basic types of travel agents: leisure and business.
Corporate travel agents work for one big company or work for many small business travelers. These professionals arrange car rentals, flights and lodgings for business trips.
On the other hand, leisure travel agents are those who work for families, groups and individuals who are searching for vacation packages. Leisure and corporate travel agents can train through online organizations like the Travel Institute or Travel Academy.
Travel Agent Designations
Designations offered by the National Business Travel Association can assist travel agents to be more effective in their job. Professionals can enroll for programs and complete examinations to earn certifications such as:
- Certified Corporate Travel Executive
- Global Leadership Professional
- Corporate Travel Expert
Travel Institute offers courses that can lead to a Certified Travel Counselor professional designation. BLS recommends courses in sales & marketing for efficient travel agent skills that will include knowledge of the Caribbean, Western Europe, North America and the Pacific Rim.