There are some trips that most people spend all year planning one or more during their vacations. In fact, rare is the person who does not travel several times a year, whether on short weekend getaways or to enjoy their month’s vacation in an exotic country.
What does this mean when looking for work? That many of these people need the help of a professional to help them book their plane tickets, hire excursions or find a vacation package that fits their budget and special needs.
It is true that nowadays many people decide to do all this themselves using some popular pages to organize trips during the holidays. However, not everyone has the time to be in front of the screen for hours until they find a good deal, feel comfortable shopping online or have the travel knowledge to make good decisions. And this is where the role of the travel agent comes in.
What is the job of a travel agent?
A travel consultant is in charge of any aspect related to a trip anywhere in the world. And if you’re wondering where you study to work as a travel agent, the answer is simple: at the university of life.
It’s true that a university degree (such as Tourism) will always make it easier for you to find your first job, but if you don’t have travel experience, what kind of advice can you offer clients? That’s why one of the basic requirements to get a job as a travel agent is to have travel experience, and the more, the better.
The other two fundamental skills to be a travel consultant are: to have a gift for people to connect with customers and trust your suggestions; and to know how to make payments and transactions using the internet.
Among the functions of a travel agent, we can highlight the following:
- Book plane, train and bus tickets.
- Make specific travel packages according to customer needs.
- Know how to find the best deals when renting a car.
- To adapt to the age and expectations of the clients; it is not the same to organize a trip of end of course for young university students than a trip to celebrate the golden wedding of a couple.
- Feel comfortable organizing both luxury and backpacker trips.
- Know how cruises work.
- Find different ways for customers to save on their trip, such as with the Youth Card.
- Get to know different international markets and which are the best tours and excursions in the most touristic cities and/or regions of the world.
Although these are just a few of the functions of a travel consultant, remember that you will always have a great partner and ally who will give you a hand to find the information you don’t know: Internet.
Is a travel agent’s salary good?
Let’s say it all depends on how good you are at selling trips. In traditional travel agencies you can work in two ways: with a fixed monthly salary or with a base salary plus sales commissions. In the first case, the salary of a travel agent is between 900 and 1,300 euros per month depending on the experience you have and the location of the travel agency.
In the second case, a travel agent’s salary can start at the minimum interprofessional salary (900 euros for 2019) plus a percentage (to be agreed with the agency for which he works) of the sales he makes; that is to say, the more he sells, the higher his salary will be.
However, there is also another option that can significantly increase a travel agent’s salary: working as a freelance travel agent. Don’t you know what this is? Don’t worry, the next section will get you out of doubt.
What is a freelance travel agent?
A freelance travel agent is a self-employed individual who is not employed by any particular agency. This means that they don’t usually have a physical office but a virtual one and can work from home over the internet or from anywhere in the world.
One of the advantages of being a freelance travel agent is that anyone with a desire to work, travel experience and a lot of initiative, can become a travel consultant of this type. To give you an idea, in the United States and the United Kingdom it is estimated that 50% of travel agents work independently. This option is becoming more and more popular in Spain as it is an alternative to earn extra money every month or work for yourself once and for all.
If you are interested, remember that this is like learning a language: at first you will find new and complicated terms, but with time and practice you can achieve your goal. First you can start promoting your services to your friends and family to show off your skills.
From there, word of mouth will be doing its job if you really are a good travel consultant. As an initial investment you will only have to create a professional website showing success stories and correctly manage the social networks of your business. To give you an idea, these are the advantages and disadvantages of being a freelance travel agent:
- You will be able to work from home or any other place you prefer; you will only need a good internet connection.
- Little by little you will increase your client portfolio and the income will be higher.
- With time you will be making very good contacts in this sector and you will be able to travel even for free.
- No more traditional vacations, being your own boss, you will be able to decide when you want to work and what days you prefer to be on vacation.
- The initial investment is very low.
- If you’re a good salesman or you’ve always liked sales, you’ll probably make good profits.
- Little by little you will discover new markets and become familiar with them, which will make your business expand.
- If you have a good resume and know how to manage social networks, customers will come to you alone.
- You’ll have the satisfaction of really helping people who may have been waiting all year to have fun and relax for a few days.
- You’ll have to deal with all kinds of customers and some of them will be constantly sending you emails.
- If you are going to start from scratch, the start can be very complicated as you will have to compete with other freelance travel agents who have been in this sector for quite some time. However, don’t get discouraged and be persistent, they were in your situation too.
- You will not have a fixed monthly salary, but if you are a good professional, you will earn more than in any traditional travel agency.
- If you don’t want to have legal problems, you need to do things right from the start and register as a freelancer.