It’s more than just basic geography. A travel agent needs to be a multi-tasking master of organization and problem-solving.
To be a travel agent, you need a great deal of knowledge about geography. After all, it’s important to know if you are supposed to send your client to Uruguay or to Paraguay. To be a successful travel agent, you also need to have other skills as well:
Travel agents handle multiple clients at the same time. You need to be extremely well organized so that you do not send the family of four to an adults-only island, while you sent the newlyweds to Sesame Place. Keeping copious notes that are organized into folders — whether on your desk or on your desktop — so you can readily find your clients’ information is a must.
Good Telephone Manners
Travel agents talk to people all day, so if listening to someone else gripe about their job, get anxious about their trip, or ask a million questions isn’t for you, then perhaps a different role in the travel industry might suit you better. Travel agents need great communication and listening skills, whether on the phone, in-person or by any written communication.
Occasionally you may have to talk your client away from one trip into another that you believe is more suitable for their tastes and budget. To do that you need the skill of persuasion.
Travel agents have access to special deals, and clients are going to want to know what their final costs of the trip are. Agents should have the ability to do basic math to determine fares and timetables.
It is essential that travel agents come to the job with good computer skills. You will be working on computers, ticketing systems and reservations systems all day long. You may also have social media networks that need updating, websites that need attention, and databases you may have to update.
It’s important to listen to what your client’s needs are and what questions they are asking, so you can be sure to get them the right information. Travel agents do not interrupt their clients, otherwise you may send them to Oakland if they really meant Auckland.
Your client is stranded in Bora Bora because their ride to the airport didn’t show. Another client lost his passport. A first-time traveler client fell for a scam and lost all of her money and identification. Travel agents not only plan their clients’ trips, but they are there for them during the duration. If something comes up that needs fixing, travel agents need to have strong problem-solving skills to help your client stay safe and get to their next destination.
Willing to Compromise
When you’re negotiating deals for your client, you need to be both steadfast to get your client what they want and willing to compromise as well.
Most importantly, you can learn and improve upon any one or all of these skills at any time. There are business courses you can take, self-improvement podcasts you can listen to and books you can read that will help you to improve on any one of these skills.