How to Become a Travel Consultant
Travel agents and consultants research, plan and book trips for individuals and groups. They develop expertise in the travel industry and use that knowledge to provide a valuable service. Although the Internet provides a platform for people to book travel independently, many people still prefer to have travel agents arrange their flights, hotels, guides, transfers and activities. In order to start a travel consultant career, you will need to train, get certified and foster a love for travel. This job also requires organization, customer service and trustworthiness. This article will tell you how to become a travel consultant.
Obtain your high school diploma or equivalent. Future travel agents will benefit by learning foreign languages, geography, computer skills and communication skills. This is the only education that is strictly necessary to get a job in travel.
- Consider higher education to receive your bachelor’s degree. Some large, luxury and educational travel employers prefer that their employees have a bachelor’s degree in a liberal arts, business, foreign language or other degree. They may look at your activities and grade point average in order to determine if you are a detail oriented person with good communication skills.
Travel independently. The best way to prove you are qualified in the travel field is to develop experience in domestic and international travel. A travel agent’s biggest competition is self-planning, so be well-versed in the advantages and disadvantages of online and phone booking for your own personal travel.
Work in a related field. Experience in the hospitality industry, sales and customer service is all useful to a travel agent. Assess your experience, so that you can choose the training program that is most fitting.
Enroll in a travel training program. There are a number of pathways you can take to receive training, so look for the 1 that best fits how you would like to work in travel:
- Apply for jobs that include on the job training. Many large travel providers hire and train people to arrange their travel. You may need to show an aptitude for language and quick learning. This is the best option for someone looking to work for a company.
- Sign up for an International Air Transport Association (IATA) training program. These programs are available to people looking to start in the travel business or brush up on their skills. Most programs include an IATA certification, which is necessary in order to book any flights as a travel agent in the United States. These training programs will allow you to work with a company or work from home, if you want to start your own business.
- Attend a travel school. Physical and online travel schools create a program that is designed to teach students about all aspects of the travel industry. They may be more expensive than on the job or IATA training; however, they may be seen as a good qualification for anyone looking to start their own business or people that have little knowledge of the travel and tourism industry.
Certification may require training programs, liability insurance and examinations. You will need to pay a yearly fee to keep your certification.
Decide how you would like to work as a travel consultant. There are many niche travel markets, so you can specialize ahead of time, look for general work or create your own business model. The following are popular ways to work as a travel consultant.
- Seek a job as a travel agent/consultant for a tour company, credit card company or large corporation. Unless you have extensive experience, you will need to start at an entry level and work your way up to a job as a senior consultant. You may be assigned a department or territory to work for.
- Specialize in student, luxury, adventure, trekking, service, cruise, disabled, senior, educational or other travel. The travel industry is large, and it is fractured into niche markets. If you have a lot of personal experience with 1 type of travel, look for companies that cater directly to that market. Your expertise may allow you to start at a higher salary than an entry-level position.
- Start your own travel company. With a high-speed Internet connection, website, a fast computer, some software and a toll-free number, you can work from home until you are successful enough to start your own brick and mortar travel agency. You will need to file paperwork with your state, get insurance and possibly hire employees. You may also find employers that hire people to book travel from their own homes.