A lot of people are attracted to the job of Travel Consultant because of the great travel benefits. When traveling for personal reason, agents usually get reduced rates for transportation and accommodations. Also the agent may get to take trips to a new location to check it out for free or at little cost. So just what entails a job as a travel consultant?
A travel consultant is very similar to a travel agent. You’re the first person the customer talks to and you’re responsible for the travel arrangements during and after the customer’s trip. You coordinate all important elements pertaining to their travel. You are expected to advise travelers about their destinations, the local customs, attractions and weather conditions. If traveling internationally, you are to provide information on customs regulations, what required documents are needed, and the rate of currency exchange. You need to be well organized, accurate and detail oriented to handle all the information needed to plan and organize travel itineraries Excellent communication skills, a patient and long suffering personality that deals well with complaints is a must. Agents sometimes have to deal with a great deal of pressure during travel emergencies or when they have to reschedule a missed reservation. Peak vacation times, such as holidays and summer, are extremely busy. The work week can stretch out to over 40 hours during these hectic times.
A lot of time is spent behind a desk talking to clients, finishing paperwork, contacting airlines and hotels making travel arrangements and promotion tours. A good deal of time is spent on the phone or computer doing research on itineraries, updating reservations and travel documents. If you’re working for a tour operator, you could be asked to make presentations. These are often presented to social and special interest groups or company sponsored trips for business managers.
So how do you become a travel consultant? What education is necessary? Most agencies prefer applicants who have received training to become a travel consultant. Vocational schools, public adult education programs, and community colleges are some places that offer these courses. The program teaches about geography, sales, marketing, and travel industry forms and ticket reservation procedures. Some colleges offer a bachelor’s or master’s degree in travel and tourism that can be extremely helpful in getting your dream job. If you’re fluent in another language, many international companies require interpreters and consultants who are familiar with the customs and language of that country. This suggests an existing interest in travel and culture which could help you develop a rapport with clients and get your application a second look.
After you are employed, continue to stay on top of the game by going to periodic workshops and classes in tourism and travel. The travel industry is constantly changing and you need to keep up to be successful. Continue to travel and use the travel to enhance your area of specialty and practice your skills. Take advantage to network with anyone you meet in the tourism business. Befriend them and strike a deal whenever possible. If you don’t meet people, you’ll never be able to get your customers competitive rates. Your job is to make sure that each and every customer that you have has the best experience possible.
So if you love working with people, accept and welcome challenges, then this just might be the dream job for you!
By Linda Lee Ruzicka
Linda Lee Ruzicka lives in the mountains of Western PA , happily married and with her 8 cats and three dogs. She has been published in Twilight Times, Dark Krypt, Fables, Writing Village, June Cotner anthology, The Grit, Reminisce , the book, Haunted Encounters: Friends and Family. She also does freelance work for Beyond and Hospitalityjobsite. You can read more of her blogs on Hospitalityjobsiteblog.