The travel industry is becoming more and more competitive as agents pursue additional education and increase their qualifications. If you want to maintain your positions and reputation in the field, you’ll need to think about new certification or specialization in a particular sub-niche.
The Travel Agent Education Requirements
There are no particular state or national requirements for a certain academic degree obtained by individuals willing to work as a travel agent. It all depends on the travel agency or tour operator.
Many of the leading companies in the industry require their employees to attain a certain certificate or to have a bachelor’s degree in either business administration or a liberal arts major. There could also be different requirements for travel agents, depending on their responsibilities and seniority level.
Specialized courses are one of the best and simplest possibilities for boosting your competitiveness in the field. These give travel agents practical skills and such programs can be completed over a relatively short period of time.
Training, Licenses and Certification
Things in the travel industry change at a rapid pace. This is why many employers want their agents to continue taking courses and participating in certification programs. There are numerous such opportunities available and a basic online research will reveal the sheer volume of programs.
Many of the best travel agencies give their workers access to on-the-job training opportunities. This is one of the most cost-efficient possibilities for advancing your skills. In order to benefit from on-the-job training, however, you will need to get hired by a reputable employer.
Many of these training teach agents skills like working with new booking systems, working with customer relationship management (CRM) software or doing effective marketing and presentations.
In addition, there are certification and licensing opportunities provided by different tourism organizations and state agencies. The Travel Institute, for example, is one entity that gives agents access to certification opportunities. Undergoing the institute’s program will enable professionals to become certified travel associates (CTAs), which results in better customer service and communication skills.
Professionals that pursue additional certification through the Travel Institute may also opt for the certified travel counselor and certified travel industry executive programs. These will obviously give access to better paid, senior employment opportunities.
Online Courses and Schools
Travel agent courses and additional education opportunities are also available online. Busy professionals that already have a full-time career may prefer to benefit from such options because of their time-saving benefits.
Courses provided by many schools and academic institutions last anywhere between six and eight weeks. The practical skills gained during these courses include destination planning, travel marketing, cruise planning, career development and even starting a home-based travel agency.
The reputation of the school or college providing online travel agent education opportunities is obviously the factor that will determine the quality of the course. Doing preliminary research and comparing the different curricula is certainly essential. The price of the course is important but it’s far from the most determining factor.
Such courses should cover some mandatory topics. The basics include regulatory agencies, international air travel regulations, types of transportation businesses, vacation packages and group travel. If any of these components are missing from the curriculum, you should probably continue searching for another option.
Going through online reviews is another great possibility for figuring out whether a particular online program provides all of the essentials and the necessary skills for career success. Go through multiple reviews to discover patterns and similar opinions. If necessary, you may also call the educational institution to have all of your questions answered.
Additional Skills and Requirements
Successful travel agents need to have an array of additional skills. Apart from focusing on industry courses, you may want to enroll in other kinds of training.
Improving your presentation and communication skills, for example, will be vitally important for lead generation and establishing long-term relationships with your customers. The same applies to tourism marketing. Digital technologies are making new advertising opportunities available all the time. If you aren’t making use of these new possibilities, you are missing on a huge chance for reputation establishment.
As a travel agent, you should also be familiar with the newest industry software. Computer skills can be learned in numerous ways (both traditional classes and online courses). It’s a good idea to invest in such professional trainings.
The travel industry evolves, just like all other fields. You can’t rely on the education you got 10 years ago to maintain your competitiveness. Education and certification options come in flexible and convenient forms. All that you have to do is go online, research and pick the most adequate possibility.