The goal to become a travel agent is a shared one among many of our students – and why wouldn't it be?! Those romantic notions of planning adventures to far-off places and making people's ultimate travel dreams come true, not to mention the perks of first-hand research!
But working as a travel agent isn't all lazing on tropical beaches and checking out 5-star hotels. There's a heck of a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes, from something as simple as keeping the store tidy to being ready for action in case there's an emergency abroad.
We asked FCTG consultant and Travel Academy graduate Corey to share what a 'normal' day working as a travel agent looks like.
Before the doors open...
This is when we’re frantically doing our share of the office chores, setting up our day and finishing off those things we just didn't have the time or energy for yesterday. Everything has to be wrapped up before our morning meeting at 8.30am.
The first thing I do every morning after picking up that much needed morning coffee is reconciling the previous days’ transactions and the much hated vacuuming.
Occasionally I set up my diary if I have time on the afternoon before. Some people might think "Setting up a diary – what is there to set up?"
Where do I start?! It could be anything from reminders for bon voyage or welcome home calls to my customers, to a promised quote on flights you spoke to an eager customer about months ago before the dates were released by the airlines.
Meetings start with a celebration and recognition of yesterday’s achievements. Everyone knows that travel agents have sales targets, but the biggest wins are when our customers come home and tell us about their amazing holidays.
After setting the motivation for the day, we discuss what we can do to make this kind of customer experience happen again today. Our aim is to let customers know their holiday is as important to us as it is to them.
It’s almost impossible to put a day as a travel agent into words. Every day is different; there’s not one day can you put a structured plan on paper and say "This is what I am going to do from 9am to 5.30pm."
One day, five people might be standing at the front door waiting for us to open. Others, we might not see a customer the whole morning. One customer wants to go to Hawaii; another to Madagascar; and then the next to some incredible place that we’ve never heard of!
That’s the excitement of being a travel agent – you never know what challenges you’ll face that day, and every one of us have something new to learn. A travel agent career is pretty much as far from monotonous as you can get.
It’s lunchtime and the rush starts. Our customers only have a small amount of time on their break, yet they have big dreams to fulfil. Have you ever tried to find, book and pay for the most suitable flight in 60 minutes on your own?!
Now imagine us as travel agents trying to find the best flight to suit each person, plus plan a two-week independent itinerary through South America with accommodation, transfers and day tours, all in that 60-minute window and with two other customers waiting to do something totally different.
Sounds impossible, right? Just part of our day-to-day life working in travel.
After the lunch rush, the mad dash to book our customers’ accommodation and flights begins. Before the ticketing time limit expire, we have to book it all in, pay our suppliers and double checking everything like correct dates and names.
Most often the afternoon is filled with phone calls to suppliers and lots of quoting to finish off the day, with good intentions to walk into work the next morning ready for anything.
There’s always a rush to get to the bank before it closes and the post office before the mail is picked up for the day too.
We make the final follow up calls for the day, set up our diaries for tomorrow if we can, and on everyone's favourite day of the week (Friday), finish the day by sharing a celebratory drink with the team.
Finally the doors close, the night service voicemail gets switched on, and we get ready for our afternoon meeting before we go home. The afternoon meeting is much more relaxed than the morning meeting; we celebrate our wins and reflect on missed opportunities.
I can guarantee everyone working in tourism or travel will tell you something different about their day-to-day. No day is ever the same, no one ever knows who’s going to walk through that door, and no one truly knows how hard we work to send our customers on their dream holidays.
It’s all about the customers’ journey – not just their destination.
Does the travel agent life excite you?! Maybe you were born to work in travel! Start your career in the travel industry with us, the industry leaders! We offer a range of courses that will help you get your foot in the door and begin a life-long career.
Want to know more about our Diploma of Travel & Tourism?