Studies & Degrees in Travel Agency
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A highly sought career for its opportunities across the globe, travel agency is a study revolving around the ability to manage international and domestic travels. A course in travel agency exposes students to the inner systems of international and domestic transportation systems while developing necessary judgment skills on products and client needs. Registration and certification requirements vary according to country and state, but all travel agents require similar basic knowledge, skills, and personal qualities to jump-start a successful travel agency career.
A fully qualified travel agent can have many different employment opportunities. They can be employed by an airline, hotel, resort, cruise line or travel agency corporation such as STA or Worldwide Travel, Inc. They can also be self-employed or work from home as an independent travel consultant. Prospects for general travel agency employment depend on security, economic and international factors, so agents are encouraged to specialize in specific travel interest areas like luxury travel or travels to particular countries.
Skills, Qualifications and Prerequisites for Studies in Travel Agency
Technically, there are many training programs for future agents that do not require any prerequisites. Many of these programs can be found online. However, online courses do not usually provide degrees – which is not typically problematic if self-employed or working for a small travel agency. However, larger travel agencies, airlines, hotels and resorts often prefer their travel agents to hold a degree in a related field, such as tourism, travel management or business.
Certain personality traits, though not required, are also beneficial to a travel agent’s success. Travel agents should have a friendly, polite and professional mannerism towards customers and the ability to give timely, informative updates. It is also essential that the agent is organized and pays close attention to details, while providing sound judgment when pairing clients to products.
Other preferred qualifications include:
- Previous work in a related field, such as reservation clerk.
- Computer literacy.
- Fluency in a second language or multiple languages.
- International or domestic travel experience.
- Cultural, political or other knowledge of foreign countries.
Qualifications and Skills Acquired from Studies in Travel Agency
Acquired knowledge may vary in depth depending on whether you study at a college level, use an online course or receive training from an agency. Generally, though, courses will cover these key topics:
- Computer systems for home hotels, airlines and cruise lines. Includes how to cancel or change status or record. Such systems include GALILEO, SABRE, WORLDSPAN and others.
- How hotels, resorts and airlines are rated, and how pricing is determined.
- Essentials for international and domestic travel, including official documentation.
- Basics on airline bookings and PNRs (Passenger Name Record).
- Ground transportation.
- Marketing trends, industry trends and sales.
To pursue a course of study in travel agency, you can take an online course, which usually last from several weeks to six months. You can also study courses at vocational schools, community colleges and universities. Some travel agencies will even self-train their lower-level employees. Travel agents are encouraged to earn travel-related degrees and obtain their CTC, or other equivalent travel consultant certification documentation.