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Become A Travel Specialist

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Working As A Travel Specialist

  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • $49,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Travel Specialist Do

Travel agents sell transportation, lodging, and admission to entertainment activities to individuals and groups planning trips. They offer advice on destinations, plan trip itineraries, and make travel arrangements for clients. 

Duties

Travel agents typically do the following:

  • Arrange travel for business and vacation customers
  • Determine customers’ needs and preferences, such as schedules and costs
  • Plan and arrange tour packages, excursions, and day trips
  • Find fare and schedule information
  • Calculate total travel costs
  • Book reservations for travel, hotels, rental cars, and special events, such as tours and excursions
  • Describe trips to clients and give details on required documents, such as passports and visas
  • Give advice about local weather conditions, customs, and attractions
  • Make alternative booking arrangements if changes arise before or during the trip

Travel agents sort through vast amounts of information to find the best possible trip arrangements for travelers. In addition, resorts and specialty groups use travel agents to promote vacation packages to their clients.

Travel agents also may visit destinations to get firsthand experience so that they can make recommendations to clients or colleagues. They may visit hotels, resorts, and restaurants to evaluate the comfort, cleanliness, and quality of the establishment. However, most of their time is spent talking with clients, promoting tours, and contacting airlines and hotels to make travel accommodations. Travel agents use a reservation system called a Global Distribution System (GDS) to access travel information and make reservations with travel suppliers such as airlines or hotels.

The following are examples of types of travel agents:

Leisure travel agents sell vacation packages to the general public. They are responsible for arranging trip itineraries based on clients’ interests and budget. Leisure travel agents increasingly are focusing on a specific type of travel, such as adventure tours. Some may cater to a specific group of people, such as senior citizens or single people.

Corporate travel agents primarily make travel arrangements for businesses. They book travel accommodations for an organization’s employees who are traveling to conduct business or attend conferences.

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How To Become A Travel Specialist

A high school diploma typically is required for someone to become a travel agent. However, many employers prefer additional formal training. Good communication and computer skills are essential.

Education

Employers may prefer candidates who have taken classes related to the travel industry. Many community colleges, vocational schools, and industry associations offer technical training or continuing education classes in professional travel planning. Classes usually focus on reservations systems, marketing, and regulations regarding international travel. In addition, a few colleges offer degrees in travel and tourism.

Training

Employers in the travel industry always give some on-the-job training on the computer systems that are used in the industry. For example, a travel agent could be trained to work with a reservation system used by several airlines.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

A good way to demonstrate competence for high school graduates with limited experience is to take the Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) test. The test has no eligibility requirements and is administered by The Travel Institute.

The Travel Institute also provides training and professional certification opportunities for experienced travel agents. Different levels of certification are offered, depending on a travel agent’s experience. Travel agents with limited experience can become a Certified Travel Associate (CTA) after completing a series of classes and exams. For those with at least 5 years of experience, the more highly advanced Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) certification can be achieved. Both the CTA and CTC require continuing education each year to maintain certification.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) offers the Travel and Tourism Professional (TTP) designation, which requires varying degrees of experience depending on the achieved education level. The designation remains valid for 2 years and requires continuing education credits. 

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) offers three levels of certification: Accredited (ACC), Master (MCC), and Elite Cruise Counselor (ECC). Each level requires a certain amount of training and product knowledge.

Some states require agents to have a business license to sell travel services. Requirements among states vary greatly. Contact individual state licensing agencies for more information.

Other Experience

Some agencies prefer travel agents with firsthand experience visiting a country. These agencies especially prefer travel agents who specialize in specific destinations or particular types of travelers, such as groups with a special interest or corporate travelers.

Important Qualities

Adventurousness. Travel agencies that specialize in exotic destinations or particular types of travel, such as adventure travel or ecotourism, may prefer to hire travel agents who share these interests.

Communication skills. Travel agents must listen to customers, understand their travel needs, and offer appropriate travel advice and information.

Customer-service skills. When customers need to make last-minute changes in their travel arrangements, travel agents must be able to respond to questions and complaints in a friendly and professional manner.

Detail oriented. Travel agents must pay attention to details in order to ensure that the reservations they make match travelers’ needs. They must make reservations at the correct dates, times, and locations to meet travelers’ schedules. 

Organizational skills. Travel agents often work on itineraries for many customers at once. Keeping client information in order and ensuring that bills and receipts are processed in a timely manner is essential.

Sales skills. Travel agents must be able to persuade clients to buy transportation, lodging, or tours. Sometimes they might need to persuade tour operators, airline staff, or others to take care of their clients’ special needs. Earnings for many travel agents depend on commissions and service fees.

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Travel Specialist Career Paths

Travel Specialist
Travel Consultant Consultant Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Travel Consultant Consultant Project Manager
General Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Travel Consultant Consultant General Manager
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Specialist Team Leader Office Manager
Accounting Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Specialist Team Leader Account Manager
Sales Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Specialist Team Leader Assistant Manager
Center Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Travel Coordinator Executive Assistant Office Manager
Business Office Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Travel Coordinator Executive Assistant Manager
Assistant Vice President
7 Yearsyrs
Travel Coordinator Executive Assistant General Manager
Managing Director
11 Yearsyrs
Corporate Travel Agent Office Manager
Administrative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Corporate Travel Agent Manager Account Manager
Client Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Corporate Travel Agent Supervisor Account Manager
Relationship Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Supervisor Assistant General Manager
Hotel Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Supervisor Restaurant Manager
Catering Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Account Executive General Manager Business Manager
Business To Business Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Agent Coordinator Human Resources Generalist
Office Manager Of Human Resources
6 Yearsyrs
Agent Underwriter Team Manager
Group Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Agent Administrator Administrative Manager
Administrative Operations Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Corporate Travel Counselor Senior Travel Consultant
Travel Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Corporate Travel Counselor
Senior Travel Consultant
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Travel Specialist?

Average Yearly Salary
$49,000
Show Salaries
$38,000
Min 10%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Quintiles Transnational
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
2.7 years
How much does a Travel Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Travel Specialist in the United States is $49,063 per year or $24 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $38,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $63,000.

Real Travel Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Lifestyle Travel Specialist Quintessentially Travel USA Inc. New York, NY Jun 25, 2015 $49,899
Travel Specialist H.I.S. International Tours (Ny) Inc. Seattle, WA Oct 01, 2011 $49,504
Travel Specialist H.I.S. International Tours (Ny) Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 01, 2009 $47,688
Travel Specialist H.I.S. International Tours (Ny) Inc. Boston, MA Oct 04, 2010 $44,803
Travel Specialist H.I.S. International Tours (Ny) Inc. New York, NY Jan 11, 2012 $44,616
Travel Specialist World Joint Corporation Washington, DC Oct 03, 2013 $42,411
Travel Specialist World Joint Corporation Washington, DC Oct 03, 2012 $42,411
Travel Specialist World Joint Corporation Boston, MA Sep 21, 2012 $41,184
Travel Specialist World Joint Corporation Boston, MA Sep 24, 2011 $40,227
Travel Specialist H.I.S. International Tours (Ny) Inc. Boston, MA Sep 21, 2011 $40,227
Travel Specialist VIP Tour Corporation Urban Honolulu, HI Jan 24, 2011 $38,902
Travel Specialist VIP Tour Corporation Urban Honolulu, HI Sep 15, 2011 $38,902
Travel Specialist World Joint Corporation Torrance, CA Sep 21, 2010 $38,875
Travel Specialist World Joint Corporation Gardena, CA Aug 01, 2011 $38,064
Travel Specialist World Joint Corporation Costa Mesa, CA Sep 21, 2011 $37,669
Travel Specialist/Gulf Region Constravel/DBA Ms Travel Burbank, CA May 25, 2016 $36,275
Travel Specialist H.I.S. International Tours (Ny) Inc. Miami, FL Sep 21, 2012 $35,194
Luxury Travel Specialist (History) Ovation Travel Group Inc. New York, NY Sep 04, 2015 $35,000
Travel Specialist World Joint Corporation Torrance, CA Oct 20, 2012 $34,070
Travel Specialist H.I.S. International Tours (Ny) Inc. Los Angeles, CA Sep 21, 2012 $34,070
Travel Specialist H.I.S. International Tours (Ny) Inc. Los Angeles, CA Sep 21, 2011 $33,500

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Top Skills for A Travel Specialist

  1. Customer Service
  2. Credit Card Transactions
  3. Travel Arrangements
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Served as preliminary point person in resolving customer service issues before problem was officially designated to the Customer Service department.
  • Reconciled over $1 million in credit card transactions and expense reports annually.
  • Coordinated domestic and international travel arrangements for senior executives and other in-house personnel utilizing Apollo System.
  • Keep accurate tracking of partial and complete refunded airline tickets to ensure credit is applied to government centrally billed account.
  • Communicated complex company travel policies, international faring principles and booked car and hotel reservations worldwide.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Travel Specialists

  1. Delaware
  2. Alaska
  3. Ohio
  4. West Virginia
  5. Rhode Island
  6. Nevada
  7. New Jersey
  8. Illinois
  9. Massachusetts
  10. District of Columbia
  • (35 jobs)
  • (21 jobs)
  • (456 jobs)
  • (44 jobs)
  • (28 jobs)
  • (54 jobs)
  • (257 jobs)
  • (357 jobs)
  • (289 jobs)
  • (80 jobs)

Travel Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

65.3%

Male

22.5%

Unknown

12.2%
Ethnicity

White

60.2%

Hispanic or Latino

16.7%

Black or African American

12.2%

Asian

6.9%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

45.5%

French

15.9%

German

9.1%

Italian

5.7%

Mandarin

2.3%

Cantonese

2.3%

Serbian

2.3%

Croatian

2.3%

Portuguese

2.3%

Swahili

1.1%

Vietnamese

1.1%

Romanian

1.1%

Hindi

1.1%

Dutch

1.1%

Korean

1.1%

Bulgarian

1.1%

Hungarian

1.1%

Russian

1.1%

Tagalog

1.1%

Japanese

1.1%
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Travel Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

18.5%

Johnson & Wales University

6.2%

University of Central Florida

6.2%

Miami Dade College

5.5%

Strayer University

5.5%

Broward College

4.8%

American University

4.8%

The Academy

4.1%

Virginia Commonwealth University

4.1%

West Virginia University

4.1%

Florida International University

4.1%

University of Arizona

4.1%

Northern Virginia Community College

4.1%

National University

3.4%

International Air and Hospitality Academy

3.4%

Ashford University

3.4%

University of Maryland - University College

3.4%

University of Florida

3.4%

Liberty University

3.4%

Grand Canyon University

3.4%
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Majors

Business

29.5%

Hospitality Management

11.2%

Health Care Administration

5.7%

Psychology

5.6%

Communication

5.3%

Accounting

5.2%

Management

4.9%

Marketing

4.4%

General Studies

3.3%

Nursing

3.3%

Human Resources Management

2.9%

Education

2.3%

Liberal Arts

2.2%

English

2.2%

Political Science

2.2%

Finance

2.2%

Criminal Justice

2.0%

Elementary Education

1.9%

Public Relations

1.9%

Information Technology

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

39.9%

Other

26.4%

Associate

12.4%

Masters

9.9%

Certificate

7.1%

Diploma

3.3%

License

0.5%

Doctorate

0.5%
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