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What qualifications do you need to become a travel agent?

couple with travel agent at the travel agency

Got a passion for travel? Always dreamt of planning and booking holidays? 

Your dream career might be to become a travel agent. 

But how difficult is it? Do you need qualifications? Is it expensive to launch your own travel agency? And are there different sorts of travel agents? 

Our at-a-glance guide aims to answer all your questions!

What qualifications do you need to be a travel agent?

Ask someone “What qualifications do I need to be a travel agent?”, and you’ll likely get a lot of different answers!

That’s because no formal qualifications are necessary (you can get them on the job if you work for some companies or invest in a home-based travel franchise) or you can go to college and get in-depth knowledge of the entire travel industry. 

Travel agent qualifications that can be beneficial

If you are considering becoming a travel agent, there are three main routes you can choose from that will be beneficial to your career progression.

These include:

  1. taking a college course;
  2. doing an apprenticeship or becoming a trainee and working your way up the ladder;
  3. investing in a travel franchise, which gives you intensive training (with The Travel Franchise you can become a travel agent after just five days of online training).

One useful resource for anyone looking for jobs in the travel industry is ITT Future You, which has roadshows around the country in search of young people to bring into the profession. 

When it comes to taking a college course, your ideal option would be to do a Level 3 Diploma in Travel and Tourism. There are many colleges and universities you can consider for this purpose, including Bournemouth University, Falmouth University, Sheffield Hallam University, Manchester Metropolitan University and Leeds Beckett University, among many others. For this purpose, you’ll need four or five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A to C), or equivalent.

As for doing an apprenticeship in the travel industry, the usual requirements are five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent. The subjects that will be most beneficial to you include English and maths. 

If you opt to become a trainee travel agent where you receive on-the-job training from your employer, expect travel agent requirements to include a sound knowledge of English and maths in addition to good geographical knowledge

If you want to get up-and-running quickly as a travel agent, opt for the travel franchise. This has no travel agent requirements if you choose the right franchise.

While some franchises require you to have experience, The Travel Franchise does not. You can invest in a franchise for as little as ÂŁ2,995 +vat and train in just five days.

Necessary travel agent skills

Having the experience and educational qualifications to your name are a great advantage to starting your career as a travel agent. However, there are some travel agent skills that are a must-have for those looking to succeed in the industry. 

Travel agent requirements include being meticulous and organised. You’ll also need good computer skills and enjoy listening to clients and researching suitable holiday options. 

Other skills include excellent verbal and written communication, fluency in English with more languages considered an advantage, a neat appearance, being friendly and polite and being patient, flexible and able to work under pressure. 

Other important skills to have honed include:

  • Sales, negotiation and persuasion
  • Being an active listener
  • Attention to detail
  • A desire to help people
  • Customer service
  • Organisation, administration and planning
  • Strong numerical skills

READ MORE: How long does it take to become a travel agent?

What do travel agents do?

The beauty of being a travel agent is that no two days will ever be the same and neither will the holidays you plan and book for your clients.

A travel agent’s day may begin by advertising and marketing overseas trips such as package holiday offers.

You may also meet or talk with your customers to discover what their ideal holiday is and then suggest possible destinations that they may enjoy.

On the more technical side of things, you could be required to provide advice on passport, visa and vaccination requirements or even sell travel insurance.

Administratively, you’ll also need to check booking availability with different tour operators, hotels and airline partners and provide your clients with quotes.

Once they agree to the holiday, you’ll need to fill out booking forms with the right client information, and this is where attention to detail and computer skills come in handy.

As extra perks, you could be asked to organise car hire and additional excursions. 

Ultimately, you’ll either earn a salary or commission on the holidays and travel products you book.

Additionally, you will need to maintain communication with your clients and provide them with their booking information and travel itineraries. Of course, you’ll also have to raise and collect payments.

On the customer service front, you will need to manage queries and complaints (including refunds). You should also be able to keep customers informed about changes in their itineraries including cancelled flights or alternative tours and/or accommodation.

Meanwhile, many jobs in the travel industry may also require you to recruit and train new staff as the travel agency grows. All this while meeting your monthly sales targets and key performance indicators, which you need to keep meticulous records of through efficient filing.

And finally, as an important part of keeping abreast of new industry developments, you may need to undertake continuous professional development. Or travel abroad on fam trips (educationals).

While most travel agents work from call centres or an office that is usually situated in high streets and malls, there is now the exciting and lucrative option to become a travel agent from home.

If you’re curious to find out more, we have all the answers for you below.

Perks of being a Travel Franchise owner

As mentioned, there are also ways to become a travel agent without any qualifications while working from the comfort of your home. For instance, you could invest in a Travel Franchise as it will essentially give you a business in a box. You don’t need any prior experience to get started, you’ll be your own boss, you’ll choose your own hours but you’ll also have head office backup and support. In fact, when you become a Travel Franchise owner, you can enjoy benefits that include:

  • The ability to work from home while minimising overheads
  • No previous experience is required, you train on the job
  • All the necessary training and support is provided by travel experts
  • Access to travel agent software and negotiated travel suppliers
  • The opportunity offers high earning potential
  • You choose your own hours and get out what you put into it
  • Enjoy work/life flexibility and balance
  • Opportunities to travel and see the world

If this sounds attractive, research travel franchises. Hundreds of people without former travel experience have become a travel agent with The Travel Franchise and some are now earning a six-figure salary while others earn ÂŁ40k part time.

In conclusion

If you’re simply exploring travel agent opportunities or you’re determined to earn serious commissions, we encourage you to do your research and decide if you would like to get a college qualification, get a 9-5 job perhaps with a high street agent or invest in a franchise which gives you flexibility and the chance to grow your own business. 

Remember the answer to “what qualifications do I need to be a travel agent”, is complex, but one of the quickest routes is to invest in a franchise with a company such as The Travel Franchise, which has a proven business model and does not require you to have any former experience in the travel industry.

Are you interested in joining The Travel Franchise and exploring new opportunities? Watch our Discovery Tour to learn more.

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