The Travel Factory Blog
The Business Of Travel
I get this very often, “Boy, you are so lucky to be in such an exciting business!!!” And for the most part, they are right, but......
If a poll, or one of those incessant surveys we get all the time were taken, and I'm sure there has been, I'm confident that 98% of those responding would declare they were interested in the prospect of traveling...somewhere...anywhere!!! It is an interesting, exciting prospect, whether it is to Grandma's house, to China (maybe not now considering all the circumstances), cruising, just getting away from the daily humdrum.
Because of that interest, a day does not go by that someone does not make the comment about “how nice it must be to be in such a “fun” business” Or sometime someone will say they have been “thinking” about getting into the travel business......just what does it take?
First, let me explain what a travel agent's role is, and then I'll elaborate on entry opportunities.
The travel agent profession is a service-oriented profession. We are the middleman between the travel suppliers (airlines, tour companies, cruises, hotels, car rentals) and the consumer. In other words, we serve two masters. The Teacher said that was impossible (some days I think He knew what He was talking about), but in the travel business, it's the only way. We advocate for our customer...we sell the travel product.
The profession is necessary in today's society because of the nature of the business. It has changed somewhat in the last 10 years or so, but it is still a business of constant, daily change and as a result, it is still necessary because the suppliers could not possibly afford to hire a sales force large enough to function in the “information dispensing” role.
The profession is also a frustrating one; frustrating because there is so much information we need to know and so much we are expected to know; frustrating because of the uncertainty and fluctuation of rates and as a result, we cannot always be positive about our quotes; frustrating because we have no control over a lot of the variables in travel (flight schedules, mechanical problems, baggage handling, “snotty' personnel, weather that make for a happy trip; frustrating in that the travelers plans have to change from time to time even though we've spent hours making the detailed arrangements finally work out.
There re several predictors of potential for success as a travel agent. It is vital that one be a “people person” concerned with providing a service...which means, for the most part, the customer comes first, right or wrong. An outgoing, friendly, positive personality is necessary. It is a magnetic, engaging attitude that draws clients to you; it's a job well done that keeps them coming back.
A knowledge of geography and an interest in continuing education are also important attributes, and also a realization that, for the most part, it is not a big money-making profession. Interestingly, over the years, the industry for the most part has eliminated the travel schools, so now, its a case of learning on-the-job. A lot of agents get hired because they have experience working with an airline, car rental, hotel, tour company or cruise line. If you do get the opportunity to be hired, you'll find it is a fun, exciting, self-fulfilling job....primarily because you are in the business of helping people with their needs. Call the professionals at The Travel Factory at 698-1421; better still come by for an eye-to-eye visit at 4150 Southwest Drive between Rosa's and Chick-Fil-A in south Abilene. We exist to serve!!!