Sectors in travel: Business travel

Being a business travel agent may involve booking trips for businesses or company employees, but that doesn’t mean it’s not as much fun as being a leisure travel agent.

Trips can include booking a film crew to get to their set in the Caribbean, a group of employees attending an overseas conference or large sporting event, or a trip for musicians needing transport and accommodation for a concert tour.

Business travel agents’ salaries are similar to those for leisure travel agents, but you are more likely to book flights and accommodation direct with airlines and hotels, rather than selling package holidays supplied by tour operators.

Travel management companies (TMCs) are firms that specialise in selling business travel and sell only corporate travel. Jobs on offer at TMCs can range from sales consultants to account managers, who specialise in travel for specific business clients.

TMCs can also offer roles related to negotiating direct contracts with hotels. Back-office jobs include tech support for specific software booking solutions for corporate customers.

Some large businesses will organise their travel in-house rather than use a TMC. For this, they will employ business travel agents to organise travel and accommodation solely for their employees.

There are also high street and call centre travel agencies that sell both leisure and business travel. They may have staff who work across both, while others may work just on business or leisure.

Business travel can involve more point-to-point travel.

That may involve booking elements such as train or flight tickets and hotel stays so that a business client can attend a meeting. It can also include complex multi-destination trips for staff who need to visit company offices in different areas of the world.

There is even a more specialised area of business travel called MICE, which stands for ‘meetings, incentives, conferences and events’. This involves organising travel and events for corporate clients attending conferences, trade shows and exhibitions.

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‘Give yourself the chance to learn’

is a team manager at Clarity Business Travel

“My journey in travel started in college where I completed a two-year course in travel and tourism. From there, I went on to apply for a travel consultant role with Clarity Business Travel. The thought of working within business travel excited me as it didn’t seem like your typical package holidays. The best thing about working in the sector is the people and the different variety of businesses you get to work alongside.

“I started my role as an online support agent in November 2022 and have since then been able to progress to my current position as team manager. I was also selected to train new starters.

“My career goal would be to one day move up to operations manager and progress with Clarity. I really enjoy working for the company and see myself having a long career with them.”

My advice…

“Be patient with yourself. Learning everything may seem overwhelming at first, but give yourself the chance to learn and you’ll be thriving in no time.”

‘Corporate travel is a dynamic world’

is head of operations at ATPI, a global travel management company

“I studied travel and tourism at college for three years, and part of the final grade was reaching out to TMCs to secure an interview, and I landed a job at ATPI as a junior travel consultant. I had the privilege of learning from some of the most influential and supportive people in the industry, which motivated me to pursue my career alongside my passions. I have worked in operations as a consultant, team manager and now head of operations.

“My biggest career achievement so far has been my nomination for ‘rising star’ at the Business Travel People Awards this year. I recently took a new role as chairman of the BTA generation board as voted for by my peers.”

My advice…

“The corporate travel industry is a wide and dynamic world. Find your place and you’ll be surrounded by like-minded individuals who will mentor and guide you. Don’t be afraid to explore and discover all the possibilities this industry has to offer.”