Sectors in travel: Selling travel

If you like talking about travel and get a buzz at the thought of making people happy, being a travel agent could be the perfect job for you.

This career is about selling dreams. You will be the person who guides customers through their holiday choices; ensures their accommodation, flights, transfers and excursions are booked; and then hears all about their trip when they return.

It’s not only a rewarding role, it’s also a job that has become increasingly important since the Covid pandemic. Growing numbers of holidaymakers are turning to travel professionals for advice, reassurance and suggestions to make sure their money is well spent, whether it’s on a family break, honeymoon or getaway with friends.

To meet rising demand, more agencies are opening across the country and are on the lookout for confident, fun and reliable employees to join their teams.

Employers want staff with personality, a flare for sales, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. You don’t need to be well travelled – but being interested in travel is a must.

The roles are varied and there are plenty of opportunities for career progression. Sales agent and reservation jobs are available at call centres and with online and homeworking firms, as well as with tour operators, from family-run businesses to well-known brands.

Being a travel agent involves selling, research and booking administration. The role can be customer‑facing, telesales or home-based, with bookings made in person, on the phone and over email.

Some companies specialise in areas such as cruise, ski or luxury, while others focus on business travel, where they book flights and hotels for corporate customers.

Ongoing training is offered – from e-learning to in-person presentations – to ensure you have the product knowledge to do the job.

And the best bit? You can get to see the world too. Travel firms want their staff to be as knowledgeable and productive as possible, so they send them on fam (familiarisation) trips to get to know destinations and become true experts.

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‘Build relationships and champion inclusivity’

is chief travel designer at Global Travel Moments, part of the Global Travel Collection

“I’m originally from Cape Town in South Africa. I have a background in hospitality, and it was when I was working in this industry that I discovered my love for sales and marketing. My foray into the travel industry began in Ireland, where I joined Jurys Doyle Hotels. This experience opened doors to opportunities in luxury travel and tourism. I have worked at the Corinthia Hotel London, Jumeirah and the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.

“I believe in equal opportunities for all travellers, irrespective of their sexuality or gender expression. I love the freedom offered in my new role; to work how I want, where I want. I can travel and explore the world while working with unique and interesting people, in turn helping them to travel the world.”

My advice…

“Embrace your passions, build strong relationships and champion inclusivity. There are endless possibilities in travel for those who dare to dream and work diligently towards your goals.”

‘Travel is one of the most rewarding careers’

is chief executive of The Advantage Travel Partnership, which represents travel agents and travel management companies

“My career in travel began after I studied travel and tourism at the College for Distributive Trades in London.

“When I was growing up, we couldn’t afford to take holidays until my parents’ business took off when I was a teenager. As soon as I began to travel though, it quickly became my passion.

“While working in my first retail travel job, I took on as much training as I could.

“Since starting at Advantage in 1995, I’ve worked my way up through the company, and I’m now proud to be leading the business.

“Through my parents, I learnt that passion and dedication is required to achieve success. I see these qualities every day with the travel agents we work with at Advantage.”

My advice…

“For those looking to take their first steps in the industry, I recommend building your network and making the most of every opportunity. Travel is not for the faint-hearted, but I believe that it is one of the best and most rewarding careers you can have.”