How to become a travel agent without experience in 8 steps
Updated 28 February 2023
Travel agents have a unique and satisfying job that combines strong sales and organisational skills with the creativity of marketing holidays across the globe. Working as a travel agent can also be flexible by accommodating remote work or self-employment. If you're considering becoming a travel agent, understanding what the job involves and the steps you can take can help you get started in a new career in this field. In this article, we share steps on how to become a travel agent without experience, including the skills and qualities that could help you succeed in this role.
How to become a travel agent without experience
You can develop your interest in the travel industry and learn how to become a travel agent without experience by building the skills and experience that can help you find your first job or client. The following eight steps can help you progress towards your goal of becoming a travel agent:
1. Develop core skills and qualities
Travel agents have a unique mix of skills that help them excel at their jobs. They create personalised experiences and itineraries for their clients and ensure that all travel arrangements progress without problems. You can use self-directed learning to build or strengthen the key skills required for this type of roles, such as sales, communication and organisation.
2. Earn relevant qualifications
Employers expect a travel agent to have completed secondary education with passes in GCSE maths and English. There are opportunities to obtain further qualifications and travel industry accreditations as your career progresses, including the following options:
degrees in tourism and hospitality
Level 3 Diploma in Travel and Tourism
3. Understand the industry's technical aspects
As an entrant to working in the travel industry, you can prepare for interviews and jobs by learning about its technical aspects, including arranging insurance, scheduling flights and transfers, dealing with cancellations or emergencies and managing itineraries for individuals and groups. Knowledge of the level of detail required for coordinating safe domestic and international travel can help new travel agents provide a better level of service for their customers. Staying informed about developments and innovations in the travel industry shows a genuine interest in this career and an inclination towards continuing professional development.
4. Complete an apprenticeship
Completing an apprenticeship with a travel agency is a good way to gain experience and qualifications early on in this career. Not only can you learn how to do the daily tasks of a travel agent, but you can also earn a wage while you work towards a qualification. Employers may even offer some apprentices a full-time role after completing their apprenticeship.
5. Undertake an internship
Another way for someone to get started in this role is to apply for an internship or work experience placement with a travel agent. This is a great opportunity to see what the role involves and build experience that you can share in a future job interview. Some internships may be for a prolonged period and offer remuneration. If you perform well, they may even offer you a job.
6. Create a CV
Create a CV focused on the travel industry to look for internships, apprenticeships or jobs as a travel agent. Even if you have no experience working as a travel agent, you can still include relevant jobs, activities or achievements that communicate your potential. The following are several examples you may consider describing from your related experience:
previous work experience in the hospitality or sales sectors
customer-facing work experience
small business experience
holidays or trips organised for family or friends
events organised on a professional or voluntary basis
travel blogs or social media content produced personally
7. Apply for an entry-level job
Finding an entry-level role is an excellent way to start this new career. Look for job opportunities requiring little to no experience with travel agencies that offer training. The following are a few ways that you can find entry-level travel agent jobs:
contacting travel agents and agencies directly
attending job fairs and speaking with hiring managers
8. Set up a travel agency franchise
If you're keen to work for yourself as a travel agent, working as part of a franchise can provide the training, structure and support to help you become successful with little or no prior experience. Independent travel agents can assist customers in coordinating their travel experiences, and the franchise provides a trusted and recognisable brand identity. Franchises generally require an upfront investment but help get your travel agency set up and running quickly.
What does a travel agent do?
Travel agents are professionals who assist clients or customers in selecting travel destinations, accommodation and experiences and make all the arrangements for their journeys. This is a client-facing role that involves consultative selling, which enables clients to make the best decisions for their travel. The daily activities and duties of a travel agent include the following:
speaking with clients or customers to understand their requirements
assisting customers in selecting a package holiday or creating a custom itinerary for independent travel
using a variety of booking platforms and software to make bookings and transactions
organising relevant travel documents
ensuring customers have the most current travel advice and information on passports, visas, insurance and vaccinations
keeping customers updated with changes in their itinerary, such as cancelled flights or alternative accommodation or tours
handling customer complaints or problems and arranging any necessary refunds
hitting targets for sales and other performance indicators
undertaking continuous professional development in key travel industry topics
Skills and abilities of a travel agent
A travel agent requires excellent professional skills to complete their role and serve their clients well. Clients rely on their travel agent to ensure that they have made all appropriate arrangements before they travel and may even require urgent help from them to deal with contingencies while they're away. The following are some of the key skills and qualities to develop to become a travel agent:
To market and sell holidays and tours to their customers, sales expertise is essential for a travel agent. Their approach is consultative, equipping clients with the necessary information to help them decide which itinerary best suits their travel requirements. Sales training is a key part of professional development in this role.
Knowledge of types of travel or destinations
Many travel agents develop an interest or expertise in certain destinations or types of holidays. They may be familiar with the tours and accommodation options available after travelling to the location themselves. They can provide personal insights and advice to enhance customer service quality by selecting the best options for them.
Strong communication skills are necessary for travel agents to accurately establish their clients' requirements and provide them with suitable travel and holiday options. They may communicate with their clients face-to-face, by phone or over the internet. Being able to clearly explain details of travel arrangements, answer queries and handle complaints help travel agents build strong customer relationships and grow their travel agencies.
Travel agents make bookings and complete transactions on behalf of their clients to ensure that all arrangements are in place for them to enjoy their trip. Travel agents prepare the tickets, paperwork and digital documentation their customers rely on for every stage of their journey. Strong administrative and organisational skills are necessary to coordinate every aspect of the trip so there are no errors.
Bookings and transactions in the modern travel industry are almost entirely digital. Travel agents use various software and online platforms to coordinate travel for their clients. They may also guide their customers in accessing digital documentation for their holidays.
Attention to detail
Attention to detail is necessary to work as a travel agent as details, such as price changes, insurance policies or foreign office travel advice, can majorly impact a customer's journey. Travel agents often use checklists to cover all aspects of an itinerary and its contingencies so that their clients can travel confidently. A detail-oriented approach also equips a travel agent with any answers or supplementary information required by the client during their journey.
A passion for travel, unique destinations and new experiences attracts many people to become travel agents, as they can create unforgettable experiences for their clients. Great travel agents engage with their customers' imaginations and sell what is enjoyable about a travel experience. They become adept at obtaining exclusive upgrades and supplements to exceed their customer's expectations.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
Explore more articles
- What does an IT assistant do? (With duties, skills, salary)
- How to become a silversmith (a step-by-step guide)
- 10 careers for electrical engineers (with salaries)
- 8 alternative careers for social workers to consider
- 10 best-paid apprenticeships and job opportunities resulting from apprenticeships
- How to become a butler (with definition and skills)
- How To Become a Child Psychologist (Plus Specialisations)
- How To Become a Motorcycle Mechanic
- 6 quantity surveyor qualifications (including skills)
- How to become a clinical psychologist (Plus approaches)
- A guide to hospital administrator jobs (With salaries)
- How To Become an Instructional Designer (with FAQs)