Travel and Tourism Career Opportunities
The travel and tourism industry is dynamic, exciting, and constantly changing. Careers are available in air travel, car rentals, hospitality, rail travel, cruises, tourism, and as travel retailers. Travel retailers include travel agents/advisors or home-based/independent travel agents. The travel and tourism industry offers satisfying, profitable careers. Seeking and obtaining training provides a wonderful stepping stone into the thrilling field of travel and tourism.
People travel for many reasons. Working in travel and tourism gives the opportunity to fulfill the dreams and needs of many people. There is a thrill to visiting a new location, experiencing a new culture, and creating memories to last a lifetime. Those working in the travel and tourism industry have the opportunity to experience these same things! Before Covid-19 travel and tourism was one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. In 2020 most travel was essentially shut down. The events of September 11, 2001, had a similar effect on the travel and tourism industry. Dealing with crises is not uncommon for companies in the tourism industry since almost every tourism company is faced with extraordinary events over time. (Dreyer, Dreyer, & Obieglo, 2010). After 9/11 the industry rebounded. As vaccination rates increase and after the surge of Delta variant infections begin to decrease it won't be long until travel and tourism once again rebounds. This rebound will lead to an increase in career opportunities.
Career opportunities abound. Air travel opportunities are available with airlines. These positions range from making reservations, to working as an aircraft mechanic. Positions are also available within airports at gift shops, with TSA, and as customer assistance personnel. Car rental companies have locations at airports and their services quite often tie in directly to air travel as passengers will many times rent a car at the airport after arriving on a flight. Hotel properties also have airport locations and offer a wide variety of careers.
In addition to the many jobs provided by car rental companies and hotels, positions are available with passenger rail companies. The cruise industry (once it starts operating again after Covid-19) also offers opportunities to work as reservationists, food service, fitness trainers, hairstylists, marketing, and sales representatives. Tourism fills recreational travel needs and includes tour guides, tour operators, tour managers, visitor's bureau staff, and tourist boards. For many that are interested in a travel and tourism career the position that comes to mind is that of a travel agent or travel advisor.
Travel agents fall under travel retailers. They arrange travel. They can work for specific companies and arrange travel for employees of that company. Many people feel that they can book their own travel online. Internet booking companies have made this much easier. However, with travel recommendations changing frequently due to Covid-19, using a travel advisor can be a great advantage. The New York Times in April of 2021, published an article explaining what to look for when choosing a travel agent. Picking a Travel Agent? 4 Things to Know - The New York Times (nytimes.com). Home-based agents have grown in popularity and can offer all services any traveler could need. This career offers many exciting opportunities for anyone wanting a career arranging travel. For more about home-based travel agents, or independent travel advisors continue reading!
The following is an article written by Jennifer Dugan in 2004. Her answer to "What is a home based travel agent?" is as relevant today as it was when it was written.
What is a home based travel agent?
Answer By Jennifer Dugan
Certified Travel Associate and Owner of Dugan's Travel
A travel agent books travel for customers and is paid by suppliers a commission on the booking. For bookings that suppliers do not pay a commission on, a travel agent also can charge the client a service fee for his/her time. An example is if you were to book a hotel for a client, the hotel would then send a check to the agency after the client checked out. Most hotels pay 10% of the price of the hotel before taxes and fees. A $100 per night hotel reservation would mean $10 a night for the travel agent who made the booking. This hotel would cost the same whether the customer uses a travel agent or books through the hotel directly. In many cases the travel agent can get a better price. It costs the customer nothing to use the travel agent unless the travel agent charges service fees.
Can anyone do this? In order to work with suppliers, you must have an account set up with the supplier. Most require an agency to hold an IATAN, CLIA or ARC number. IATAN stands for International Airlines Travel Agent Network. CLIA stands for Cruise Lines International Association. ARC stands for Airline Reporting Corporation. Each of these memberships requires different things including sales, money in the bank, experience or training in the industry, and membership fees. Many will require Errors and Omissions insurance of $1,000,000 or more.
You can earn commission on many travel reservations.
- Rental Cars
- Tour Packages
- Some airline tickets
- Travel insurance
- Ground transportation including limos
- Attraction tickets
- Train tickets
People all need travel arrangements at some point in time. Those who take road trips need hotel reservations. Those who need to travel for business need airline tickets, rental cars, and hotel reservations. Families want to experience vacations with their loved ones. People visit family and relatives. Most people who win money say they are going to spend it to take a nice vacation. Newly married couples go on honeymoons. You are not selling something that is hard to sell. People contact you for help, you are not calling them or approaching them trying to sell them something they don't want.
Educating the public is the main thing any travel agent must do. Most people put travel agents into the same category as real estate agents. They believe it costs additional to use a travel agent. This is untrue. In many cases a travel agent can get a better price than the general public through the suppliers who work only with travel agents. Many people do not know all the options for booking a vacation. A good travel agent does. Once people are educated on how a travel agent gets paid, they are more willing to work with travel agents. If a person knows that if he or she let you book a hotel and it will cost the same price regardless, she or he will work with you. It is important to let people know how you can help them save time and money on their travel arrangements.
How can you find an agency to work with? There are a few organizations dedicated to independent travel agents...You can also search online for home-based travel agent programs. I would never recommend anyone spending a lot of money to start this business. It is key to first try and see if it is something you would really want to do and get training before you invest too much money into it. Get involved in the industry first and see if it is really a career that is best for you.
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