When I tell people I’m a travel agent, their usual response is “Wow, how’d you get that job?” A very close second is “How do I become a travel agent?” Let me tell you, a travel agent is not nearly as glamorous as you may think: we spend countless hours arguing and haggling with airlines, hotels and other travel agencies in order to get the best rates for our clients, some who are double checking every quote on the internet. There’s also a common misconception that travel agents must travel a whole lot; let me tell you, we’re just like any other office job, and office jobs don’t give that much time off.
You may ask, so what’s different about travel? For starters, there’s no inventory. No products for you to buy and keep in a corner of your garage. In fact, an online travel agent has no mandatory costs, other than a startup fee and website hosting fees. There are many companies offering online travel agencies for sale, and the price tags vary astoundingly across the board. If you choose to look into this type of business don’t get discouraged by startup costs. There are excellent, highly respected businesses for sale that are affordable!
The problem is that most people get lost in the wonderfulness of the Web and tend to forget that their seatmates can watch every move, see every keystroke (it doesn’t take much to follow along, especially at the speed that many people type), and collect all sorts of information. By the end of one flight I was on, I had Larry (not his real name) the HP sales rep’s Amazon account, read several of his emails, got to see his new sales presentations that HP corporate sales office had sent him, figured out that he was a recent hire as he was checking HP’s Intranet to understand some travel management companies policies, found out who his clients that he had just visited were, and more.
VanceInfo Technologies Inc. is an IT service provider and one of the leading offshore software development companies in China. VanceInfo was the first China software development outsourcer listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Sales skills. Don’t think for one second that you are not in sales. Thanks to the internet, every schmuk out there thinks he can find a better deal than what you’re offering (and sometimes they’re right, too). You need solid sales skills to close the deal. Nervous to call someone about a hot travel deal you just came across? Unable to convince your clients beyond a shadow of a doubt they will lose money if they don’t buy right now? Sorry, you’re in the wrong business.
When people write recommendations about you it is widely viewed that you should write one back. It may not always be appropriate, but when it is, don’t ignore the opportunity- this contact may be able to recommend you for a travel job in the future.
So in short you need to research where you are traveling too, you need to research when you are going to be traveling, and you need to look in depth at your corporate travel policies and don’t assume anything. Corporations have been in business for many years and most of the expense details are spelled out clearly in their guidelines. Where there is headway ask your supervisor and they should be able to inform you of exactly what will and will not be allowed to pass on your expense report.