Are you interested in travel and tourism and have strong communication and people skills? If yes, a career as a Travel Agent could be perfect for you.
Travel Agents book trips, flights, and accommodations and make arrangements for clients that suit their budget and taste. They help clients explore new and exciting places and offer advice on sightseeing opportunities.
You don't need formal education and training to work as a Travel Agent. Although having an entry-level VET qualification or a university degree in travel, tourism, or a similar field will help develop knowledge and skills to improve your entry into this profession.
Read this blog to learn how to turn your passion for travel and tourism into a rewarding career. Find out about job skills, daily duties, average salary, career advancement, prospects of a Travel Agent, and how you can become one.
1. What Is A Travel Agent?
A travel agent in Australia has substantial knowledge of logistics and global travel.
They use it to help holidaymakers, and business people make travel arrangements, including purchasing tour tickets, renting cars, booking accommodations, preparing documentation, and budgeting.
Travel agents can offer general advice or specialise in a specific type of travel. These include cruises or theme-based tours (spiritual, entertainment, educational, corporate, and romantic tours), etc.
2. Travel Agent Duties
The most common duties of a travel agent are as follows:
Understand the customer needs, preferences, and book flights, accommodation, tours, and other travel add-ons at the best prices.
Plans business and leisure trips
Provide advice to travellers helping them make the best use of their time away from home
Inform customers on currency, insurance options, use of traveller's cheques and credit cards, vaccination information, and health risks for the destination country
Coordinate activities and organise services such as drivers, translators, and guides on arrival
Respond to incoming customers' requests and research customised trips that may include multiple transportation modes, destinations, and sightseeing plans.
Suggest tours, travel routes, accommodations, and tourist attractions to customers helping them plan their travel
Provide historical facts and information on local and national places of interest
Book domestic and international flights, hotels, and cruises for customers
Prepare customer travel documents and service agreements for group travel.
Manage the booking process, which includes deposits and final payments
Advertise tour packages and specials from travel partners such as resorts, cruise lines, and speciality travel groups
Notify customers about their travel dates, medical and visa requirements, and baggage limits
Provide counselling and assistance for customer's requests, and check documents for accuracy
Discuss the availability of tour and transport, cost, and procedure to deal with lost/ stolen documents
Help in travel clearances
3. Travel Agent Skills
If you have the following qualities, then you are perfect for a travel agent role:
A passion for travelling
Like helping customers secure the best travel deals
Good communication skills
Strong negotiation and research skills
Good time management and organisational skills
Able to work with multiple itineraries and customers at once
Strong basic computer skills
Friendly and pleasant personality
Able to provide a range of concierge services
Attention to detail
Patience with customer questions and modifying their travel plans
Working knowledge in using online booking systems
General travel knowledge
Aptitude for customer service
4. Travel Agent Qualifications
No formal qualification is needed to work as a travel agent in Australia. However, completing nationally accredited travel agent courses helps you take a great career path.
Complete the equivalent of Australian Year 10 education
Consider completing travel agent courses in Australia, like Certificate III in Travel. The course familiarises you with vital administrative duties and skills. These include customer service, personnel management, business, and finances to boost your chances of landing a travel agent job.
Alternatively, complete a travel course at a Diploma-level, Bachelor or Master's degree level that includes a business management component.
Those interested in working as independent agents need insurance.
5. Steps To Become A Travel Agent In Australia
Here are the steps to pursue a career as a travel agent in Australia.
Step 1: Complete A Relevant VET Course
Completing an education in travel will boost your chances of job success in this exciting and fast-paced industry. Aspiring travel agents should complete a Certificate III in Travel through TAFE or other recognised training schools.
It is an entry-level travel course combining travel consultant training with job skills, which include sales, business administration, and customer service.
The travel agent course at TAFE equips you with the knowledge and skills to work in varied settings such as tourism attractions, visitor information centres, tour operations, cultural and heritage sites, and small businesses.
Certificate III In Tourism - TAFE NSW
Certificate III In Tourism - TAFE SA
Certificate III In Tourism - TAFE WA
Certificate III In Tourism - TAFE QLD
Certificate III in Tourism - Holmesglen University
Step 2: Pursue Additional Study in Travel and Tourism
After completing the Certificate III course, you can choose to continue your education or secure a job in the dynamic world of tourism.
Certificate IV in Travel and Tourism Learning at TAFE or other training schools provides knowledge expansion and better career opportunities.
Other courses for additional study include:
Diploma in Travel and Tourism Management- TAFE QLD
Bachelor of Tourism- Western Sydney University
Bachelor of Tourism Management – Torrens University
Bachelor of Business (Tourism and Hospitality Management) – Edith Cowan University
As these courses focus on business management in the travel industry, they will help you prepare for a management role or starting your travel agency.
Before studying the above degree courses, you must complete your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education.
Step 3: Gain Travel Experience
A good travel experience is necessary as it helps travel agents offer personalised travel advice to their customers. Travel agencies know this and generally prefer applicants with some travel experience.
Some travel agencies provide discounted holidays to travel agents to enhance their travel knowledge.
Step 4: Gain Industry Recognition
Consider Registering with the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA). It will make it easier to find employment and excel in your career.
Step 5: Apply For Travel Agent Jobs
After you complete your studies, you can begin applying for jobs as a Travel Agent in established travel agencies. They provide on-the-job training on their booking system and procedures.
6. Where Do Travel Agents Work?
Travel agents generally work indoors in an office, meeting customers and discussing their requirements. These are located on busy main streets or inside shopping centres.
There are also travel companies that do not have offices and operate only through websites and phone hotlines. Travel Agents working for such companies often attend phone calls, messages, and emails either in call centres or at home.
7. The Most Common Jobs That Involve Travel Agents
With a travel education and some tourism experience, you can take up any of the following travel jobs:
Travel Agency Manager
Visitor Center Consultant
Inbound Tour Co-Ordinator
Tourism Customer Service Consultant
Retail Travel Advisor/Consultant
Tourism Wholesale Or Supplier Booking Agent
Customer Service Agent
Reservations Sales Agent
8. Travel Agent's Work Conditions
An office-based travel agent usually works regular business hours from 9 am to 5 pm, 40 hours a week from Monday to Saturday.
A few travel agencies require their agents to work evenings and weekends to serve their customers better.
Part-time and casual working options are also available for those who prefer more flexible or fewer hours.
In large travel companies, travel agents must attend seminars, product launches, and team-building events every two to three weeks after business hours.
This way, they gain insightful information and develop relationships with their colleagues that could help their career progression.
9. Travel Agent Specialization
Travel agents provide general travel services but may consider specialisation in a specific travel area. These areas can be corporate travel/ cruise travel to offer expert advice to travellers.
It can boost your chances of securing work with companies operating in these areas.
Here are a few factors based on which Travel Agents may consider specialisation:
The type of travel (business or leisure)
By destination (Europe, Africa, or Asia)
By types of travel products, such as cruise, rail, and air
Available roles of Specialisations include Domestic Travel Consultant, Business Travel Consultant, Airline Passenger Officer, and International Travel Consultant.
10. Career Path For Travel Agents In Australia
Most travel agents begin their careers for an established travel agency - a branch of a large travel chain or independent travel agency.
After gaining experience, you might advance to senior roles such as a supervisor or branch manager in your travel agency.
Alternatively, there are opportunities to enjoy more independence, establish your travel agency, or work as a freelance travel agent for a host agency.
11. Job Prospects Of Travel Agents In Australia
Travelling has been a prime aspect of Australian culture. In today's busy life, only some have the time to research and find great prices for flights and accommodation and book reservations.
Many rely on professionals with good local area knowledge to help them plan their travel. Thus, there will always be a demand for the services they offer.
Aspiring travel agents with the necessary skills and the drive to succeed have a promising employment market and excellent job prospects in the coming years.
Around 73% of employed Travel Agents work full-time for an average of 43 hours per week. (All jobs average: 44 hours per week).
Administrative And Support Services: 87.0%
Transport, Postal, And Warehousing: 6.4%
Accommodation And Food Services: 1.3%
Financial And Insurance Services: 0.7%
Other Industries: 3.8%
Employment Across Australia
New South Wales: 33.6%
South Australia: 6.6%
Western Australia: 9.3%
Northern Territory: 0.6%
Australian Capital Territory: 1.4%
Regions With The Largest Share of Travel Agents
Melbourne - Inner
Melbourne - Inner South
Sydney – Hornsby, Inner South West and North Sydney
Worker's Age and Gender Profile
The average age of Travel Agents is 36 years (between 25 and 34 years). (All jobs average: 40 years)
Females constitute 80% of the entire workforce. (All jobs average: 48%)
12. How Much Does It Cost To Become A Travel Agent?
People who want to know how to become a travel agent online are often concerned with the cost of the online travel agent course in Australia.
Online Courses Australia is a recognised training institute that runs the "Become a Travel Agent Certificate 48 Study Hours" course.
13. How To Become A Travel Agent Without Experience?
The "Become a Travel Agent Certificate 48 Study Hours" course is a job-ready certification program. It comprises theoretical and practical learning to prepare you for a Travel Agent role.
What You Will Learn:
An overview of the tourism industry
Prepare quotes and reserve products and services
Good customer service
Process travel-related documentation
Use fare, reservation, and ticketing software for different transportation modes
Do you wonder how to become a travel agent from home? This course is for busy people who can not attend in-person training and want a flexible schedule to gain industry knowledge and unlock better opportunities.
Tour Package salesperson
Small Business Owner (tours, accommodation, transport)
Tour Bus Driver
Outdoor Education Officer
14. How To Start A Travel Agency In Australia?
Many travel agents at later stages of their careers consider starting a business within the Travel and Tourism Industry as:
Retail Travel Agent
If you are one of them, here we have outlined the things you need to consider to have a great start:
Step 1: Have An Elaborate Business Plan
A business plan is essential before starting a business as it gives direction and prepares you for unexpected conditions in the future.
An ideal business plan contains the following:
Describe a feasible concept
Define the market that your company will target
Showcase a competitive edge
Summarise the company control and product/service management
Outline staff's experience and skills
State a business' capital requirements for the initial 12 months of operation
Mention achievable and realistic objectives to get started
Specify operational and financial forecasts for at least 12 months
Step 2: Complete Qualifications In Travel
You can run a travel business without knowing the ins and outs of the travel industry. Gaining a formal training qualification is the best way to advance your career.
AFTA recommends completing a Certificate III in Travel to develop foundation skills and continuing with a Certificate IV in Travel and Tourism to gain advanced knowledge and better career opportunities.
Step 3: Become ATAS Accredited
The AFTA Travel Accreditation Scheme is an industry accreditation scheme that establishes the quality standard for the travel industry. Becoming ATAS accredited shows clients your credibility and dedication to your new travel business.
To become ATAS accredited, you must have at least 50% of your business staff in a travel sales position. They also need to have a Certificate III in Travel or equivalent or at least two years of experience in a travel selling position.
In addition to it, you also need to submit a copy of your business plan and estimated operational budget for the first 12 months of operation.
Step 4: Business Insurance Protection
Having Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance safeguards you and your business if such a need arises. It is considered the best practice that every prospective business owner should follow.
ATAS mandates it to have both Professional Indemnity Insurance and Public Liability to run a travel business in Australia.
15. How Much Do Travel Agents Earn In Australia?
Besides being a diverse and enjoyable profession, you receive a financial reward for helping people make their dream holiday. Travel agents also earn commissions for booking tour arrangements.
Their salary depends on experience level, qualifications, work location, and employer. According to PayScale, the average travel agent salary in Australia is AU$45,274 per year or equivalent to AU$24.45 per hour.
Estimated Annual Salary based on Experience
Entry-level Travel Agents (<1-year experience): AU$38,536
Early Career Travel Agents (1-4 years of experience): AU$44,369
Mid-career Travel Agents (5-9 years of experience): AU$44,663
Experienced Travel Agents (10-19 years of experience): AU$49,735
Estimated Annual Salary based on Work Location
Following are the high-paying cities for Travel Agents in Australia:
Sydney Central Business District: $53,657
Gold Coast: $52,203
Being a Travel Agent is an opportunity to help travellers discover the world around them and make the most of their holidays.
If travelling is your life's desire, then travel courses are the best way to accomplish your career aspirations.
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