Travel agents, often referred to as travel advisors, can get jobs in good old-fashioned corporate travel agencies or remote host agencies, or they can start their own businesses quite easily. Overall, it’s an exciting, fun job which appeals to a lot of people.
While some people prefer to handle their own travel plans, US travel agents are responsible for 72% of cruise bookings and 46% of tour and vacation packages.
You might be offering a service that incorporates every element of travel and tourism or you might have decided to specialize in cruises, vacations on remote islands, luxury travel, or perhaps Disney tours. When you prepare your travel agent resume it is vital that you portray your service accurately.
You will find a complete sample resume for a travel agent at the bottom of this article. It will give you considerable insight into how you can create something that will help to open the doors to the job you are dreaming about.
Resume objective for a travel agent
As with all resumes, when you are punting for a job in travel or tourism, it is essential to tailor your resume to the specifics of the job offered. You need to market your skills, training, and experience within the parameters required for the position.
More importantly, you need to craft a resume that will ensure you stand out from the other travel agents applying for the job.
You need to show how you will be able to offer travelers the best deals and experiences so that they become loyal return customers of the estate agency you hope to be working for.
Can you offer the best prices for accommodation and transportation? Can you promise better insurance deals? If you have experience negotiating killer deals, say so on your resume.
If you are applying for certification by a host company, so that you can work from home and build up your own business, your resume must reinforce your ability to work according to their standards.
Well-travelled travel agent with local and international expertise. Travel consulting and reservations. Relationship management. Certified Travel Associate plus IATA training certification. Commitment to making travelers’ experiences memorable and hassle-free.
Resume skills for travel agents
Travel agents come from all backgrounds and have all levels of experience. But it’s not just about organizing vacations, there are some other valuable skills you should mention on your resume.
While it is important to be able to speak good English, it can be an advantage, if not a requirement, to speak other languages. Multilingualism will usually be a plus.
While fluency in other languages is ideal, it’s a good idea to mention any that you have at least a basic understanding or conversational ability of on your resume.
Strong communication skills are vital, as is networking, particularly with other agents and suppliers. Sales skills are also important because you will be persuading your customers to sign up for vacations, cruises, itinerary tour packages, and so on.
Accounting and financial management are important. You need to be able to negotiate with customers and with suppliers and to solve problems if they emerge. So don’t forget about these skills.
You will also need all the basic computer skills and the ability to use programs like Microsoft Word, Excel, and so on. A solid understanding and ability to use Sabre’s innovative software for air bookings is another valuable skill.
Another great tool that will look great on any travel agent’s resume is ClientBase that is used for selling travel. It offers an efficient, easy-to-use database system that was developed with you in mind.
Global Distribution Systems (GDS) are a fantastic tool for enabling and tracking transactions between travel agents and the industry service providers they deal with. There are various products including Sabre.
Fluent in English and French | Conversational German |Bookkeeping diploma | MS Office | Excel | Sabre | ClientBase | Good salesman | Well-organized and committed to improving personal skills
Travel agent work experience
As of 2020, there were 60,616 travel agency businesses in the US. Even though predictions are that the industry will decline during 2020, there are still lots of job opportunities including working for corporate office-based firms and partnering with host travel agencies and working from home.
As you know, travel agents sell everything from all-inclusive getaways, to cruises and a wide variety of tours, so there’s loads of scope to spread your wings.
It’s interesting that today nearly half of all travel agents are home-based and of these, about 75% are partnered with a host agency. If you’ve been working for a travel agency and want to go out on your own, joining a host agency is a brilliant way to go.
A good host agency will meet you at whatever level of experience you have and will provide you with the travel and business resources you need to succeed. Irrespective of your experience, they give you the education and support needed to get into travel or to excel.
This is also a great way to add to your work experience. Even if you decide you don’t want to ultimately build your own business, it can be a good way to start getting invaluable experience that can be included on your next resume.
Wherever they work, travel agents offer advice, negotiate deals on behalf of their clients, do the bookings, reservations, and so on, and collect payments. If there are problems or issues, a host travel agent will take the responsibility for solving these. But you can mention some of these experiences in your resume.
Sample Work Experience
Triple A Travel
Corporate Travel Manager, 2016 – 2019
Led procurement strategy. Negotiated with service providers including airlines and hotels. Managed the company’s travel credit card program. Handled all airline, hotel, ground transportation, and security requirements for company travelers.
- Defined new travel policy rules and requirements for the company
- Produced a very successful research report that identified and analyzed travel industry trends, gaps, and opportunities
- Introduced a benchmarking policy to benefit in-house travel spend
- Achieved a more than 40% improvement in value with my benchmarking project
Triple A Travel International
Corporate Travel Advisor, 2012 – 2016
Handled international travel handling all elements relating to fares, issue of tickets, exchanges. Managed the company database using ClientBase and headed up marketing. Provided administrative support for senior staff members.
- Dealt mainly with VIP and executive clients by request of management
- Introduced the use of Sabre for all airline bookings
- Updated systems for effective communication which proved to be fruitful
- Frequently commended for my customer service skills
Travel agent education
Specialized education isn’t as vital as it is in some industries. But you do need to have a thorough understanding of how the sector operates.
That said, having formal training will help anyone who wants to become a travel agent both in terms of knowledge and skills, and to build a career.
While experience is vital, educational achievements in the form of degrees, diplomas, or even just certificates earned from workshops or short-term programs and other forms of continuing education always look good on a travel agent resume.
There are various travel agent degree programs that take anything from two to four years.
Training via various associations, institutes, and societies like those mentioned in Certifications (above) will provide you with the education and certification you need.
As mentioned previously, host companies that are established travel and tourism companies, provide a good way to get the knowledge and wherewithal to do the job. A lot of people join host companies and work as a travel agent part-time because they decide to get into travel later in life and already have other sorts of jobs.
When you list your education, add any special achievements including excellent grades, scholarships, or awards.
The Travel Institute, 2017
Certified Travel Associate (CTA)
- Achieved a grade of 85% (Minimum 70% required)
Washington State University, 2013 – 2016
Hospitality Business Management
- Received the Hospitality Business Management Student of the Year Award in 2014
Washington State University, 2012
International Year One in Business – Hospitality Business management (Pre-Bachelor Degree)
Taking courses is one way to get into the travel and tourism industry. It is also a good way to increase your knowledge of specific areas of interest.
There are many different options, but one excellent avenue is via ASTA which recommends courses for travel agents. Those mentioned below are examples of some courses offered by ASTA members during mid-2020. Again, you’ll need to be a member to benefit.
- Becoming a Travel Advisor
- Ethics for Travel Advisors
- US Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance
- Project Management and Planning for the Travel Advisor
- Legal Overview for the Travel Agency Industry
- Professional Fees – Strategies and Solutions
- The Art and Science of Negotiation
There is no universal certification needed or required to become a travel agent. However, if you do get certified, the letters CTA, CTC, CTIE, and/or VTA after your name will make a very positive statement that both prospective customers and employers will recognize.
The three first certifications mentioned above are all available via The Travel Institute. They all involve study and therefore fulfill an important role in terms of education. But you need travel industry experience before you can enroll for the programs.
You can attain the Certified Travel Associate (CTA) after working in the industry for at least 18 months. You need to have worked in the industry for at least five years to enroll in the Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) and Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE) programs. The CTA exam pass mark is a minimum of 70%.
The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) has two Verified Travel Advisor (VTA) certification programs, one for independent contractors.
A nine-course program, it covers advanced public speaking, project management and planning for travel advisors, marketing, sales tactics, as well as ethical and legal issues. You need to join ASTA to be eligible.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) also offers certification by validating qualifications from Accredited Training Schools (ATSs) as long as certificates were issued within the past five years.
There are also several more specialized cruise-orientated certifications available that are linked to study programs offered by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
- Certified Travel Associate (CTA)
- Certified Travel Counselor (CTC)
- Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE)
- ASTA Verified Travel Advisor (VTA)
- Certified Cruise Counselor (CCC)
- Accredited Cruise Counselor (ACC)
- Master Cruise Counselor (MCC)
- Elite Cruise Counselor (ECC)
Complete travel agent resume sample
Whether this is your first full-time job in travel and tourism or you are looking to expand your horizons after five or six years in the industry, your resume is key.
You will need to share the enthusiasm you have for the travel industry and paint a picture of a potential employee who has exactly what it takes to succeed. That’s you by the way!
The job shown below is for a Corporate Travel Agent to work at GTI Travel in Philadelphia. The company has a very big corporate client base and the job involves booking air travel, car hire, hotels, and tour packages.
The qualifications required should ideally all be reflected on your resume. But only have verifiable qualifications.
Corporate Travel Agent
Certified travel agent with extensive knowledge and experience of domestic and international faring and reservations. Excellent communication skills and ability to work independently. Happy and adept juggling duties and responsibilities. Consistently on time.
MS Office | Outlook | Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome | Sabre | ClientBase | Worldspan/Travelport GDS | Good salesperson | Great organizational skills | Online and email marketing
Irvine Travel Co.
Corporate Travel Consultant, 2018 – 2020
Responsible for the full range of customer services in collaboration with the company team. Monitored and worked GDS queues every day.
- Successfully exceeded the required 275 transactions per month
- Met the goals and objectives required every month
- Networked with hotel chains and airlines and increased customer savings by more than 20%
- Commended for extending work hours to meet client needs
Globetrotter Travel and Tourism Services
Corporate Travel Agent, 2016 – 2017
Handled airline bookings using Sabre as well as airline, car, hotel, and other reservations. Handled a wide range of administrative duties.
- Dealt with valued clients and exceeded their expectations.
- Researched reservation prices countrywide to get better deals
- Studied global distribution systems (GDS) in the evenings and became proficient in both Travelport and Worldspan
- Volunteered to handle customer service issues and problems
- Won Globetrotter’s national Travel Agent of the Year award in 2017
Trainee Travel Agent, 2011
Researched accommodations and did reservations remotely for the agency. Paid trainee position for six months to make sure this was the career I wanted to follow.
- Added value to the team by compiling data on vacation venues in the Carolinas
- Learnt how to use Sabre and ClientBase
- Given the responsibility for booking reservations for clients
- Won a weekend away in recognition of high quality work
The Travel Institute, 2020
Certified Travel Counselor (CTC)
- Completed a 5,000-word white paper on 2020 Trends in the Travel Industry
The Travel Institute, 2016
Certified Travel Associate (CTA)
- Achieved a grade of 92%
University of South Carolina, 2012 – 2015
- Completed two internships
- Certified Travel Associate (CTA)
- Certified Travel Counselor (CTC)
- ASTA Verified Travel Advisor (VTA)
One of the main takeaways to consider when you are submitting a resume as a travel agent is that many people believe planning travel and vacations are something they can do themselves. This is your career and occupation, and you have value.
Once you identify the value you have for clients, because of your education, skills, and experience, you can use this to craft a winning travel agent resume.
- There is a real need for trained, experienced travel agents to bridge the gap between publicly accessible travel planning and what can be done with contacts and by networking. If you can network well with other travel agents and agencies and suppliers, highlight this on your resume.
- The travel industry has got a 50:50 chance of doing bookings on behalf of tourists and travelers. Add something on your resume about how well you handle bookings.
- There are a multitude of options when it comes to travel agent jobs. Tailor your resume to identify how well you fit your chosen job.
Tips from Experts
“As a travel agent who joined a host agency and is now fortunate enough to also work at one, I can say there is no such thing as a cookie-cutter travel agent.” – Bill Coyle, KHM Certified Travel Agent
Travel agents can work for corporate companies, small businesses, or they can start their own business single-handedly or with the help of a host company.
It’s a fun, exciting occupation that has special rewards – including opportunities to travel if you get it right!
There is no doubt that there is a need for travel agents and agencies, and if you have opted for the employment avenue you’re going to need experience and a well-crafted resume to get you the job.
Go for it!