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A typical week for a travel agent in Alberta, Canada, will include such tasks as describing and selling travel destinations; accessing information for clients to include costs, schedules and routes; and making trip reservations. Agents also make clients aware of any schedule changes plus documentation needed for particular travel destinations. According to the Alberta Occupational Profiles website, the average salary for a travel agent in Alberta is $16.05 per hour.
Obtain your high school diploma or equivalent. This is the essential and first requisite to becoming a travel agent in Alberta, as you need to demonstrate that you are competent in the basics of math and communication.
Enroll in classes on tourism and those geared toward becoming a travel agent. You will need to be proficient with software used in the travel industry, such as Apollo and SABRE. These are the two main reservation systems used by Canadian Travel Agencies. You can find many classes online via the Canadian Institute of Travel Counsellors for both new travel agents and those wanting to enhance their education and skills. CDI College and Grant McEwan College are two colleges in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta that offer courses and certifications in travel and tourism.
Focus on a niche. With so many online travel sites, people have the opportunity to create their own travel plans any time of day. Figure out the gaps in this market, then fill in the details that people cannot find online. These specialties may include lowest cost travel tickets, group travel, honeymoon travel and cruise travel. Since people will expect you to be an expert on many travel destinations, being well-traveled yourself is highly beneficial. You need to be able to convey accurate schedules, travel documentation needed, and learn the best routes to help you stand out from those who prefer to book travel for themselves.
Strive for excellence in online research. The majority of your job duties will include researching online for the most cost-effective travel rates, group rates, cruise rates and more. Make it your goal to be efficient and proficient at this skill to be a successful travel agent in Alberta.
Decide whether you wish to become an independent travel agent or work for a travel agency. As an independent travel agent, you can work a more flexible schedule and find your own clients. Working for an agency provides you with more options in terms of marketing and less personal overhead costs, such as software and hardware, phone and Internet costs.
Advancement as a travel agent in Alberta, Canada depends on your sales abilities, initiative, the size of the company you work for, and the number of clients you manage.
According to the 2006 Canadian Census, English is the native tongue in Alberta, used by 79.9 percent of the population. Chinese is spoken by 3.02 percent of the population. It is not necessary to be bilingual to become a travel agent in Alberta, but there are agencies who do find it can be beneficial depending on whether or not you focus on a market that speaks a different language.
The travel agent job market is stagnant due to the growth of online travel sites. The way to differentiate yourself is to specialize as well as to provide excellent customer service.