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Advantages & Disadvantages of a Travel Agent's Career

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When it comes to booking holidays and business trips, the travel agent is the consumer’s friend, shifting through deals and itineraries to help the traveler get where she wants to be for a reasonable price. Travel agents work mainly within the retail environment, dealing with the general public on a day-to-day basis, while some are employed to promote specific resorts. A travel agent’s career has its share of pros and cons.

Mobility and Choice

Not all travel agents work from the retail environment or from a call center; some go freelance or else work for a company that’s based overseas. The number of ways in which travel agents can operate is a boon for individuals who like to have a choice in how they work, as well as an advantage in the sense that such a career potentially permits an individual to work from home.

Travel the World

Travel agents typically need to know about the places their work is concerned with, and this can involve traveling to such destinations to aid with familiarization and research. Travel agents often find a perk of their career is the ability to see countries all over the world on behalf of work. A related advantage comes in the reductions travel agents get with regard to travel expenses. Most travel agencies offer discounts to their employees, which vary depending on the company but nonetheless help reduce the price of trips abroad.

Pressure

Travel agents must sometimes deal with periods or circumstances in which they’ll be handling the demands and expectations of many consumers, and this kind of pressure won’t suit everyone. For example, during key vacation periods during the year, such as over the summer, the travel agent can expect to be busier than usual. Unusual circumstances, such as the aftermath of a volcanic eruption, for instance, can also cause delays and other disruptions which add to the pressure.

Limited Progression

Travel agents aren’t going to become millionaires, and while the industry isn’t without its opportunities, individuals in this sector may be frustrated if they’re particularly ambitious. Travel agents can strive to become branch manager at their places of work, or else seek employment with a specific tour operator as a means of progression, but besides these paths their best option to move ahead is to set up their own agency.

Threats to Industry

The career outlook of a travel agent is tied directly into the fortunes of the travel industry as a whole, and during periods when business is slow, in a global recession for instance, travel agent jobs may be lost and opportunities could become scarce. Travel agent careers are also threatened by the rise of Internet use; with more people turning to travel websites to research the best deals for their holidays, travel agencies are losing out. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, the employment of travel agents is estimated to decrease by 1 percent between 2008 and 2018.

References

About the Author

Simon Fuller has been a freelance writer since 2008. His work has appeared in "Record Collector," "OPEN" and the online publication, brand-e. Fuller has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Reading and a postgraduate diploma from the London School of Journalism.