CHOOSING A CAREER / FEB. 09, 2015
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How to Become a Travel Agency Manager in the US

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Travel agencies play a vital role in helping travelers reach their destinations without much hassle. These businesses hire managers to help them compete and meet the demands of a travel industry full of choosy travelers. If you possess good leadership and business skills and would love to work in the travel industry, this is a career that you could enjoy.

What Do Travel Agency Managers Do?

Their primary duties include:

  • Hiring and training travel agents and other agency workers
  • Identifying new business opportunities and researching new products
  • Devising and implementing marketing strategies – such as promotions – to attract more clients
  • Maintaining positive business relationships with airlines, hotels, car rentals and cruise lines
  • Handling complex customer complaints
  • Managing the agency’s budget
  • Staying abreast of trends in the travel and tourism industry

Work Environment

Travel agency managers can start work as early as 8am and run late into the unsocial hours. This is because many busy agencies operate for 24-hours, so managers are expected to provide leadership round the clock. Some managers also work on a shift basis.

At work, they spend their time in a standard office or call center environment. These managers travel occasionally to attend industry events to stay ahead of current trends.

Salary

Travel agency managers average pay:

Occupation

Pay

Travel agency manager

$44,333

Source: Payscale

Entry Requirements

The best way to become a travel agency manager is to pursue a bachelor’s degree in travel industry management. The degree, which is offered by the University of Hawaii and other institutions across the US, will improve your understanding of the tourism and travel industry and equip you with solid management skills.

Another way to get the job is to begin as a travel agent. This requires a certificate-level credential in travel and tourism. As you gain vast work experience, you could be promoted to the position of travel agent supervisor and finally into management.

Important Qualities

To be an effective travel agency manager you need:

  • Strong skills in personnel management
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Strong commercial skills
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Good computer skills
  • An interest in travel
  • Good organizing and planning skills
  • Good communication skills
  • The ability to work for long hours without losing concentration

Career Advancement

After finding employment as a travel agency manager, you can undertake the following activities to enhance your career progression prospects:

If you got the job without a bachelor’s degree, this is best time to go for it.

Job Opportunities

The employers of travel agency managers include:

  • Independent travel agencies
  • Travel agencies that are run by airlines and other providers of travel related services

After gaining vast management experience, you could move from a small travel agency to a large agency that offers services to global travelers. In time, you could rise further and become an area or regional manager.

Those who wish to move into self-employment can also establish their own independent travel agencies or travel consulting firms.

The US travel industry is growing. According to the Department of Commerce, the industry will grow by 3 percent through 2018, meaning more agencies will be created to serve the increasing number of travelers.

This is not a massive increase, but if your passion truly lies in tourism this could be the career for you.

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