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Travel agents book and plan business and leisure travel for customers.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £14,000 to £40,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements, but a good general standard of education is expected. Some employers may ask for English and maths GCSEs or equivalent.

College courses in travel and tourism could help you prepare for this job. Experience in customer service or sales, or knowledge of foreign languages, could also be useful.

It's common to find work with a travel agency and then train on the job.

You may be able to start this job through an apprenticeship.

The Institute of Travel & Tourism (ITT) and Careers that Move have more information about the industry.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent customer service skills and telephone manner
  • strong communication and sales skills
  • the ability to prioritise and cope with pressure at busy times

3. What you'll do

You may work in a high street travel agents or a call centre, specialising in personal or business travel.

Depending on your role, your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • understanding and meeting customers’ needs
  • using your geographical knowledge to help customers find a suitable package holiday or plan independent travel
  • making bookings and payments using online computer systems
  • advising customers about passports, insurance, visas, vaccinations, tours and vehicle hire
  • informing customers of changes like cancelled flights
  • arranging refunds and handling complaints
  • meeting sales targets
  • keeping up to date with developments in the travel industry

4. Salary

Starter: £14,000

Experienced: £17,000 to £25,000

Highly Experienced: £28,000 to £40,000

Salaries usually include commission based on meeting performance targets. You may also get discounts on holidays.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week over 5 days in 7, covering evenings and weekends.

You'll be expected to have a smart appearance, and will usually be provided with a uniform.

You’ll work at a desk in a travel shop or contact centre.

Your employer may arrange short visits to resorts to improve your knowledge of the holidays that you're organising and selling.

6. Career path and progression

With training and experience, there may be opportunities to progress into senior roles like branch or call centre manager, operations director, regional director or managing director.

You could also move into other roles in the travel sector, like tour operating.

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Last updated: 02 April 2018