Business travel agents work for the many different companies who want to save money on traveling. These travel agents help the companies save money by organizing all travel plans and booking the various air lines, hotels, cruises, and tours. In some cases, the agent will be responsible for doing everything from setting up lodging accommodations, travel itineraries, and making all reservations for employees, their families, and their friends. Because the travel industry is so competitive, the role of the travel agent has become more specialized.
A travel agent works under the general supervision of a company executive or an area sales manager. Typically, they are hired as a part-time employee, although this can change depending upon the travel agent’s experience and the company’s needs. Some people start out as employee travel agents, although this is not a common practice. One of the most popular agencies is CIGNA, which provides travel services for thousands of businesses and corporations. Other companies include AMEX, Discover, Enterprise, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC).
One of the most common questions about what is a business travel agent is, what type of training and education they must have in order to successfully fill this job. Depending on the size and scope of a particular company, every travel agent is required to undergo some form of training and education. Most travel agencies require agents to have at least a high school diploma, although some larger agencies may require associates or bachelors degree in a related field.
Along with continuing education and certification, travel agents are also trained to keep abreast of travel and tourism trends. Because travel agencies are constantly looking for ways to cut costs and streamline their operations, they often invite experienced agents on special travel seminars to give them advice on how to best utilize their time, resources, and tools. In addition to seminars, many companies offer a “champ card,” which they provide to all new agents to give them an insight into the business of travel. These champs can help business travelers make more informed decisions when it comes to vacation destinations and rental cars.
A large part of what is a business travel agent is networking. You will be involved in a number of activities while working at one of these agencies, so you’ll need to develop a wide range of contacts and acquaintances throughout the country and globe. For example, if your employer is based in San Francisco, you will want to network with a travel agent in that city if you are planning a vacation there. Networking is also important to keep up with the latest trends and options. For example, if you are interested in visiting Paris, you will want to find out about all the hotel packages, guided tours, and other options available before making any decisions.
Another aspect of what is a business travel agent is connecting clients with the right deals. This means finding the best hotels for their needs, finding great transportation, booking tickets, and picking up documents for customs and visas. Depending on what kind of travel you are getting involved in, different professionals in your field will have specific expertise, including concierge, passports, and even immigration. Depending on the type of trip you are taking, it may be important to hire additional professionals such as an accountant or legal assistant. A travel agent may also have contacts for airlines and rental car companies, which can save you a lot of time and expense if you don’t already know about these important services.
Another main part of what is a business travel agent is working with the client. When you are on vacation and need to get to certain places, you’ll often have to rely on other people to get you where you need to go, and a travel agent can be very helpful in this situation. Depending on your business needs, you can usually find someone who will do all the ground work for you so that you don’t have to worry about anything when you get to your destination.
As you can see, there are many different aspects of what is a business travel agent that you should consider. If you are already in this line of work but are considering changing careers to be more involved in the travel industry, this could be a great career choice for you. Just make sure that you get the experience you need before becoming a travel agent, especially if you don’t have any experience at all. The last thing you want is to hire a travel agent that isn’t qualified to help you with your next vacation! Business travel agents aren’t difficult to find, but they do require a bit of training before you can safely take care of all of your business needs.