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I need a little help from the TAs out there!!!

I need a little help from the TAs out there!!!

Old Jun 23rd, 2003, 04:29 PM
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I need a little help from the TAs out there!!!

My wife would like to become a travel agent. Can you recommend classes or seminars that would aid her in breaking into the industry. What is needed for an entry level position in the travel industry. She would like to specialize in the cruise industry.

Thanks for any advice you can give.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2003, 06:12 PM
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Hi,

I have been in the travel industry for 10 years and it is a great career, especially for those who love to travel. I would suggest getting an administrative support or clerical job in a travel agency - just to see if she thinks the travel agent's work is interesting. A travel agent's work is pretty stressful, lots of details to track and there is a lot of new information that comes out almost every day. It is good to see how things work in the travel agency trenches before getting too invested. The AAA is a good place for these entry-level jobs, a large corporate travel agency almost always needs someone to answer phones, greet walk-ins, deliver documents. If she likes what she sees, I would suggest a licensed travel school (check http://www.icta.com) or the agency management might be able to recommend a good local travel school. It takes a long time to feel comfortable with the work because there are so many and so many critical details that cannot be overlooked or disaster can occur. It is not easy work and it is complicated work - unfortunately, it is a lot of long hours and lots of troubleshooting.

Good luck!
Julia Elzie
http://www.CruisingCo.com
E-mail: [email protected]
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Old Jun 24th, 2003, 07:03 AM
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I'm not so sure the Travel Agent career is as viable these days as it once was. Speaking for myself, I used to use AAA travel exclusively up until five or six years ago. Now with all of the online travel booking engines available (Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, etc.) and the travel service company websites (the airlines, cruise companies, hotel chains, etc.) I book all of our travel myself. As the next generations age into the traveling mode, they only know one way to do things - via computer. I think travel agents will become like carbon paper and regular mail - obsolete.

Peter
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Old Jun 24th, 2003, 11:45 AM
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Hello,

Actually, business in our company is only going up and up. We were up in 2001 (after 9/11), up again last year and in the first few months of year, business is still increasing. We believe in great service and we are happy to take care of all of the little details of trips for our clients and customers. Yes, there are those who feel comfortable doing their travel online and that is fine. But, a lot of people are feeling discouraged because it is so complicated with the airlines, cruise companies, etc. I don't think travel agents are going to become obscure, but I think that they are going to have to become experts in one destination and give great service. Those not willing to do that are going to be out of business.

Best Regards,
Julia Elzie
E-mail: [email protected]
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Old Jun 24th, 2003, 02:33 PM
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Actually Julia, according to the CLIA, the number of travel agencies is down over 20% since 1995 and the number of registered agents is down almost 30% in that same time frame. Additionally, according to the IH & RA (International Hotel and Restaurant Association), online hotel bookings are estimated to reach 25% of total bookings (number of nights) in 2005, up from less than 5% in 1997. American Airlines publishes on their website that 8% of their tickets are now sold thru their website and my guess is another 20% is sold thru the Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, etc booking engines.

Now, having said all that, your particular agency may well be doing fine and growing. But, the facts support a declining industry and therefore career choice.

Peter
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Old Jun 24th, 2003, 04:40 PM
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I have been a TA for 5 years. The travel benifits are not what they used to be for sure. Clients are becoming more knowlegable from the internet, which is good and bad. Good because they know more about what they want, when to go, etc. Bad because of course more and more people are booking online. Also clients are becoming increasingly fickle, and willing to go to the next guy to save $5.00. This is making for a price matching hell for agents and heaven for consumers.

I haven't found it too hard to compete with the internet, because I often have lower prices then they do.

In Canada at least we are having a hard time keeping afloat with one thing after another after another. In 2001 our Europe booking were down a lot due to Hoof and Mouth, making a lot of our discount airlines drop out of doing Europe. Then 9/11, then in November Canada 3000 (large vacation airline and tour operator) went out of business. Most of our sales are made in the fall for spring, and final payments due in the spring, so the first half of 2002 was a wash. The fall was looking really good, but tour operators decreased the amount of flights south due to the events of the year previous, so we couldn't make as many sales as there was demand (that sucks!). Then the war in Iraq. Our company decided this year we would focus on travel within Canada as our clients are still scared to travel to the states, but now there is SARS and ONE case of Mad Cow and now clients don't want to travel in thier own country.

I am seriously considering going back to school.

Hopefully we will bounce back, but I wouldn't invest in a course to become a TA right now.
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