A personal experience on how it’s like to be a travel agent these days.
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes
Maybe, these days travel agents aren’t the happiest people on Earth, some of them lost their jobs, some of them still struggling with situations for their clients or, maybe, some of them try to overcome this critical period. I found myself in all of them and I am trying to recover, but this will take a lot of time.
A travel agent is like a personal assistant, in the vision of some who believe this. But, in my opinion, a travel agent is a friend, a consultant who helps you to pursue your dreams.
These days there are indeed fewer people who use the services of a travel agent, but let’s be honest, it is not that hard to book a hotel room, a plane ticket or a car. You call a consultant when you need information, experiences, stories, even a friend.
My passion for travel and tourism has begun since high school and developed in my college years. Through my master’s degree years I got a job at a big travel agency in my city and this was the first step in tourism.
During my five years in the tourism field, I have learned that people are different, their expectations are customized and they are looking for someone to help them because that is your job. You don’t get in this business if you don’t like helping people, that is the rule. Maybe, you do not like this from the beginning, but when you get to know and experience you start to enjoy, even if sometimes you would like to give up. I think that everybody has these types of feelings at some point in their career life and it is normal.
My experience has taught me that people who request a service from a travel agent are because they need support and they trust you to help them pick the best product for them. They trust you to pay a certain amount of money for your service, even there are dozen of platforms where they can book accommodation, plane tickets or other services, they chose you for this service. You should be honored!
Usually, travel agents are seen as a psychologist. It’s like we are helping our customers to find the treatment that will lead them to happiness.
You get involved in people’s choices about their lives. Traveling arouses certain feelings, it helps with personal growth, develop your culture and knowledge. It’s a state of mind.
Working with people has always been exciting. Sometimes is hard to figure out what a person needs. A real travel agent has a set of standard questions to find out what he needs, to find the most suitable product for his client. Sometimes it is hilarious when a client doesn’t know what wants and you have to dig deeper. It’s like he is expecting to read his mind, in most cases. He says — I want to go to Spain, but I do not know what I want to do there — and it’s time interview and give him advice, to relate about your experiences or other client’s experiences. In this way, you will awaken his desire of going there.
You have to be a good storyteller.
The most beautiful thing in this field is when a client comes back to you and thanks to you and asks for a new vacation. But not everything is peaches and cream in tourism, there are unpleasant situations that demoralize you. You have to deal with hard situations, you have to support your client in tough moments when a flight is canceled, or when the front desk from the hotel doesn’t want to let him stay and dozen of other cases. Over time you learn and next time you will be prepared. This type of moments will make you stronger and vigilant.
Each domain has the ups and downs but what makes it so special is that you get to like it, even end up finding yourself in it.