Travel coordinators, also known as travel agents, plan, schedule and offer travel-related expertise to their clients. They are self-employed or work for airlines, railroads, shipping lines and travel agencies. They address business, family and vacation travel needs. Attention to detail, organisation and people skills are key traits in this hospitality profession.
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Travel coordinators book tickets, provide research about destinations, plan trips and advise clients. They suggest the best times to travel and which activities to enjoy. They reserve rental cars, hotel rooms and schedule tours.
Travel coordinators specialise in regions, countries or clientele. They recommend restaurants and lodging facilities.
Travel coordinators need formal courses in travel and tourism offered at community colleges and other educational or vocational institutions. A bachelor's degree with a concentration in travel and tourism or hospitality management is helpful.
Courses in cultural diversity, geography and hospitality management are beneficial. Proficiency in foreign languages is helpful. Personal domestic and foreign travel are integral to provide timely and experienced advice to clients. Knowledge of foreign documentation requirements, such as passports, vaccinations, visas and work permits, is important.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean hourly wage for travel agents was £10.10 as of May 2008. The mean annual salary was £21,105. They earned salary ranges from a low of £12,200 to a high of £31,109. Travel agents often take advantage of reduced or free travel packages as part of their compensation.
Future employment prospects are not favourable for travel coordinators. According to a projection made by the BLS in 2010, there will be a 1 per cent reduction in jobs from 2008 to 2018. The main factor in this decline is the trend for travellers to use online resources to plan and book trips.
The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) offers the "Travel Agent's Management Toolkit." The benefits of this learning tool are emphasised at the Society's website: "In order for agents to maximise their potential, it is imperative to have a solid understanding of the relationship between revenue sources and cost structures, service and sales goals, focused marketing and business strategies."
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