When you call to arrange flights, a rental car or a hotel room for an upcoming trip, you're likely to talk to a reservation sales agent. These professionals may also work for bus or passenger rail companies. They often work in call centres that operate 24 hours a day, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes most agents are employed full-time.
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Agents answer incoming calls from potential customers. Those representing hotel chains may describe the different types of rooms available and the amenities offered at a particular location. Agents answer questions from customers and assist them in reserving a room or rental car or purchasing an airline ticket. A job posting by Hertz notes that the company expects agents to "maximise revenue opportunities with customers by utilising solicitation statements, overcoming objections, and utilising other sales techniques as appropriate to obtain every possible booking."
Employers may expect agents to meet sales quotas. Reservations sales agents also cancel or make changes to previous reservations or update a customer's contact information.
Skills and Personal Traits
Employers look for agents with good communication, sales and customer service skills. Employers expect agents to be comfortable with basic computer operations and have the ability to type at least 20 words per minute. Agents must be patient, accurate in their work and project a positive attitude. They must fit well in a team environment and be willing to work evenings, weekends and holidays. Applicants may have to pass a background check and drug screening before they are hired.
Education and Experience
Most employers expect reservation sales agents to have a high school diploma or GED. Employers may prefer applicants who have previous experience in a related field. Some employers may provide paid training for new employees.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says reservation sales agents made an average annual salary of £21,060 in May 2009. Some agents may work on a wage plus commission basis. Some employers offer bonus pay for those who can speak more than one language.
The bureau expects employment in the profession to grow eight per cent between 2008 and 2018, which is about the average growth rate for all occupations. "Increased use of online reservations systems and self-service ticketing machines will reduce the number of people necessary to provide these services," the burea notes. "Applicants for these jobs are likely to encounter competition in part because of the low entry requirements and good travel benefits offered by many companies in the travel industry." The bureau also notes that jobs in the travel industry can be strongly affected by changes in the U.S. economy.
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Reservation and Transportation Ticket Agents and Travel Clerks
- CareerBuilder: Reservation Sales Agent Jobs in Charleston, South Carolina
- CareerBuilder: Delta Air Lines Reservation Sales Agents
- CareerBuilder: Domestic Reservation Agents
- CareerBuilder: Contact Center Sales Agent Jobs