Travel agents find and book holidays for hard-working individuals and families. Many people who live in the United Kingdom choose this job path because there are no requisite qualifications--but there is, however, the possibility of earning a lot of money. This combination makes being a travel agent an attractive employment opportunity.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- U.K. visa
- Sufficient money to support yourself while job-hunting
Save enough money to support yourself prior to moving to the U.K. Becoming a travel agent in the U.K. requires no special training, so you will need to prove to the immigration department that you have the financial means to support yourself while you look for a job as a travel agent. Once all the official paperwork is completed, you can then relocate to the U.K.
Apply for jobs as soon as you arrive. Do a wide search of the U.K., because this will provide more prospects of finding employment. (Keep in mind that you may have to relocate for your new job.) Try to keep your search to travel agencies with "ABTA" membership. The Association of British Travel Agents governs the travel agency business in the U.K.
Show potential employers you have the skills and experience in customer service and/or sales, because these are essential criteria for travel agents. While you search for travel agent positions, accrue job-related experience or add to your previous experience by getting a temporary position in customer service or sales.
Prepare well for interviews with prospective travel agency employers. Emphasise your personal qualities, such as well-honed organizational skills and the ability to deal with people and situations under pressure. During interviews, make a point of mentioning specific employment situations in which you have used these qualities. Employers often consider personal qualities more than qualifications.
Start working and continue training through your employer. Listen to any advice or suggestions he or she offers and make an effort to implement and incorporate them into your work style. In addition, find out if any local colleges offer travel agent courses. Complete these courses, keeping in mind that they are important to your professional development.
Apply for membership in the "Accredited Travel Professional Scheme," offered via ABTA. Continue your professional development through this valuable resource.
Start your own travel agency after you have gained enough experience in the U.K. market. Join ABTA as a travel agency business. (Keep in mind that ABTA has specific financial requirements for travel agents who want to become members.) Build your own website and/or establish an office and begin selling holidays on your own.
Tips and warnings
- Start the visa process well in advance of when you want to move to the U.K. Applications can take some time, depending on your circumstance. Access the U.K. Border Agency website for more information.
- Prepare to start your travel agent career at a low basic salary. Salaries can differ widely, of course, depending on your employer. However, remember that travel agents earn most of their money through commission.
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