Becoming a travel agent in London has its perks. London is an affluent, cosmopolitan city. People from all over the world live there and, consequently, many people want to book flights back home at some point. Likewise, many native Londoners earn enough money to go on holiday at least once a year. Despite the inroads made recently by online travel agencies, a travel agent in London can make a comfortable living, with a number of perks.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
Consider why you want to become a trainee travel agent. There are no specific qualifications needed to become a travel agent, but it does involve a lot of face-to-face interaction and the starting wage is not great. You will, however, have access to numerous discount holidays for yourself, which is the main reason many go into the business.
Research local travel agents. Although there are still quite a few independent travel agents in London, it is worth starting out with a bigger firm, as smaller agencies often go bust. Thomas Cook and Thompson's are two of the oldest travel agents in the UK and have several branches in and around London.
Dress smartly and go around London handing in your CV at various branches. You can e-mail your CV, and this is advisable for the branches on the outskirts of London, but as a large part of a travel agent's job is customer interaction, it is useful to show potential employers that you are socially confident and presentable.
Investigate student travel firms like STA Travel. This is a particularly good idea if you are still quite young. STA Travel has branches on most London university campuses. As its clientele are students, STA Travel tends to employ younger staff who understand the mindset of the student traveller.
Look for jobs on travel agents' websites. Also check London community websites, such as Gumtree, which have specific job listings for those who want to work in travel. Do not wait around expecting an employer to contact you. Follow up on the CVs you handed out with a call and eventually you will land a job as a trainee travel agent.
Tips and warnings
- Online travel agents are steadily increasing their market share. Even big London travel agents like Thomas Cook and Thompson's are gradually moving more of their business online.
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