Start your journey to an exciting career: how to become a travel consultant

From arranging flights and accommodations to recommending destinations and activities, travel consultants offer valuable expertise and personalized service to meet the diverse needs and preferences of travelers. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the steps and strategies around how to embark on a rewarding career as a travel consultant, from gaining relevant education and experience to honing essential skills and securing employment opportunities in the dynamic and exciting world of travel. 

Whether you’re passionate about exploring new destinations, helping others create unforgettable memories or thriving in a fast-paced and customer-centric environment, becoming a travel consultant offers endless opportunities for adventure, growth and fulfillment in the travel industry.

What does a travel consultant do?

A travel consultant, also known as a travel agent or travel advisor, plays a multifaceted role in the travel industry, assisting clients with planning and booking various travel arrangements. Below is an overview of the key responsibilities and tasks typically performed by travel consultants:

  • Client consultation: travel consultants begin by conducting thorough consultations with clients to understand their travel preferences, needs and budget constraints
  • Itinerary planning: based on the client’s preferences and requirements, travel consultants use their expertise and knowledge of destinations to create customized travel itineraries. They recommend destinations, attractions, activities and experiences that align with the client’s interests
  • Travel booking: agents help with all aspects of travel booking, including flights, accommodations, transportation (such as rental cars or transfers), tours, activities, travel insurance and any other travel-related services
  • Providing destination information: travel consultants offer expert advice and information about destinations, including local customs, culture, attractions, safety considerations, visa requirements, weather conditions and travel advisories
  • Handling travel logistics: advisors handle all logistical aspects of travel planning, such as coordinating flight schedules, confirming hotel reservations, arranging airport transfers and managing travel documents.
  • Customer service and support: throughout the travel process, travel consultants provide ongoing support and assistance to clients, addressing any questions, concerns or issues that may arise

Skills needed to be a travel consultant

Being a successful travel consultant requires a diverse set of skills and qualities to effectively meet the needs and preferences of clients while navigating the complexities of the travel industry. Most of these are soft skills which can be used in almost any field, but industry-specific knowledge is needed as well. Below are the key skills and attributes needed to excel in the role of a travel consultant:

  • Destination knowledge: travel consultants must have in-depth knowledge of various destinations, including popular tourist attractions, local customs, culture, cuisine, transportation options and travel regulations. They should stay updated on travel trends, emerging destinations and changes in visa requirements or travel advisories
  • Customer service excellence: exceptional customer service skills are essential for travel consultants to build rapport with clients, understand their needs and exceed their expectations. They should be friendly, approachable and attentive, providing personalized assistance and support to clients throughout the travel planning and booking process
  • Communication skills: consultants need to convey information clearly, listen actively to clients’ needs and preferences and negotiate with travel suppliers. They should be able to communicate confidently and professionally through various channels, including phone, email and in-person consultations
  • Attention to detail: this is essential for travel consultants to ensure accuracy in booking travel arrangements, including flights, accommodations and transportation. They should carefully review booking details, confirmations and travel documents to minimize errors and avoid disruptions during the client’s trip
  • Problem-solving abilities: travel consultants should be adept at problem solving and decision making to address unexpected issues or challenges that may arise before, during or after the client’s trip. They should remain calm under pressure, think creatively and find solutions quickly to resolve any travel-related problems or concerns
  • Organization and time management: it is important to be able to juggle multiple client inquiries, bookings and administrative tasks efficiently. Travel advisors need to prioritize tasks, meet deadlines and maintain accurate records to ensure smooth operations and client satisfaction

Education and training

If you want to get the right skills and knowledge needed to succeed as a travel advisor, there are plenty of training and educational options, including:

  • Degree programs: various academic institutions offer degree programs in hospitality management, tourism, travel and tourism management or business administration with a focus on travel and tourism. These provide comprehensive training in areas such as destination knowledge, customer service, sales, marketing and travel industry operations. A bachelor’s degree is typically preferred by employers for management roles, although associate degrees or diplomas may also be sufficient for entry-level positions
  • On-the-job training: some travel agencies and tour operators provide on-the-job training for newly hired travel consultants. Through hands-on experience and mentorship from experienced professionals, trainees learn essential skills such as booking travel arrangements, using reservation systems, interacting with clients and navigating industry regulations
  • Apprenticeships: a number of larger travel companies offer formal apprenticeship programs for individuals interested in pursuing a career as a travel consultant. These typically combine classroom instruction with practical training, allowing apprentices to gain valuable experience while earning a salary. Apprenticeships provide a structured pathway to entry-level positions and may lead to permanent employment upon completion
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Gaining relevant experience

Becoming familiar with the role through hands-on experience is crucial for aspiring travel consultants if they are to prepare for the demands of the industry and showcase their skills to potential employers. From entry-level positions to internships and volunteer opportunities, acquiring hands-on experience lays the foundation for a successful career in travel consultancy.

Entry level positions

Working in one of the following entry level positions can help you get experience within the field:

  • Travel agent assistant: positions such as travel agent assistant or travel coordinator provide valuable hands-on experience in the day-to-day operations of a travel agency or tour operator. Responsibilities may include assisting senior travel consultants with booking travel arrangements, managing client inquiries and maintaining booking records
  • Reservation agent: these agents work for airlines, hotels, rental car companies and other travel suppliers, handling customer inquiries, processing reservations and ensuring smooth travel experiences for clients. This role provides exposure to reservation systems, customer service techniques and industry-specific procedures

Internships and volunteer opportunities

It’s also possible to gain experience through internships and volunteering. Interning at a travel agency or tour operator allows aspiring travel consultants to gain practical experience and exposure to various aspects of the travel industry. Interns may assist with itinerary planning, customer service, sales support and administrative tasks under the guidance of experienced professionals. Some degree courses will offer you internships in management roles as part of your course.

Volunteering for organizations or events related to travel and tourism can also provide valuable experience and networking opportunities. For example, volunteering at travel expos, tourist boards or destination marketing organizations allows individuals to learn about different destinations, interact with travelers and develop customer service skills.

Advancing your career

Advancing your career

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There are various options you can consider for advancing your career in travel consultancy. This could be through working your way up to more senior roles or through gaining more qualifications and training.

Types of advancement for travel consultants

As a travel consultant gains experience and expertise, they can seek opportunities for vertical advancement within their current organization. This may involve taking on leadership roles, such as team lead or manager, overseeing a specific department or area of specialization or advancing to higher-level positions with increased responsibilities and compensation.

Travel consultants can also advance their careers by specializing in specific niches or areas of the travel industry. This could include focusing on luxury travel management, corporate travel, group travel, destination weddings, adventure travel or niche markets such as eco-tourism or culinary tourism. By specializing, travel consultants can develop in-depth knowledge and expertise in their chosen field, attract a loyal client base and command higher fees for their specialized services.

Continuing education and professional certifications

To advance their skills, agents can pursue advanced training programs, workshops or seminars in areas such as destinations, sales techniques, customer service excellence and industry trends. Many professional organizations and industry associations offer specialized training programs designed specifically for travel professionals.

Obtaining advanced professional certifications can boost credibility and demonstrate expertise in specific areas of travel consultancy. These could be certificates from travel industry organizations or master’s degrees to help boost your knowledge and employability.

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Building a reputation and client base

Being known as a trusted and reliable travel consultant requires consistently delivering exceptional service and exceeding client expectations. By providing personalized attention, expert advice and seamless travel experiences, travel consultants can earn positive reviews, referrals and repeat business from satisfied clients.

Successful travel consultants can also build a loyal client base by cultivating strong relationships with clients and maintaining regular communication. By staying in touch with clients, providing updates on travel deals and promotions and offering personalized recommendations based on their preferences, travel consultants can nurture long-term relationships and earn customers’ trust and loyalty.

Using technology and digital marketing strategies can help travel consultants expand their reach and attract new clients too. Building a professional website, maintaining active social media profiles and leveraging email marketing campaigns can help travel consultants showcase their expertise, promote their services and attract potential clients.


Becoming a travel consultant offers a pathway to a fulfilling and rewarding career in the vibrant travel industry. Through a combination of education, training, experience, and dedication, aspiring travel consultants can develop the skills and expertise needed to excel in their roles, provide exceptional service to clients and advance their careers over time. 

By following the strategies outlined in this guide, you can start on the path toward becoming a trusted travel advisor, creating memorable travel experiences and making a positive impact in the lives of your clients. With a passion for travel, perseverance and a commitment to continuous learning and improvement, the possibilities for success in the world of travel consultancy are limitless. If you want to get started in this exciting career, you should consider getting a hospitality degree from a respected school such as Les Roches. Or, if you are still undecided, take a look at other hospitality careers that you could consider with a business degree.

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