Travel agency manager: Job description and activities
Travel agency managers work in retail travel outlets offering consumer or business travel products. Responsibilities depend on the size of the organisation and the customer base but will include sales development, staff/financial management, and daily operational management. Experienced managers could work in specific functions such as product development or marketing.
Travel agencies can be small independent organisations, specialists with detailed knowledge of specific travel products and locations, or large chains offering a variety of travel options. Travel management is an increasingly competitive environment, as online bookings, consumer knowledge and individually tailored travel needs mean managers must be able to offer specialist, professional and competitive travel products. This has become more challenging with the turbulence of the global economic climate.
Typical work activities
All managers are responsible for developing strategies to hit or exceed sales targets, regardless of the size of the outlet or products offered. Depending on the size of the company and the specific managerial role, tasks could include:
• promoting and marketing the business, sometimes to new and 'niche' markets;
• managing budgets and maintaining statistical/financial records;
• selling travel products and tour packages;
• sourcing products and destinations to meet consumer demands for bespoke travel and sustainable tourism;
• taking part in familiarisation visits to new destinations in order to gain information on issues and amenities of interest to consumers;
• liaising with travel partners, including airlines and hotels, to manage bookings and schedules, often one year in advance;
• dealing with customer enquiries and aiming to meet their expectations;
• overseeing the smooth, efficient running of the business.
Whilst online bookings have opened up opportunities for home-based self-employment and can reduce the numbers of staff in retail outlets, the majority of managers still deal with staffing issues as a large part of their role. Following the collapse of some holiday airlines, there is evidence of customers returning to travel agents rather than booking on their own for more peace of mind.
Tasks concerning the management of travel agency staff typically involve:
• constantly motivating the sales team to hit their targets and thus ensure the profitability of the company;
• meeting regularly with team leaders to give them sales figures and plan how they approach their work;
• meeting company directors who advise on strategy and finding out about any local issues and future trends;
• overseeing the recruitment, selection and retention of staff as well as payroll matters and staff training;
• organising incentives, bonus schemes and competitions;
• communicating with sales consultants and providing encouragement, help and advice;
dealing with disciplinary matters and customer complaints.
A travel agency is a retail business, that sells travel related products and services to customers, on behalf of suppliers, such as airlines, car rentals, cruise lines, hotels, railways, sightseeing tours and package holidays that combine several products. In addition to dealing with ordinary tourists, most travel agencies have a separate department devoted to making travel arrangements for business travelers and some travel agencies specialize in commercial and business travel only. There are also travel agencies that serve as general sales agents for foreign travel companies, allowing them to have offices in countries other than where their headquarters are located
Types of agencies
There are three different types of agencies in the UK: Multiples, Miniples and Independent Agencies. The former comprises a number of national chains, often owned by international conglomerates, like Thomson Holidays, now a subsidiary of TUI AG, the German multinational. It is now quite common for the large mass-market tour companies to purchase a controlling interest in a chain of travel agencies, in order to control the distribution of their product. (This is an example of vertical integration.) The smaller chains are often based in particular regions or districts.
In the United States, there are four different types of agencies: Mega, Regional, Consortium and Independent Agencies. American Express and the American Automobile Association (AAA) are examples of mega travel agencies.
Independent Agencies usually cater to a special or niche market, such as the needs of residents in an upmarket commuter town or suburb or a particular group interested in a similar activity, such as sporting events, like football, golf or tennis.
There are two approaches of travel agencies. One is the traditional, multi-destination, out-bound travel agency, based in the originating location of the traveler and the other is the destination focused, in-bound travel agency, that is based in the destination and delivers an expertise on that location. At present, the former is usually a larger operator like Thomas Cook, while the latter is often a smaller, independent operator
The role of travel agency?
A travel agency organize your whole trip. Starting from guiding about a place, its attraction, history, climate, hotels, roots, food, nightlife till everything about the city. So that you can know in details before going to that place. They provide different packages according to your budget. They also book hotels for you to stay. So we should be very careful while choosing a travel agency