How to Become a Travel Agency Manager

How to Become a Travel Agency Manager

Like many careers, there are many different paths to becoming a travel agency manager; this career is open to pretty much anyone with a combination of practical experience and/or relevant education, as well as strong customer service, personnel and financial management skills.


This work would involve overseeing staff, resolving customer complaints, managing budgets and marketing activities, and ensuring the operational success of a travel agency.


This field also offers the ability to work in the travel and tourism industry, diverse opportunities for advancement, as well as potential opportunities for travel agency ownership. 


If travel agency management sounds like a promising career field so far, then read on below; we’ll fill you in on the details, such as how you can get into this profession, how much you could earn, and of course, what you’d be doing once you get there.



Education and Experience Qualifications 

The qualifications for becoming a travel agency manager can vary from job to job. For example, some employers may only require that you have a high school diploma combined with experience in a travel agency, or other relevant sales or management experience (such as working for a hotel, airline, or other tourism, travel or hospitality organization).


Other employers however, will require that you have a certificate, diploma or degree in a field that can teach you skills and competencies that are relevant to this field, possibly still combined with relevant experience. Such fields of study can include:


• Travel, tourism or leisure studies

• Social, economic or business studies

• Marketing, management, or general business

• Business with languages

• Human geography


Success Tip: If you have a degree in a related field, you can always start in an entry-level position with a travel agency and move your way up into a management position. Some organizations may even expect this ambition, and will provide you with the necessary training. 




Other Requirements 

In addition to education and/or experience, some employers might also require that you are able to meet various other requirements in order to work as a manager. Such requirements may include:


• Fluency in a second language

• Travel experience

• The ability to pass a criminal record check

• A valid driver’s license



Who Creates Jobs for Travel Agency Managers?

The following types of organizations are the most common employers for travel agency managers:


• Retail travel agencies

• Wholesale tour companies

• Transportation and tourism companies

• Travel insurance companies

• Hotel chains

• Government tourist boards

• Self-employment as a consultant, owner-operator, or web-based travel agency operator



Career Advancement Possibilities

There is a wide variety of career advancement opportunities available in this field, if you exhibit competence and motivation in your work. For example, some opportunities may include:


• An increase in pay, commissions or bonuses

• Moving into an area/regional manager role

• Moving into a specialized area with a large organization, such as PR, human resources or marketing

• Relocating abroad to forge links with travel partners overseas

• Becoming an owner/operator of your own agency

• Moving into areas such as tourism education or research (possibly with additional education or training)

• Moving into management positions in the wider tourism industry, including hotels, leisure facilities, airlines and cruise ships

• Managers with a degree have a range of postgraduate opportunities open to them, including courses in leisure and business subjects.


Please Note: It may be necessary to relocate to gain promotion, especially when working for larger companies. If you're working for a smaller, independent company it might be necessary to move to another company for promotion.



Is This Career Right for You?

To succeed as a travel agency manager, and to enjoy what you do, you should have the following attributes:


• You have a strong commitment to customer service

• You can deal with the general public with patience and positivity 

• You have an interest in a career with varied opportunities for advancement 

• You enjoy overseeing the work of others

• You’re well organized and can manage a budget

• You have a keen interest in travel and hospitality 

• You have an interest in sales and management 

• You're willing to be accountable for the success of the agency



Details of this Career: General Job Description

As a travel agency manager, you would be responsible for sales development, staff and financial management, as well as day-to-day operational management of an agency that promotes and sells holiday and travel service packages.  



General Job Duties

Although your specific job duties would vary, you could expect to be responsible for the following as a travel agency manager:


• Meeting regularly with company directors to provide feedback on branch & staff performance; and to take direction

• Ordering sales literature, stationery & disposables to ensure the efficient running of the branch

• Planning and directing all promotional and marketing activities for the business

• Developing and managing the budget for the business

• Maintaining statistical and financial records

• Selling travel products and tour packages

• Responding to customer inquiries, comments and complaints

• Liaising with travel partners, including airlines and hotels, to manage bookings and schedules

• Satisfying customer demand by sourcing travel products and destinations

• Maintaining current knowledge of customer demand and interest for specialty products and packages, such as for sustainable tourism

• Controlling selection, training and supervision of staff

• Ensuring compliance with occupational health and safety regulations



Typical Salary for Travel Agency Managers

The salary level you could earn as a travel agency manager can vary, typically depending on the following factors:


• Your professional qualifications (your level of relevant education, experience, etc.)

• The size and budget of your employer

• The region in which you work

• The scope of your job duties and functions

• The type of remuneration package you are offered (such as if you are entitled to bonuses, financial benefits, etc.) 


Travel Agency Manager Salary in Canada: According to a salary survey conducted by PayScale, the average salary level of Canadians working as Travel Agency Managers is $45,857 per year. This data is based on 41 salary survey respondents.


Salary in the United Kingdom: According to Prospects, Travel Agency Managers typically earn between £15,000 and £23,000 per year.



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Typical Work Environment

Working Hours: Your working hours would likely reflect the operating hours of your agency, which could involve working evenings and weekends, or early mornings. Shift work may also be required, depending on the size and hours of your agency, such as if you work for a 24-7 call centre based agency.


Work Setting: Your work would be based in an office setting, which may be out of your own home. Jobs are typically available in most areas (rural and urban). There would be occasional travel within a work day, or even overseas travel on occasion, sometimes at fairly short notice, although regular absence from home on an overnight basis is uncommon.


Working Conditions: There would be an emphasis on meeting sales and productivity targets for your work, which might be stressful. Uniforms and/or a smart appearance would be required in most agencies or organizations.



Careers Similar to ‘Travel Agency Manager’

Listed below are occupations in our database that have similar responsibilities, and/or require similar skills, or are in the same sector of industry, as Travel Agency Manager:


• Retail Manager

• Sales Manager

• Tourism Officer

• Tourism Promoter

• Tour Guide

• Travel Agent

• Travel Writer



References for this Career Guide

The following resources were drawn from in the preparation of this How to Become a Travel Agency Manager career guide:


• “Job Profiles: Travel Agency Manager” AGCAS Editors, (September, 2014). Prospects. Retrieved July 28, 2019.

• “Travel Agency Manager Salary (Canada).” (March 17, 2016). PayScale. Retrieved July 28, 2019.

• “Travel Agency Manager Job Australia.” (n.d.). Australian Visa Bureau. Retrieved July 28, 2019.

• “Occupational Profile: Travel Counsellor.” (n.d.). Alberta Government: Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved July 28, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Travel Agency Manager

The Applicable Majors section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as a travel agency manager. You can search for scholarships matched to that/those fields of study on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Travel Agency Manager: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the college/university majors listed below can be helpful (or necessary) for becoming a travel agency manager. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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