There several types of position available to those with travel consulting experience; one category that many people consider is business travel jobs. In some ways, these are very similar to commercial travel agent jobs. For instance, typical positions require worldwide booking experience, with familiarity in systems like Sabre and Galileo, as well as domestic experience, which especially includes familiarity with rail networks. However, there are several key differences, and those considering a career in the field should be aware of these before applying for a position.
While commercial travel agents make bookings for every kind of customer imaginable, those in business travel jobs typically are dealing with certain demographics: adults, often travelling alone or in small groups. Few business bookings involve entire families; a business travel consultant will almost never book for a very young person or a very elderly person travelling alone. The ability to make arrangements for disabled individuals is, however, very important.
Not all business travel jobs require round-the-clock availability, but some do. While a commercial travel agent’s job is often finished once the customer is underway, with on-holiday issues resolved by another department, consultants are more likely to be tasked with handling the entire trip from booking to successful return into the office. If difficulties are encountered en-route, such as cancellations or delays, or plans are changed at the last-minute, the consultant must often be on hand to resolve these issues as speedily as possible. This requires not only a willingness to receive phone calls and potentially work in the middle of the night or on weekends, but the ability to make the most effective booking on the spot.
Learning the Accounts
Travel agencies often have repeat clients, for whom remembering previous preferences is a valuable relationship-building tactic; in business travel jobs, this skill is taken up a level. Those in business travel jobs are expected to not have to refer to their notes every time they make a travel arrangement. They should know that one individual is vegetarian and prefers a private taxi from airports to the hotel, or that another prefers train travel where possible, and so on. This knowledge enables them to work as quickly as possible. This is an essential part of the process of establishing trust: the individuals in the company must be able to place a high level of trust in their consultants’ efficiency.
A client often comes to a travel agent with a budget, which varies in flexibility, so the skill of keeping booking arrangements within a certain range of expenses is one required by all travel agents. However, some business travel jobs add a new dimension: budgeting over time. There are several ways that budgeting is handled in the field, such as the agent being given a budget per trip, but many are given a monthly or annual budget for the company, department or individual. Managing this is a crucial skill, so that the budget is not exceeded without good reason.