How to Become a Travel Coordinator: Education and Career Roadmap
Learn how to become a travel coordinator. Research the education requirements, training information and experience you will need to start a career as a travel coordinator.
Requirements for Travel Coordinators
Travel coordinators make domestic and international transportation and lodging arrangements for an organization's employees. Job duties could include reserving hotel rooms and rental cars and booking airline flights. Travel coordinators could also handle expense reports, reconcile corporate credit card statements and, in some cases, schedule meetings. The following table describes the core requirements for a career as a travel coordinator.
|Degree Level||No degree required*|
|Experience||Minimum requirements can range from 2-3 years of experience*|
|Key Skills||Organizational and communication skills, multi-tasking abilities, a strong attention to detail*|
|Computer Skills||Ability to used computerized reservation systems (CRS) and global distribution systems (GDS), including Sabre, Apollo, Worldspan and Amadeus**|
Sources: *Job postings by employers (October 2012), **American Automobile Association (AAA).
Step 1: Complete a Travel Agent Training Program
Most travel coordinator positions require previous experience making accommodations for large groups. One way to meet this stipulation is to take on a job as a travel agent. Because employers often prefer to hire those who've received some formal training, consider completing a community college's travel agent certificate or diploma program. Some professional organizations, such as the American Automobile Association (AAA), The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), also offer training courses.
Topics of study include general procedures for investigating travel options and using computerized reservation systems. Students might also gain an understanding of lodging and transportation industry operations as well as the documentation required for international travel.
- Research state licensure requirements. According to the Houston Chronicle, a handful of states require travel agents to become licensed before selling travel services. Applicants generally need to submit an application and pay a fee.
Step 2: Gain Work Experience
After completing their formal training, aspiring travel coordinators can begin acquiring the necessary experience by working for 2-3 years as a travel or booking agent. Most of these professionals work with reservation services, though 14% were self-employed in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A travel agent's job duties include working with individual clients or small groups to determine itineraries as well as make hotel, rental car, cruise or airline reservations. Other responsibilities include preparing travel documents, creating travel packets and addressing last-minute changes, cancellations or travel emergencies.
- Join a professional organization. Professional organizations like the ASTA and The Travel Institute provide continuing education and networking opportunities to prospective travel coordinators. They might also offer certification programs that could help them improve their efficiency and customer service skills. For example, The Travel Institute awards the entry-level Certified Travel Associate credential to those who pass an exam after earning 18 months of work experience.
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