Are you crazy about travel and want to turn your passion into your profession? If you love traveling and consider yourself an organized person who enjoys helping others plan their trips, a career in travel may be right for you.
The fascinating tourism industry offers a broad range of career opportunities, from travel agents to accommodation and hospitality managers. There are options for a huge variety of professional profiles, but whatever area of the travel sector you decide to go into, these are four things you should know before you start your career in travel:
1. You will be facing challenges
The tourism industry is always evolving, and if you want to have a successful career in this field, you will need to be flexible, learn fast, and be able to adapt quickly to the changes.
The travel and tourism industry has gone through significant changes within the last decade. Both the global economic crisis and the eruption of online bookings have had an enormous effect on this sector. Today’s travelers expect complete transparency and personalization from their travel providers. The new, young travelers have less money and more time than other generations before them. And more importantly, they are more internet savvy.
An excellent example of the transformation of this industry is the rise of the sharing economy, which has left out of the equation many traditional travel companies. The competition is huge in the travel sector and adjusting to the new changes is vital to success.
It is crucial to keep this in mind if you are planning to start your career in travel and hospitality. To keep you ahead of the curve, think about where you want to be in ten years and remember that the travel industry changes very fast.
2. Specialized services are in demand
According to The World Travel & Tourism Council, in 2014, travel and tourism directly supported over 105 million jobs and it is expected to rise year after year. Such an enormous industry is massively segmented and focusing on a niche market is becoming increasingly necessary to succeed. When you concentrate on a particular group of people, you get to know your potential clients better, making it easier to adapt your products or services to their needs and wants.
According to the book “Design and Launch an Online Travel Business in One Week” by Charlene Davis and Entrepreneur Press, today’s hottest specialty travel opportunities include eight growing travel markets. These are adventure travel and outdoor excursions, luxury travel, for women only, “mancations” or men-only vacations, “honeymooners”, “grandtravel” or trips taken with grandchildren, disabled travelers, and traveling with pets.
When you start your career in travel and you know the exact niche market you want to work with, it is recommended to develop your skills in that particular area to become an expert. But when you are not 100% sure of what your ideal job is – and this happens more often than not – it may be a better idea to acquire wider skills and try a few different jobs until you get a better understanding of the industry and what area you would rather work on.
3. It is possible to make six figures
According to Kimberly Ramsawak, founder of Tourism Exposed, “Like many industries, entry-level positions in tourism may pay minimum wages.” However, “tourism positions above entry-level often pay well in comparison to other industries.”
And as she demonstrates, “Many factors will determine exactly what you’ll earn, such as job location, cost of living, type of business or organization, specific position type and stage, your skills, and training. Travel agent salaries, for instance, can range from the mid $30,000s to $100,000 a year. Yes, it is possible for a travel agent to make six figures!”
As Kimberly explains on her site, it will all depend on the type of travel agent you are trying to be and the steps you’re willing to take to master the art of success in your niche.
4. The way you travel will change
If you want to be in the travel business, you probably love to travel. However, something you should remember before you start your career in tourism is that you will never travel like you used to do. Your eyes will be open to detect new ideas for your clients and you will be continuously absorbing information not only for your personal pleasure, but also to apply it in the professional world.
When you work in the travel industry and you are visiting a new place, your perspective will be slightly different from the regular tourist’s point of view. You will pay attention to details you haven’t noticed before and your expectations will be higher. For instance, if you work in hospitality yourself, you will be more aware of a hotel’s arrangements. And if you come across any issues with your accommodation, you will know exactly who you need to talk to and how you should sort it out.
Overall, it is a great time to start a career in the fascinating travel industry. Not only are the number of job opportunities continuing to rise, but the types or roles in the industry are evolving and becoming more attractive. In this sense, young professionals have a chance to acquire the necessary skills and prepare themselves to offer the new and fresh perspective that so many travel companies are demanding at the moment.
Featured photo credit: Moyan Brenn via flickr.com