Travel agency manager
Travel agency managers work in retail travel outlets which promote and sell holidays and travel related products.
Travel agencies range from small independent businesses to large chains. Some specialise in business travel while others have detailed knowledge of specific locations or travel products.
Responsibilities for managers vary depending on the size of the organisation and the customer base, but will usually include:
- sales development;
- staff and financial management;
- daily operational management.
Travel agency managers must be able to offer specialist, professional and competitive travel products to meet the demands of the travel market, which includes online bookings and tailor-made trips.
As the larger travel companies close more of their high street shops to cut costs and focus on online sales, there are possibilites for independents to fill the gap.
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 or 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 to gather 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.
While 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.
Tasks concerning the management of travel agency staff typically involve:
- constantly motivating the sales team to hit their targets and ensure company profitability;
- 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.