Another difficult question if you have no prior knowledge of working in a travel agency but if you think back to when you used one for your own travel booking then maybe there was some part of the arrangement that did not go as smoothly as you would have liked. The one main thing that springs to mind in this heady world of technology and comparable websites etc. is competition. Before the internet it was more straight forward for the travel agency on the high street to have the monopoly over the best flights and hotels etc. but now there is so much competition and access for even the traveler themselves to hunt for the best deals and order everything themselves that travel agents have to be on top of their game and know the best prices and offers available all the time so they can compete successfully along with everyone else.
"Answer example, "Deciding where to send clients when there are so many great options! (Smile!) It is a pleasure to be a travel agent!"
If the interviewer is going to hire you over and above all the other candidates they will want to see commitment you are there for a career and not just a job fill-in. Employers do not want to train you up and put you into costly projects for further progression if you are just going to up sticks and leave them in the lurch taking all your skills and knowledge with you at their expense. There is always a risk to the employer that will happen but they will be looking out for it in your answer. Impress on them you can see this as a long term career and that you are happy to learn inside the job but you are also keen to pursue further education and even a degree to achieve your goals. Degree courses are available in other relevant topics such as tourism, business administration, hospitality and even geography. Learning another language might also be useful as well as joining a professional organization i.e. The American Society of Travel Agents. if you show longevity in your cause to further your career in travel and tourism this should surely impress the interviewer.
"Answer example, "I strive to deliver the best possible service to my clients and create memorable, lasting experiences with each and every trip they take through my planning. I always seek to exceed my sales expectations and I would like to grow within the travel industry business to take on more responsibilities in the next five years."
The interviewer is trying to establish how well you interact with customers. This is of course of paramount importance because when it comes to a personal holiday a person booking their trip can turn into a different animal as everything must be just perfect in an imperfect world! Building up a good rapport between customer and agent is essential because you have to put an air of "everything is fine" even if you find that the airline is overbooked and the hotel is still being built! If you make the customer relaxed and at ease from the start and ensure them that all the practical details will be taken care of that and that all they need to concern themselves with is their factor 10 and some good reading matter! The customer feels that they have worked hard all year to earn a break and they expect the agent to work their magic which they normally do!
"everything is fine"
"Answer example, "It is the most important thing to me! Relationship building gone right makes all the difference."
The interviewer wants to employ a person who is very knowledgeable about world travel because if you have experienced the places you are recommending yourself then you are in a better position to sell those places to other people. New York, Statue of Liberty and Las Vegas won't cut it. The interviewer is looking for somewhere more adventurous and wide-spread. Back-packing in the Himalayas, Crete, Hadrian's Wall in the North East of England. That shows a broader outlook and not just sun-bathing on a beach which isn't ideal for some holiday makers. The interviewer hasn't asked if you have visited them, just your favorites, so do some research beforehand and come up with some intriguing places which will show you are adventurous and adaptable to any request.
"Answer example, "My personal top three travel destinations are Fuji, Australia and Amsterdam."
This is another question that should be answered in a factual way. No ego's or attitude is appropriate here. Honesty and integrity showing certain vulnerability might be the best way to go with this one. Match up your key skills with what the job description is asking for and add some additional strengths you could bring to the role. Mention that you are well traveled and that you have good knowledge of Countries and different cultures. Impress the interviewer enough to take you on as opposed to other candidates.
"Answer example, "I love what I do and I cannot wait to deliver great value and fun customer experiences to your organization!"
Let's face it to be a travel agent you couldn't have a personality of a shrinking violet! You would have to have personal skills where you were outgoing, vivacious with a happy disposition. Hopefully, selling travel is a pleasurable occupation because you are dealing with people who have probably been saving for many months to be able to spend their hard earned money on a wonderful relaxing holiday or a business person has to go on a business trip and wants to arrive at their destination as fresh and ready for a six hour lecture as possible. If you convey a personable and sunny outlook with an assertive manner then you will immediately put the traveler at ease with the knowledge they are in good hands so they can relax and leave you to get on with your job whilst they can get on with theirs. That is how a successful interaction happens and everyone leaves happy.
"Answer example, "Definitely! People are what make my work so rewarding! I love interacting with all different types of people from all walks of life."
Being a travel agent you have to know how to sell both products and services. The product is the holiday or travel package and the services is all the extras that go with that and the interviewer is looking to see that you can be versatile by doing both. From a sales person's point of view as a travel agent half of your task is done already. The customer knows what they want, when they want and how they want. You have not had to go out wearing out shoe leather finding a cold caller or a pointless lead. The customer has come to you as you have the product i.e. the holiday and they want that! The skills you can enhance are the techniques you use to make them add on the luxury extras. You can put a personal slant on it making out that you or a friend have experienced this wonderful day trip to a tropical island...pulling at the heartstrings is always a winner! At the end of the day your objective is to make your customer have the most pleasurable holiday or trip they possibly can so if you can embellish that experience with little extras which you will gain commission on then everyone will be happy and they will recommend your agency to their friends and the cycle of happy holiday experiences continues.
"Answer example, "Simply put, I ask for the sale. My process is to probe, listen, demonstrate options and ask for the sale."
Be careful how you answer this question. Being negative about a job and an employer that you are trying to give all the best impressions is a tricky one as you don't want your answer to be personally set against you if you are hoping to be offered the position! Try and come up with an aspect beyond your control like the red tape and all the paperwork and jurisdiction you have to go through when obtaining visas and permission grants to volatile foreign places. That way it is not something personal (like not enough coffee breaks!) so the interviewer will not be able to think you might have a lazy attitude if they employed you.
"Answer example, "If and when a client's vacation plans go wrong, it is never a pleasant experience for anyone. I am never happy when something happens that potentially upsets my client's vacation plans. Lucky for me, this rarely occurs and when it does, we have a great customer care team that helps resolve the matter promptly."
The interviewer is wanting to hear how you are going to cope with different tasks and deadlines and whether they can be performed without major supervision. The best way to start to plan and prioritize your work is to write down your thought processes, outlining the most urgent tasks and when they should be done in the time-scales provided. Show to the interviewer that you can multi-task, be aware of the urgency levels and meet performance exacting standards and be prepared to talk about all your coping mechanisms.
"Answer example, "I plan, organize and prioritize based on the work load and deadlines. I often have multiple projects happening at once so my expertise in doing these things well determines my success."
Ahh, that's better, a nice positive question to answer for a change! All the things you enjoy working in a travel agency can be mentioned as well as those that give you personal pleasure and satisfaction i.e. watching the smiles on the family's faces when their travel plans went better than they ever expected, the e-mail note of appreciation for the extra stops you pulled out to change a hotel that didn't have a sea view but a sight of the garbage cans! The meeting of all the generally nice customers who have saved up their hard earned money for a trip of a lifetime etc. etc. Anything that will show the interviewer you would enjoy the job and the maximum benefit you would gain from it all if you were given the chance.
"Answer example, "The freedom to control my own compensation with work that is a pleasure. Who doesn't love vacation!? It is rewarding to create those experiences for my clients!"
There is the popular adage "The customer always is right" and if you are placed in a customer service role unfortunately you have to abide by that under most circumstances. The harsh truth is that the customer is not always right they can at times be very wrong but as they pay your wages it is down to you to overcome the personality clash that lead to the friction. The sooner the issue is resolved the better so start with listening to their grievance, sympathize and try to come up with a compromise and if necessary negotiate. Giving your one hundred and ten per cent attention to the customer makes them feel important and hopefully your empathy will rub off on them and they will start calming down and the issue will hopefully be diffused and brought to a satisfactory conclusion.
"The customer always is right"
"Answer example, "I do a lot of listening. I listen, empathize and find a solution to their issues. Difficult customers are my favorite because I enjoy turning their experiences around into positive ones."
A dictionary definition of the word ethics is "moral principles that govern a person's behavior or the conducting of an activity. This question is meant to put the candidate on the spot and to confuse them as to why it is actually being asked. It is to identify how much moral fiber you have and intentionally can put you on tilt if taken by surprise. Don't let this faze you. Be prepared and be ready to impress the interviewer with true and traceable answers. Ensure you state which situation you faced; the actions you took and the personal attributes you used to get the results you wanted. In a travel agency you might have an occasion where it is announced at the last minute that one traveler is disabled and you need to swiftly ensure that all the arrangements you have made can accommodate disabled travel. If part of the trip is disrupted then spontaneously issuing travel vouchers as a compensation would be a kind and moralistic act.
"Answer example, "The agency was running a special to close vacation deals for Greece. We were to promote these packages and close sales to the best of our abilities. While this was great and important to me, this one couple I was working with wanted a better deal. Rather than talking them into a trip they might not be as happy with, I worked with them past the promotion period to plan a great vacation to Italy."
This could be an uncomfortable question to answer and that is exactly why the interviewer has asked it, they want to put you on the spot and see how you handle it! Weaknesses are negatives and you never want to show a potential employer the chinks in your armor but there they are asking you to tell them your failings. Approach this head on. Answer this question honestly because everyone have flaws but turn it to your advantage by relating something a little on a level ground and not necessarily relating to the job. This shows that you can highlight a weakness but impress on the interviewer that you are taking great pains to overcome this. rather than saying you have a fear of flying, which of course would be detrimental to working in a travel agency; you could say that you have also wanted to play the violin but you are annoying the neighbors so you are actively looking to take some lessons! That shows a weakness but it also shows a strength as you are prepared to rectify the problem.
"Answer example, "I care a great deal about my clients so I overwork myself at times to make sure they are happy. I could also rely more on my customer care teams to handle tasks related to package deals which I typically do because I like to ensure everything goes right."
Working in a travel agency there are certain structured tasks to follow. When a customer walks through the door they are specific in what they are looking for and it is your job to transfer that into actual travel arrangements which means precise detailed methodical details. Planning itineraries to fit with the times of the plane arrivals and departures, making sure the transport is awaiting the traveler's arrival for smooth hotel pick-ups, and the same for excursion arrangements. Time management skills are imperative with this line of work and paying meticulous attention to detail is very important to the success of each travel booking made. Give an example of a task in a previous job or pastime where you have had to pay attention to detail i.e. if you wanted to frame a piece of artwork you would need to carefully measure the canvas and calculate how much excess you would need to go around the edges and pull taut over the stretcher bars. Even if you were only a couple of millimeters out with the calculations this could mean the canvas doesn't fit so the artwork is ruined and so stock is wasted and expensive to replace.
"Answer example, "I pride myself on taking good care of the details! Recently a client was planning a family reunion for over 300 people and without my attention to detail, the whole package would have been a disaster. I planned an itinerary for each member and delivered the group a successfully executed weekend!"
The interviewer is looking to see if you have any prior knowledge of working in a travel agency before. They need to prove that you have previous experience on booking travel reservations and relevant visas, putting together travel packages and researching suitable vacation destinations as well as having a broad knowledge of countries and the different cultures. The same personal experiences can be drawn on if you haven't had any previous travel agency experiences.
"Answer example, "Absolutely! I have over seven years experience as a travel agent. Prior to that, I worked in commission sales, which is a very similar role."
How imaginative are you? You probably wonder why an interviewer would ask this question as it is totally personal and free choice. They are trying to find out how imaginative you are so go wild! For a position in a travel agents you can come up with something very exotic or a dream location you have always wanted to visit but has always been out of your reach. This time, money is no object so you can be as adventurous as you like!
"Answer example, "That is a great question! If I could visit one place for the rest of my life, it would most likely be any ocean side beach, somewhere in a Caribbean."
This is quite a common question for an interviewer to ask as they want to hear if you can describe a work colleague conflict and how you handled it. They are also looking to see how you handle working with changing personalities in a team environment. Talk about how you reached your ultimate solution and any lessons you learned from that. Describe a situation where you were in a leadership role and you asked a colleague to perform a task and you were taken aback by their response. They thought you were being too over dramatic about the deadline until you pointed out that there was a holiday break at the end of the week so the time-line had just got squeezed. They backed down and the confrontation was resolved. You do not want to be too dramatic in your answer because you do not want to put yourself in the wrong light as being trouble so this will show the interviewer an example of only a mild contretemps rather than a full-on conflict but it will still highlight that you have vision to think ahead and diffuse a situation before it escalates.
"Answer example, "I have this wonderful client who is particularly specific about the type of traveling she does. I love a good challenge so it is a pleasure to meet her specific needs - for her and her small Pomeranians that she travels with."
If you do not have any previous travel agency experience try and find out or think of a personal trip you might have assisted in planning, i.e. A weekend break to New York with internal flights to LA and a stop off visiting relatives etc. At least this shows to the interviewer that you have some sense of how gathering together an itinerary works. For the more experienced, add the more specific tasks i.e. selling the tour packages by choosing the right destination with lots of excursions and day tours, planning appropriate transportation and accommodation, firm up travel dates, make detailed itineraries and sell these tour packages. Resolving any clients' travel issues.
"Answer example, "The last itinerary tour package I planned, described, arranged and sold was a beautiful all inclusive vacation to Punta Cana Dominican Republic for a couple planning their destination wedding for their entire family and friends. It was a pleasure to be apart of their big day and ensure everything went seamless!"
The only answer to this is yes or no which if you give a negative response might go against you so try to back it up by saying that if you were only taking the job on a commission basis then it would be an incentive to work extra hard to get the best sales as your salary would reflect this. Turn a negative into a positive!
"Answer example, "Absolutely! I am motivated and driven by my own performance. Commission compensation lets me control my own income, which is something I enjoy very much."
Another personal choice. The interviewer wants to see how well traveled you are as working in a travel agency you need to be a happy traveler! Spread out your choices so it can show you have a broad knowledge of different countries and cultures.
"Answer example, "Some of my favorite traveling destinations include Hawaii, Spain, Italy, France and New York City."
Asking this question the interviewer is testing what forms of advertising you are familiar with. The most obvious method in this technology age is social media and networking sites. One can also use high quality printing material like flyers and booklets advertising the agency and their products but that is not so popular these days when the internet can be accessed anywhere at any time in any Country. A well designed website promoting the agency and the latest deals is immediate and will reach the customers when they are relaxing and thinking about nice thing like booking a holiday of a life-time. Being at the right place at the right time is the best way to promote the most profitable sale.
"Answer example, "Word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising! I gain a lot of business through existing, repeat clients who are happy with their travel experiences. I also leverage my own professional network, as well as social media platforms."
Being a travel agent you are technically a sales person as you are selling a customer's desire for a dream holiday. You make the magic happen by selling them the best travel packages and beating the competition. A previous job in sales will show you are confident and persuasive in closing the best deals. If you have previous sales and marketing experience either face to face or over the phone cold calling or following up leads this will hold you in good stead because if you have done telemarketing then you will have no hang-ups about first point of call contacts and you will have knowledge of how the sales and marketing processes work in general so you can transfer those skills to travel related issues.
"Answer example, "Working as a travel agent is a lot of sales work. My clients are always looking for great deals and to plan trips for their families. I am constantly selling different destinations and walking them through features and benefits as related to the trip they are looking for."
It might be wise to find out what tastes your customer has first. It is no point in raving about a wonderful exotic beach holiday when they hate sun bathing and prefer to hit the slopes! It is a good idea though to pool your personal experiences with personal recommendations once you know what would inspire the traveler. When you have a good experience to recall it is always the best way to recommend a place as you are just not looking something up in a book or the internet you can bring the resort alive by telling them the quirky wonderful things they could discover that would not be revealed on the websites!
"Answer example, "I enjoy listening to the wants and needs of my clients, then refining their search with a few select recommendations. If they want a family friendly getaway, I will suggest a variety of resorts in the Caribbean that are all inclusive and have activities for the kids. If a couple is looking for a romantic getaway, I will suggest a trip to Paris, France or Madrid, Spain."
The interviewer is looking out for your key skills in relation to the job description so in a travel agency one of the key skills you should possess is showing good customer service and interpersonal communication because during the booking procedure of a holiday you may come into contact with people of all ages and different personalities. Adjacent to that a quick learner and an eager agile mind is necessary and also someone who can adapt easily to different scenarios. Being a well spirited team player is also a useful requisite as this will show an all round well grounded personality who should get on in any situation. Try and sell yourself in the best possible way by showing all-round strengths that are pertinent to the job role you have applied for.
Ideally, the interviewer is looking for an all-rounder with all the required skills and have wonderful communication skills. As there will always be stiff competition and other candidates nipping at your heals you have to come over with your answers in the best way possible so prepare beforehand. Ask yourself are you self motivated? Are you a team player? Are you sociable and enjoy traveling and enjoy sharing your experiences? Do you find it easy to talk and communicate with people of all ages and nationalities etc? If the answer to these questions is yes, then your communication skills are likely strong enough and you possess the correct attributes to work in a travel agents and impress the interviewer.
"Answer example, "Communication is critical to my success so I make sure I over communicate where possible. I'm a strong communicator and am always striving to be better!"
One of the most important personal traits an interviewer is looking out for is interpersonal skills especially in a travel agency. In this case during the whole interview process, the interviewer is not only trying to establish if you have the right skills and knowledge for the job but also how you interact with others. How do you see yourself in the eyes of other people. With such a personal question you are opening yourself up to vulnerability and honesty and those are obvious positive traits an interviewer is looking out for. Try and be as professional as possible, there is a time and a place for banter and a sense of humor as you maybe answering questions to your new boss so you want to set the right impression. Try and mention that you worked well in a team but don't fabricate skills, don't say you were in a leadership role when you actually weren't as if you were tested you could fail and it would be embarrassing and not make a good first impression. Keep your answers concise but positive, communication skills; you were kind, helpful, methodical in your approaches; hard working and a quick learner. If you reach the second stage of interviews these attributes could be checked out so keep everything factual.
"Answer example, "I have been told by others that I am enthusiastic, motivated and committed. I like to think these are the best words to describe me too."
Travel agents work in the travel industry. They help customers plan travel itineraries, and they also help them with travel and accommodation arrangements that fit within their budget. Some travel agents deal exclusively with flight and hotel bookings, while others also deal with train and bus bookings. They also help the client with booking a rental car at their destination.
A high school diploma is the minimum educational qualification required to become a travel agent. Taking some classes related to the travel industry will boost your employability. Travel agents must have excellent listening, organizational, sales, communication and customer-service skills. They must also be detail-oriented and adventurous.
In addition to asking you generic questions about why you chose this path and your career goals, most interviewers will also ask you to plan a detailed travel itinerary based on the mock information that they will give you. That is the best way for them to gauge whether or not you have what it takes to perform this job efficiently. To see more questions that interviewers routinely ask prospective travel agents, go to Mock Questions.