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How to Become a Corporate Travel Agent

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Corporate travel agents make travel plans for employees of corporate organizations and other business travelers. They must be knowledgeable about corporate travel management practices and possess a superb understanding of the global travel industry. A career as a corporate travel agent suits people with training in business travel, a passion for travel and excellent planning skills.

Get Relevant Training

  • The first step to enter this career is to pursue a travel agent program, such as the one offered at Penn Foster Career School in Pennsylvania. The five-month program provides training in travel scheduling, hotel booking, travel accounting and marketing principles. Pursuing at least an associate degree in travel and tourism can also give you a solid foundation. You can then supplement your training with business travel courses offered by professional organizations, such as the Global Business Travel Association’s, or GBTA’s, fundamentals of business travel management course.

Learn the Skills

  • You need to be a competent planner with a keen eye for detail to thrive in this profession. When dealing with a company that wants to send its top executives to a seminar in a foreign country, for example, you must make arrangements for their air travel and accommodation, taking note of client-specific preferences such as preferred seats on planes. If the company makes last-minute changes, such as adding more employees to the trip, you need customer-service skills to respond to the change with tact and professionalism. Many companies aim at minimizing corporate travel costs, so you need good research skills to, for instance, find providers with the best rates for business class air tickets and executive accommodations.

Enter the Industry

  • Early in your career, you will likely start by working for an established corporate travel agency as a general travel agent. Your roles may include answering telephones, calculating travel costs and collecting payments from clients. After gaining at least three years of business travel experience, obtain the GBTA’s Global Travel Professional certification to demonstrate your competence and increase your ability to attract corporate clients. With this credential, you can also qualify for employment in companies that hire in-house travel consultants. Alternatively, with sufficient capital, industry know-how and strong business skills, you can establish your own corporate travel agency.

Register Your Agency

  • Although in most states you normally need a general business license to operate a travel agency, in others — such as Florida, California and Washington — you need to meet additional registration requirements. In California, for example, you must obtain registration from the Attorney General’s Seller of Travel Registration Unit. Requirements for registration vary among these states, but generally include submitting your business’s physical address and contact information, and paying a registration fee and a surety bond.

How to Find Family Activities in Southwest Florida

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Southwest Florida counties border either the Gulf Coast or Lake Okeechobee, the second-largest freshwater lake in the country, according to the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council. The tropical weather allows residents and vacationers to enjoy the outdoors in every season. The Everglades National Park and the many coastal beaches attract outdoor lovers year-round. The region also offers many family-friendly attractions outside of water sports and beach-combing, as long as you know where to look.

Instructions

  1. Peruse the Parent and Child calendar, available in each issue of Southwest Florida Parent & Child. The periodical describes family activities and special events happening in a day-by-day format. The free magazine is available at more than 500 different spots, including all CVS locations in the Southwest Florida region as well as doctor offices and schools. To check things about before you travel, you can read the magazine online.
  2. Browse through the family fun attractions catalogued by the Southwest Florida Attractions Association. Since the association maintains a focus on grassroots marketing, their list will include ideas outside of the typical beach fun. Check out links to the Imaginarium Science Center, several museums of history and Zoomers Amusement Park. Many of the attraction websites sport a tab of special events, detailing the activities families should consider when planning a visit.
  3. Visit the Southwest Florida Fun Events Calendar. Written and maintained by a Southwest Florida resident, the list of attractions includes special tips and comments about the child-friendly or family-friendly nature of each activity. Click on the home page for a detailed Google calendar. Select an activity to display more detailed information. Sync the Southwest Florida Fun Events Calendar to your own Google calendar to stay current and up to date on family fun events in the region.

What Is Travel Management?

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Travel management encompasses a wide variety of business travel services for companies. In contrast to a standard travel agency that only handles hotel and flight or ground travel reservations, travel management companies offer comprehensive management services to companies covering everything from scheduling to shaping corporate travel policy.

Corporate integration

  • Travel management companies often partner with a company’s finance or administrative department to provide in-house services covering all aspects of the company’s business travel including the development of corporate policy and its implementation. Services can also include expense auditing, identifying tax issues, route planning and logistics. In addition, they can advise executives on updates and changes affecting the travel industry.

Strategic Partnerships

  • Through strategic partnerships with preferred vendors and the use of state of the art software and technology, travel managers manage vendor negotiations for the purpose of identifying discounts and acquiring the best rates on travel, including hotel packages, meals, taxis and car services for business travelers.

Global Connections

  • Travel management companies often have branch offices in other countries or partner with other international companies to provide important information for international business travelers. This information can include passport requirements, cultural customs, language translation, currency exchange, international laws, and traveler safety warnings.

All Inclusive Services

  • As a functioning department within a corporation, a travel management company maintains travel profiles and coordinates information on conferences, itineraries, travel authorizations, and allowable business expenses and can deliver data directly to employees using Web-based portals and integrating with popular software like Microsoft Outlook and Excel. The company can also manage business expense processes and forms upon the employees’ return.

Financial Planning and Management

  • In addition to providing travel services, a corporate travel management company provides comprehensive data and ongoing reporting on business travel expenses to assist companies with reviewing and budgeting corporate travel costs. They also advise executives on best practices and help to develop future initiatives and travel policies.

How Does an Online Travel Agency Work?

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Popularity of Online Travel Agencies Growing

  • Travel and tourism are among the biggest industries worldwide, and more than 80 percent of the travel sold in the United States is now purchased online. With more consumers using the Internet to plan their vacation getaways, online travel agencies have been growing in popularity, helping to increase business in the travel industry overall. Aside from booking travel packages, many travelers go online in search of travel reviews before making a final decision about their choices. Reports show that more travelers who have traditionally booked trips offline are checking out vacation destinations, as well as travel and hotel rates, online.

Working With a Known Travel Agency

  • The travel industry is a busy industry; therefore, many online travel agencies are working with established host agencies, which can provide marketing materials, along with experience in knowing what travelers are looking for. Being part of an affiliate program can help to increase an agency’s bookings and sales. Like other businesses putting up websites, going online allows travel agencies to reach a wider market of travel consumers.

Advantages to Consumers and Travel Agencies Both

  • Online travel agencies use automated processes to reduce costs and increase profitability, in addition to improving efficiency. While there are a variety of software tools available to assist businesses in saving time and selling more travel, online travel agencies offer several advantages to consumers. Would-be travelers have access to airlines, cruise lines, railways, hotels, tours and car rental companies all from a single source, allowing them to check out current travel discounts from the comfort of their own homes. Consumers can also benefit from special offers and promotions often offered online.

Consumers Need to Know What They Are Buying

  • Booking travel online can save consumers money, but you need to do your homework first. Before purchasing a travel package online, a consumer should be sure to read all the fine print. A dream vacation might not turn out to be what you are expecting. That’s why you need to know exactly what expenses are included in a package before buying. Frequently, hotel stays and some attractions are the only items included. Even so, the package may still be a good deal, but travelers need to know up front what other expenses will be involved. Consumers should always read reviews about any online travel agencies, from which they are considering purchasing. In many cases, comments made by other people who have purchased travel packages from the company can be read online. Consumers can also find out how a certain company has been rated by others.

How to Get Cheap Car Rentals

Whether you are renting a car for your vacation or just to drive around town, it can become an expensive affair if you don’t know how to avoid the pitfalls. Getting a cheap rental car requires more than just looking out for good deals. The location from which you pick up your rental car, the company you get your car from, and the duration you rent the car for all influence the rate. Learn about car rental pitfalls so you can get an affordable rental car.

Instructions

  1. Perform an online search for car rental discounts and coupons. Compare rates of different car rental companies. Some companies offer deals for certain vehicles or for reservations made for a certain period of time. Look for AAA discounts or senior discounts, for instance.
  2. Avoid renting a car from a car rental facility on or near the airport; rather, rent from a facility away from the airport instead. On-site airport car rental facilities charge taxes and airport surcharges that increase the price of your rental.
  3. Find package deals if your rental car is part of a vacation you are planning. Travel companies often offer deals featuring a discounted rate on your rental car if you book your flight and hotel in the same package.
  4. Rent a car from an independent car rental company instead of a large international car rental chain. Independent facilities often have better customer service and are more likely to give a favorable rate because they can set their own policies and procedures.
  5. Reserve your rental car as far ahead of time as you can. Ask for favorable rates. Call the rental facility periodically to inquire if more affordable rates are available. Car rental rates are determined by the amount of cars on the lot at the time of your reservation. Since this always changes, the rates also change frequently.
  6. Rent an economy car and avoid purchasing any add-ons. Economy cars give you the best mileage for your money, and you can often bring your own add-ons, such as a roof rack, car seat or global positioning system (GPS) rather than paying extra for the same amenities.
  7. Inquire about weekly rental rates and daily rental rates. Often weekly rates are more favorable. Avoid returning your rental car one or more days too early because your weekly rate may not apply anymore. Make sure to return the car on time.
  8. Fill up the car with gas before returning it to the car rental facility. Find low gas rates at gas stations away from the airport. Avoid signing up for the rental facility’s prepaid gasoline plan because you often end up paying more than you would if you filled the car up yourself.
  9. Refrain from purchasing the added insurance when renting a car. Check your own car insurance to see if it covers rental cars, as this way you can avoid the extra charge.