Laura Del Rosso
Laura Del Rosso

It may be the best of times for travel agents who are job hunting or looking to make a move, says Doug Walsh, director of marketing for Hot Travel Jobs, a subsidiary of the New Jersey-based Travel Staffing Group.

That includes home-based travel agents who want to remain home-based, he said in a telephone interview. “You're seeing more employers out there posting job opportunities for virtual positions. What's happened is that employers are cutting their expenses. When you don't have an employee utilizing a desk you eliminate some expenses. And, there's no commute to work. If you live in New Jersey and commute to New York City, that can mean an extra $7,000 to $10,000 a year in commuting expenses. So, employers can offer lower salaries for those agents who work from home.”

Walsh, whose company regularly sends surveys gauging the state of the job market, said the aging of the travel agent population combined with the economic recovery have contributed to the solid market for job-seekers in 2015, both for corporate and leisure travel agents.

Some home-based agents who have been working as independent contractors through a host are looking to shift to full-time employee work for a travel agency, while remaining home-based.

Their marketability and salary “depend on what they can bring to the table.” Prospective employers are looking at skills, sometimes very specific. “They might be looking for a cruise specialist or someone who does groups; those are two specialties in demand. Or, a specific niche, such as seniors or FITs to Italy.”

Salaries are “moving up,” he said, because of the shortage of qualified agents. “It's the law of supply and demand, and the supply of agents isn't there. The job market is very good for experienced agents. They won't be unemployed for long.”

GDS skills are still in demand, he said. Because young agents and newcomers are not proficient in the GDSs, Hot Travel Jobs added a Sabre personal training system to its site, enabling agents to learn the GDS from home.

Walsh said because schools that decades ago supplied large numbers of well-trained travel agents have closed, agencies now are forced to recruit potential employees straight out of college and training them in-house. “They are going in and looking for people with good personalities, and they don't care what their majors are.”

The current job market is the topic of an upcoming webinar, “Finding Your Dream Job In the Travel Industry,” on Sept. 23 with Gayle Walsh, president of Hot Travel Jobs, and hosted by the Travel Institute. See http://www.thetravelinstitute.com/event/free-event-finding-your-dream-job-in-the-travel-industry-hosted-by-patty-noonan-ctc-with-gayle-walsh-of-hot-travel-jobs/.

Comments

From Our Partners


From Our Partners

California Connect Part 2: Northern California
California Connect Part 2: Northern California
Register Now
Guide to Wellness
Guide to Wellness
Read More
Escape to the Wild Atlantic Way
Escape to the Wild Atlantic Way
Register Now

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI