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A travel manager directs, operates, and administers travel programs for businesses and travel agencies. They often work for large corporations and manage business travel, making arrangements for employees and executives. They also work for travel agencies that assist clients with their travel plans. These managers work in office settings and make arrangements over the internet and the phone. Travel managers typically work regular business hours, but sometimes work evenings and weekends to accommodate a client’s needs while they’re traveling.

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Travel Manager Duties and Responsibilities

While a travel manager’s day-to-day duties and responsibilities are determined by where they work, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these include:

Plan Travel Accommodations and Itineraries

A travel manager's main responsibility is to make sure in-house employees or external clients reach their travel destinations on time and with the right accommodations. This means researching destinations and available services; booking hotels, flights, and car rentals; coordinating activities; and managing documentation.

Assist with Travel Issues

Issues sometimes arise when traveling. Travel managers help resolve any problems with travel or accommodations by using company resolution protocol and communicating with all relevant parties.

Evaluate Travel Services

Travel managers do a lot of research to find travel deals and evaluate services to find the best quality for the price. They use this knowledge to enhance future travel experiences for employees or clients.

Process Travel Documents

These managers spend time processes travel documents according to travel needs and company procedures. They verify itineraries, coordinate payments, document issues, and complete any legal forms.

Arrange Visitor Accommodations

Some travel managers who work for corporate entities are responsible for arranging travel accommodations for business visitors.

Administer Travel Policies and Budget

Travel managers are often responsible for planning, developing, and implementing a corporate travel policy. They also prepare periodic travel budget reports and work to stay within budget.

Travel Manager Skills and Qualifications

People who love planning, have an eye for detail, and are passionate about travel and sharing that enthusiasm with others make great travel managers. Employers also look for candidates with the following skills:

  • Customer service - when traveling, people want assurance that everything is well planned. These managers know how to provide excellent customer service to travelers by assessing their needs, meeting quality standards, and striving for client satisfaction
  • Critical thinking - travel managers use logic and reasoning to find the right accommodations at the best prices and to solve any problems that arise
  • Management - travel managers are familiar the principles of management, planning, and resource allocation. They know how to effectively coordinate staff and resources to make travel arrangements and maximize budgets
  • Geography - a basic understanding of maps, geography, and popular worldwide destinations is crucial for successful travel planning, as is an interest in sharing information about these places
  • Multitasking - these managers juggle multiple planning projects at one time and can take calls while simultaneously typing an email or filling out travel documents. Properly organizing information and making sure bills and receipts are correctly processed is also essential
  • Interpersonal skills - travel managers communicate with a wide variety of people from all over the world and are sensitive and accommodating to people with different cultural backgrounds

Travel Manager Education and Training

While there are no minimum education requirements to become a travel manager, employers typically prefer candidates who have taken courses in the travel industry. Candidates with travel experience, certification in travel or hospitality, or prior industry work experience are sought after. Corporate travel managers are usually expected to have a bachelor’s degree in tourism, travel, or hospitality, and candidates with fluency in another language are looked upon favorably. Travel managers usually receive on-the-job training in company travel policies and computer systems.

Travel Manager Salary and Job Outlook

According to Salary.com, the median annual salary for travel managers is $89,859, with a range from $75,709 to $106,044. Salaries vary widely based on a number of factors, including job location and company. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs in the travel management and travel agent sector are projected to decline 12 percent by 2026. Travelers’ ability to book their own travel accommodations will contribute to this decline. Job prospects will be best for corporate travel managers or travel agents who specialize in a specific type of travel.

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Helpful Resources

If you love everything about travel and want to help others have a smooth experience on the road, a job in travel management could be right for you. We’ve gathered the best resources from across the web to help you further explore a career in travel management:

"Dream Job: How to Become a Luxury Travel Advisor"

this Forbes article is all about making money planning other people's luxury travel arrangements. It goes over all the tools and steps you'll need to take to make this dream job a reality

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives

ACTE supports education, advocacy, and research for the corporate travel community and anyone interested in learning about the industry

A Guide to Becoming a Travel Professional

this book helps prospective travel managers become professionals. It goes over terminology, procedures, and customer service skills that'll help you become a topnotch travel manager

Strategic Management for Travel and Tourism

people learning about the travel and tourism industry will appreciate this handy text, which features case studies and language used by industry experts

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