Reservation agents sell or take orders for entertainment, lodging and various types of transportation, including flights, rental cars and trains. Some agents work for travel agencies or in self-employment and sell various types of reservation services. Others work for particular entertainment, lodging or transportation service providers, and sell services on their behalf.
Prospecting and Calls
In some cases, reservation agents spend much of their day making outbound calls on prospects to inquire about their needs. Other agents handle incoming booking calls throughout the day. In either case, a primary role of the agent is to answer questions about service options and pricing, to present the benefits of various products and services and to assist customers in reserving or booking tickets, seats or rooms.
Agents employed in service firms spend a lot of time coordinating with other business support staff. In hotels, for instance, agents spend time contacting groups trying to book events. This process involves careful planning with event staff, catering services and others that help in setup and planning for group activities. Agents also need to coordinate group activities with front-end staff for any necessary signage or welcoming information. Agents also may work closely with marketing staff whether working in a service business or for a travel agency.
Whether conveyed by the title or not, reservation sales agents also play a key role in customer service. Though ideal, not all customer service experiences go smoothly. If a travel agent books activities for a tour group and the schedule or events go awry, the group leader may take out her frustration on the agent. Similarly, customers in a hotel or entertainment venue may have negative experiences. A service-oriented sales agent listens to the situation, acknowledges the customer's feelings and works toward appropriate resolution, which may include free services, tickets or other solutions.
Educational and background requirements vary, but companies often prefer a two-year degree in business, marketing, sales, communication or a related field. Excellent communication skills are vital given that much of the role involves listening to customer needs and using persuasive language to sell benefits. Computer skills and typing proficiency are also important since booking and reservation processes typically involve searching through computer databases for tickets and reservation availability.
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