Travel Management Careers: Salary and Job Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in travel management. Read on to learn more about career options along with typical job duties and potential salary information. Schools offering Travel & Tourism degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Travel Manager?

Businessmen who travel as part of their employment usually depend on travel agents to book everything from their flights to their lodging situation. These travel managers communicate with major airlines and hotel chains to obtain the best deals for their clients. Leisure agents work the same magic for tourists, tour groups or other vacationers looking for great deals locally or overseas.

As a travel management professional, you would help business people and the general public plan their business and leisure travel. The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Leisure Travel Manager Business Travel Manager
Degree Required Certificate; bachelor's degree; master's degree Bachelor's degree; master's degree
Key Responsibilities Recommend destinations; book flights; make reservations Handle day to day business account needs; manage corporate travel budgets
Certification Several credentials available through The Travel Institute Credential available through the Global Business Travel Association
Job Growth (2014-2024) -12%* (for all travel agents) -12%* (for all travel agents)
Median Salary $35,660* (for all travel agents, 2015) $54,397** (for business travel sales managers, 2017)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com

What Careers Are Available in Travel Management?

Travel management professionals are involved in planning leisure and business travel, and some are highly specialized. Leisure travel specialists may work for a travel agency or tour services planning vacations and touristic adventures. Working in leisure travel, you may operate your own travel agency, which could provide general services or find more opportunities focusing on certain destinations or traveler demographic groups. A career in travel management might involve traveling to provide your clients with reliable, first-hand information about destinations and travel services. Furthermore, you may receive discounts on airfare, accommodations and other travel services.

Some companies are dedicated to providing business travel services for companies. In business travel, you may work for such a business travel agency or help manage your company's in-house travel program. Larger corporations have sophisticated travel operations that employ travel management personnel from coordinators, who handle logistical details, to managers and directors, who oversee large travel budgets.

What Are Typical Duties?

Working in leisure travel, you recommend destinations, book flights and make hotel reservations. Travelers rely on you for up-to-date and accurate information, as well as impeccable detail planning. Providing basic information to your clients about local customs, government regulations, required documents, local restaurants and entertainment, currency exchange and other considerations is part of the job.

If you pursue a career in business travel, your primary duties might include managing a company's travel expenses, making decisions about a company's travel program or arranging corporate trips through outside travel agencies.

How Can I Prepare for These Careers?

If working for a leisure travel service or tour operator appeals to you, you may consider earning a travel management certificate from a community college or vocational school. Bachelor's and master's degree programs in travel and tourism are also available. Educational scholarships are available through professional organizations, such as the American Society of Travel Agents (www.asta.org).

In addition to travel-management experience, a background in finance or business administration is preferred by some employers of corporate travel managers. You may also consider pursuing training through the Global Business Travel Association, a professional and educational resource that offers certification for corporate travel executives. Their certification program includes skill training for developing and managing corporate training programs (www.gbta.org).

How Much Will I Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual wage for travel agents was $35,660 in 2015, with the top ten percent of workers earning over $60,200 (www.bls.gov). With experience, you can expect to increase your earnings, which are also affected by the general health of the economy. Working in business travel may enhance your earning potential. PayScale.com listed the median salary for a business travel sales manager to be $54,397 in January 2017.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are several occupations that are related to travel manager. With a high school diploma and some specific on the job training, you could work as an information clerk, a secretary or an administrative assistant. In any of these positions you would take care of clerical duties, such as handling records and providing information to bosses and clients. Secretaries and administrative assistants typically have more responsibilities than information clerks; they are often required to help out other staff members, make appointments and keep track of staff schedules. A meeting, convention and event planner needs a bachelor's degree and takes charge of planning and coordinating meetings and events for clients, businesses or centers. Planners use their skills to set up everything from transportation to housing and are generally responsible for all of the event's details.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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