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How Do I Become a Travel Director?

Travel directors may have to handle the details of several employees traveling to attend a conference.
A travel director works to negotiate the best airfares for commercial clients.
A travel director arranges transportation deals with taxi firms.
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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 27 October 2014
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A travel director is responsible for overseeing the travel arrangements of people employed by a particular firm or for handling travel related issues for the clients of a tour company. Someone wishing to become a travel director should typically complete an undergraduate degree program. Additionally, many firms prefer to hire travel directors who have traveled extensively since these individuals are familiar with the kinds of challenges and difficulties that their clients may face.

Some universities offer degree programs in travel and tourism and someone wishing to become a travel director may choose to complete such a course. In other instances, firms employ individuals who have completed degree programs in business administration or management since much of a director’s work involves negotiating contracts. Furthermore, many travel directors oversee a team of travel administrators in which case prior supervisory experience may be listed among the job prerequisites. Some firms prefer to hire directors who have travel industry work experience. Therefore, someone wishing to become a travel director may have to gain some prior experience working as a travel agent or resort customer service representative.

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Many large corporations employ in-house travel directors and these individuals are ultimately responsible for managing the work related travel activities of the firm's employees. The director must attempt to negotiate discounted rates with hotels, airlines and tour companies. In most instances, the director is responsible for ensuring that the firm's overall travel costs stay within the annual budget. Therefore, someone wishing to become a travel director may have to gain some experience managing staff budgets as a departmental manager within another area of the company.

Tourist resorts and tourism firms often employ travel directors responsible for handling the day-to-day operations at a particular hotel or resort. This individual must ensure that sales staff hit revenue goals by maximizing cross-sell opportunities. The director must also arrange transportation deals with taxi firms, coach operators and other firms to ferry guests to and from the resort. Customer complaints and minor service issues are normally dealt with by junior employees, but serious problems are often referred to the travel director. Therefore, someone wishing to become a travel director ideally has good customer service skills and many people employed in these roles are those with prior experience as managers in the hospitality or entertainment arenas.

Like many individuals employed in the travel industry, a director may have to liaise with foreign clients and business partners. Consequently, someone employed in this role may have to have second language skills. Some firms prefer to hire individuals who have completed language degrees while other companies employ directors who have completed short-term language classes.

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Feryll
Post 3

Sounds like positions with the title of travel director could vary a good bit depending on where and for what type of company you are working. Being a cruise travel director where you get to go on the trips and see the sites would be great. However, it sounds like being a travel director for a big corporation and making employee travel plans could be a totally different job, and a lot more stressful.

Sporkasia
Post 2

@Laotionne - I have a friend who is a school teacher and she has worked with a tour company that offers free trips to people who can put together a group of people and get them to book with the company. Each year, my friend and one of her friends who is also a teacher at the same school, plan a trip to a foreign country and all of the kids and parents at the school are eligible to go on the trip.

My friend and her friend act as directors for the trip, and they do many of the things that a travel director at a travel company does. In exchange for organizing the trips, they get to go free. This is good for the company because free trips can get people motivated to organize tours through a particular company.

Laotionne
Post 1

A friend told me about a program where companies will give you a discount on packages when you plan trips for groups of people you know. As I understand this program, one or two people get together and make the plans and get the other people in the group to go on the trip and then the company will give the leaders free or discounted trips. Has anyone heard of this, and do I have the basics correct?

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