A reservation agent works with customers of hotels and various types of transportation by answering questions, assisting customers in making choices about their travel and then booking reservations for rooms or travel tickets. Depending on the type of business of the reservation agent works for, he may communicate with customers on the phone, online or in person. The reservation agent is typically expected to combine strong customer service skills with sales techniques in order to ensure that customers obtain the services and products that they need while also maximizing his employer's profits.
For many travelers, the reservation agent is a first point of contact when booking transportation and accommodation. While some travelers prefer to work with a travel agent, many like to seek out their own travel options and book directly with vendors. While it is certainly possible to book many different types of travel online, some travelers prefer to book tickets and reservations by talking directly to a company agent. Even online travel booking sites often employ agents who can assist customers in chat or via e-mail when the customer has questions, runs into technical difficulties or there is a problem with the reservation.
Reservation agents typically do not need to have formal education beyond a high school diploma, as they will usually be trained on the job. Individual employers, however, may prefer to hire representatives who have significant experience in customer service or telemarketing. Agents will typically need to have strong language skills and be comfortable working with computers, as they will rely on computers to provide customers with information about their travel options and will enter the customer's information into a computer system when the customer books travel.
In addition to booking travel, a reservation agent may need to perform various types of customer service duties. This can be tricky, as many people, even those who originally booked travel plans online, may contact an agent when their original travel plans fall through or are disrupted. These callers may be in a fair state of distress, requiring the representative to both address the travelers needs while also providing a calming presence. In many cases, a reservation agent may be expected to “upsell” callers to more expensive travel options such as more expensive hotel rooms or airline seats. The reservation agent may also assume responsibility for encouraging customers to sign up for loyalty programs or even co-branded credit card offers.