A travel secretary works in an administrative capacity in an agency or corporation. He or she may also be called a travel office assistant. Travel secretaries coordinate trip plans for clients under the supervision of an agent, and often answer phones and serve customers. If a secretary arranges trips for corporate executives, he or she also usually prepares travel itineraries or schedules.
In a travel agency, secretaries are often responsible for keeping up with licensing requirements and other paperwork needed to maintain the business. Although a travel secretary may answer the telephone and distribute mail, he or she also advises clients and should understand all aspects of the tourism industry. This thorough knowledge helps solve problems for people trying to coordinate flights and hotels. Some travel secretaries help create informational brochures for client use.
If they work for corporations, travel secretaries often organize all the details of executives' trips. A corporate travel secretary may handle the planning for trade shows and conventions. Trying to save the company money while booking rooms and transportation is a consideration for most business travel secretaries.
Vocational schools or community colleges often have programs related to travel-types of secretary careers, although these programs may not be offered as frequently as other types of secretarial specialties such as legal and medical. School programs may include a practicum section in which a student interns as a travel secretary. Travel secretarial programs are available online as well as in person. These programs are typically less than a year to complete and often include several exams that must be passed in order to receive a certificate.
Travel booking software must be mastered by secretaries. A travel secretary must have excellent computer skills and be able to coordinate many details. For example, if more than one airline is needed for a client's trip, the secretary must include instructions for connecting flights. Planning connections with minimal waiting time is also necessary for good customer service.
People who are travel secretaries may work full or part time. They may travel for business meetings occasionally as well as for their personal vacations. Building good working relationships with others in the travel industry, such as airline representatives and tour operators, can help secretaries create value-packed tour packages for clients. In that effort, they assist travel agents in having their agency offer customers the best deals and trip options possible. In some agencies, a travel secretary may specialize in one area, such as holiday tours, while an agent may handle other packages.