In order to become a reservation agent, you must usually possess a high school diploma, experience in or at least an interest in customer service, and an interest in working directly with people. Reservation agent requirements are not generally steep, but this does not mean that getting the job is easy. Positions are limited within most companies, and are in fact on the decline as Internet and automated reservations systems become more and more popular. You must usually show a great deal of persistence and flexibility in order to secure a job.
The majority of reservation agents work staffing call centers for hotels, airlines, and other industries that rely on customer booking. More senior agents often work on-site, greeting customers and booking last-minute deals in person. A familiarity with computer systems and comfort working over the telephone are essential.
In most cases, reservation agent careers are considered “entry level." This means that you can become a reservation agent with little or no prior experience and only minimal education — usually only a high school diploma. Communication skills are an absolute must, however. You will need to demonstrate proficiency in at least the major language spoken by your employer and its client base. Candidates with multiple language proficiencies are usually the most desirable.
You can become a reservation agent in a number of different settings. Hotels and airlines are the most common employers, but cruise lines, rental car services, and a great variety of local and regional touring companies need reservation agents to sell space and book trips. Many of these jobs are listed online, either through the company’s main website or on travel industry job boards. You can often also find out about open positions by contacting employers directly.
The application process for becoming a reservation agent is usually straightforward. Candidates must fill out a basic application, often providing the names of several references. A short statement about why the candidate wants to become a reservation agent may also be required. Promising candidates will usually be invited for an interview.
Most new agents are required to work the phones, often at odd hours. Reservation agent training programs will provide the basic information on everything from how to answer calls to the ins and outs of booking tickets. Most new agents are carefully monitored for compliance and promoted for good work. You may not have much seniority when you first become a reservation agent, but with time, you will likely work your way up to more regular hours, more desirable clients, and even more attractive locations.