If you’re working in the travel and tourism industry, you will more than likely be helping people plan various aspects of their holidays. Travel agents also help their clients figure out how to get the best value out of their travel budgets.


Have you ever wondered what your day would look like if you were a travel consultant?


Here’s a real-life example:


The day starts: It’s 6 in the morning and my alarm clock rings. It’s time to kick-start my day with a cup of coffee before I head into the office.


8:30 am: I arrive at the office after spending almost an hour in traffic, make my second cup of coffee for the day, catch up on weekend gossip, and head over to my desk to catch up on emails that came in over the weekend. As we’re a small team, one of us is always on standby over the weekend. We must be available to help customers in case of travel emergencies.


10:00 am: My first customers arrive – they’re a young couple planning their honeymoon to Mauritius. A big part of my job entails advising clients on locations and destinations, and in this case, Mauritius is the perfect honeymoon destination. We go through the honeymoon brochures together, and I check the system for flight and hotel availability. After I’ve spent an hour with the clients, they finally agree on the hotel and I manage to make the booking.


11:15 am: A client who booked a flight yesterday calls to change the flight. I pull out his information on the computer and advise on alternative dates. Most of the flights are full, so I place him on a waiting list and promise to stay on top of it and to inform him when it clears.


12:00 pm: A regular clients calls, wanting to book a trip for the whole family to Disneyworld. First, I check the dates they would like to travel, and then I check the system for flight availability. As they are wanting to travel in peak season, flights are full and I have to advise the client to travel on different dates. They’re not very happy, but agree to change their travel dates. Crisis averted!


12:30 pm: Another client walks into the agency, at the very moment that our computer system crashes. As travel agents, we rely on our systems to find information, as well as to check availability and book accommodation. I take down all the necessary details and do what I can over the phone with the airline. The client tells me he will come back later. Hopefully our systems will be up and running by then.


1:00 pm: The system is up! I have a quick lunch at my desk while I go through emails and check phone messages.


2:00 pm: I work with a couple of corporate clients and mostly deal with Executive Personal Assistants. I’ve received a number of enquiries about an outbreak of malaria in southern Africa and whether it’s safe to travel to the affected countries.


3:00 pm: A client calls to try and refund a non-refundable ticket. I spend 10 minutes explaining that there is nothing I can do with a non-refundable ticket.


4:00 pm: Another client calls from the airport – their reservation has been cancelled, even though they have their ticket with them. I calmly speak to the reservation consultant at the airport and sort out the problem.


4:30 pm: It’s almost the end of a very long day. I catch up on admin and help a number of my colleagues with reservations.


5:30 pm: Time to head home. After today, I feel like I need a holiday.


Does this sound like something you would like to do?


Click here to find out more about where you can study towards a Tourism and Hospitality qualification.

This article was originally published on 6 October 2014, and has been updated for relevance and accuracy.