A travel planner is an agent that organizes vacation and travel packages for clients. They perform various tasks during and following consultation with a client, such as setting an itinerary, booking flights, arranging for the rental of a car or recreational equipment, all with the focus on making the trip go as smoothly as possible. The main priority for a travel planner is coordinating various aspects of a trip. The job requires multi-tasking, scheduling, negotiating and other interpersonal communication skills.
For vacations, a travel planner must consult closely with their client. In many circumstances, clients who seek the assistance of a travel planner for their vacations do so because they want to purchase a total package rather than having to coordinate each aspect of their vacation themselves. For example, a travel planner will have to determine whether the client should fly, set sail, or head out by auto or rail. Generally clients are able to articulate their precise requirements during a consultation, but in numerous cases the travel planner must draw it out through a question-and-answer session.
Once the method of transit is arranged, a travel planner will then have to find the accommodations that best suit the client's needs. Though this may sound simple, but many clients are not certain what type of place they would like to stay in. Many different factors come into play in determining the most suitable accommodations for a client — price, location in the destination city, proximity to particular attractions or activities, level of luxury and aesthetic sensibility.
Travel planners usually arrange all of the things that their client will do on their vacation and ensure that no scheduling conflicts emerge. The planner will find the activities and excursions that best suit the tastes and interests of his clients, while ensuring that those activities fit within his client's budget. This requires that the trip planner become familiar with his or her clients and build a level of rapport with them, getting a sense of what they enjoy.
Trip planners are not confined to arranging vacations though. In many instances, they are hired to arrange business trips, which require a high level of coordination and competence. They may also be asked to organize corporate retreats, seminars and conventions, or just about anything else that requires the skills for coordinating travel itineraries for people.