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What is a Travel Secretary?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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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.

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Discussion Comments
By indigomoth — On Dec 31, 2011

@pleonasm - I think any company which had a dedicated travel secretary would have to have employees who were used to traveling. It makes me think of that film "Up in the Air" where the employees were sent all over the country to perform their job.

They would almost certainly need someone to be booking their flights and hotels and making sure that they get to each place in time.

And they would almost certainly know that travel isn't always going to go smoothly. I mean, I think that's just part of the job as a travel secretary. They'd call if there was a problem and she or he would have to sort it out for them, or at least try to.

By pleonasm — On Dec 31, 2011

@irontoenail - Well, I don't know how interesting it would be. I think it would depend on the company. If all you are doing is booking flights from one side of the country to the other, that would get boring after a while I suppose.

And if you end up with people who expect everything to be perfect, you might get in trouble, because travel rarely goes smoothly and that's hardly going to be your fault. There will always be flight delays and so forth.

Plus I think it might suck having to book flights and trips for other people, but not going on those trips yourself. It's not like being a travel agent where they expect you to travel in order to know what the trip will be like, after all.

It would really depend on the company I guess. At least it probably wouldn't be worse than an ordinary secretary job.

By irontoenail — On Dec 30, 2011

This must be quite an interesting job. I know I really like planning trips for myself or my family online. It's quite a challenge to try and fit in all the different preferences and keep track of all the things that might go wrong.

I think in most cases here you'd just be booking hotels and making sure they get on the right flights and things like that.

I would be a bit worried about being responsible for someone else's trip but I imagine if this is all you do all day long you'd quickly become really good at making sure everything happens smoothly.

I'm not sure what the pay would be like, but if you work for a company that can afford to have a travel secretary then you probably will make quite a good salary.

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