A corporate travel agent provides travel advice, research, and booking services to business clients. These travel agents assist corporate executives and employees in making business travel plans in accordance with corporate policies regarding travel, as well as ensuring that business travel is completed in a way that respects employee and business scheduling while also reducing costs. The agent may work in-house for a company, or may be accessible to company personnel through a website or dedicated phone line. In addition to facilitating regular corporate travel, a corporate travel agent may also assist the company in organizing group travel to corporate team-building events or large meetings and conventions sponsored by a business.
Many workers are required to engage in business travel, some quite regularly. A corporate travel agent does the work of searching for airfares, hotels, and rental car companies and then booking travel for the employee. This not only prevents the employee from having to make travel arrangements while working, but the agent can use his expertise in securing the best rates for the employee's travel. This helps prevent unintentional overspending by employees who may make more expensive travel arrangements for themselves due to a lack of information about their options. In situations where a company has extensive policies regarding employee travel, the work of a corporate travel agent can help prevent violations of this policy by ensuring that all travel arrangements meet corporate travel criteria.
In situations where a company needs to coordinate group travel to an off-site training venue, the travel agent may research and then book the necessary travel arrangements for all who will be attending the event. In some cases, the travel agent may also book travel for employees who have won travel as a company incentive. The agent may also keep detailed records on workers and their travel preferences, making sure that employees can receive preferred seats on airplanes and that an employee receives credit for hotel stays and flights through vendor loyalty programs.
Getting a job in this field is often a matter of completing appropriate travel agent training in the jurisdiction where a person wishes to work. Depending on where an aspiring travel agent lives, he may be able to get training through a vocational or trade school or even through a community college. In some cases, travel agents may be trained on the job. The corporate travel agent may also seek specialized certification for corporate travel agent work, as well as certifications from specific travel vendors. She may begin working as a general travel agent through an agency or as an independent, home-based agent. As she adds to her experience, she may be able to get a job working for a corporate travel company or a business that needs in-house corporate travel support.