The biggest part of reservations employment is situated in large hotel chains or airlines, helping people to plan trips and make reservations. It may also be large reservation centers, where agents answer telephone or e-mail inquiries and offer suggestions and information about travel arrangements, such as routes, schedules, rates, and types of accommodation. Reservation agents usually quote fares and room rates, provide travel information, and make and confirm transportation and hotel reservations. Most agents have rich travel reservation experience, gained during the years of working.
Another sort of job is transportation ticket agent. Sometimes they are called passenger service agents, passenger booking clerks, reservation clerks, airport service agents, ticket clerks, or ticket sellers. They predominantly work in airports, train, and bus stations. Their responsibilities are selling tickets, assigning seats to passengers, and checking baggage. In addition, they may answer inquiries and give directions, examine passports and visas, or check in pets. There is one another type of ticket agents, more commonly known as gate or station agents. They work in airport terminals, assisting passengers boarding airplanes. Their duties are to direct passengers to the correct boarding area, check tickets and seat assignments, make boarding announcements, and provide special assistance to young, elderly, or disabled passengers when they board or disembark.
Most travel clerks as the part of reservations employment as well are employed by membership organizations, such as automobile clubs. These workers, sometimes called member services counselors or travel counselors, plan trips, calculate mileage, and offer travel suggestions, such as the best route from the point of origin to the destination, to club members. Apart from these activities travel clerks also may prepare an itinerary indicating points of interest, restaurants, overnight accommodations, and availability of emergency services during a trip. Sometimes, as an exception, they make rental car, hotel, and restaurant reservations for club members.
And the last, but not least dimension of reservations employment is working as passenger rate clerks. Generally it is work for bus companies. It presupposes selling tickets for regular bus routes and arranging nonscheduled or chartered trips.
Reservations employment is a rather big part of travel industry employment. To demonstrate this fact we may declare that reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks held about 177,000 jobs in 2002. Most of them are employed by airlines. Others work for membership organizations, such as automobile clubs; hotels and other lodging places; railroad companies; buslines; and other companies that provide transportation services.
The majority of agents and clerks work in large metropolitan airports, downtown ticket offices, large reservation centers, and train or bus stations. The rest work in small communities, served only by intercity bus or railroad lines.
Reservations employment of transportation ticket agents and travel clerks is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2012. Due to a growing population reservation employment will grow, but more slowly than demand of additional travel services. The reason is the rising impact of technology on productivity. Even nowadays the contribution of technology is significant. Automated reservations and ticketing, as well as "ticketless" travel, for example, are no longer surprising. They became more and more widespread, triggering off reducing the need for some workers. Most train stations and airports now have satellite ticket printer locations, named as kiosks. These enable passengers to make reservations and purchase tickets themselves. However, not all travel-related passenger services can be fully automated, primarily for safety and security reasons. It will lead to new job openings available.
It is important to remind that reservations employment is sensitive to cyclical swings in the economy. Recessions force discretionary passenger travel to decline, subsequently transportation service companies are less likely to hire new workers and may even resort to layoffs.