How Do I Acquire Travel Industry Domain Knowledge?

Reader question:

I’m working as a BA in a company which provide web based Travel Technology. Is there any document from where I can learn on the process and acquire domain knowledge?

Kimberley’s answer:

Where to for information on the travel industry?

I’m afraid there isn’t any short term fix for acquiring domain expertise. It really is a matter of building experience and knowledge on the job. You are already fortunate to be in a BA position in a company that delivers travel technology, and I would ask if there are opportunities for you to expand on that role.

For instance, does your company have internal guidelines for troubleshooting common system errors? If not, can you offer assistance in this area and provide a document that can be accessed by the business side and by your IT colleagues? Have you identified what area of the technology you are strongest in, and that which interests you most? This often presents an opportunity for you to build on that strength and become a Subject Matter Expert.

Find out what the challenges exist in the current state of the system and what the company’s vision is for this system.  It really depends on the system’s functionality and your role in that organization as to what opportunities will exist for you to acquire additional domain knowledge and to create a niche for yourself. But rest assured, there is always an opportunity somewhere if you are willing to look for it.

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  1. I am with 10+ yrs in BA role working in Banking and Financial area. Currently, looking to step into Travel and Hospitality esp Airlines. Have done some research but wanted to know more. Any docs/info/blogs/website which can give me a good grip on the domain exp GDS (Galileo, Amadeus, Sabre) and step into the area would be of a great help. Also, any help from my side to step into the BA role would be welcome…

  2. Bharat Haldule says

    Can anyone suggest a good web site to get knowledge on Aviation Domain?

  3. I have been into the travel industry for over 13 years pretty much worked into all the areas from Air, Car rentals, Hotels, Cruises, Meetings to Vaccations.
    Recently started looking into switching towards BA.
    I can help anyone looking for answers related to travel industry as I have hired and trained lots of agents into the travel industry.
    I need help from someone who can be mentor for me leading and directing towards BA.
    I work full time during the weekdays ( I am not looking to quit the job yet).
    Any suggestion or help will be appreciated.

    • Hi,

      I am working in IT as a Quality Analyst and fortunately i am getting a new job in Travel airlines domain I didn’t work in this domain before can you help me to understand this domain well.


  4. Joy Ghosh says

    I feel very lucky , that we have forum like this!

    I am having 11 years of experience in Travel & Airline domain , recently I m designated as Business Analyst so my case is just opposite ..

  5. Hi Kimberley,
    Thank You very much for sharing the response in details. it is really helpful for me and i got few action item which i need to do at my end.

    Do you think you can suggest any blog/article/website etc for Travel Domain basic which can give me the idea what to dig more?

    I am working in IT as a Quality Analyst and fortunately i am getting Travel Project one after another. After 5 years spending in Travel domain, you can say – i am addicted to it and want to stick with Travel Industry. Specially Airlines. I will appreciate your helping hand if you can suggest anything.

    Thanks a Lot in advance for being here and helping others.

  6. you are superb Kimberly!!!!

    • Wow, I’m not sure about that Anil but I appreciate your kind comment! You strike me as being enthusiastic as well, and I can assure you that a positive attitude has helped me to draw success into my life as I’m certain it will in yours.

      Good luck to you!
      All my best,

  7. It’s no surprise that the most common frustration I hear is that the travel industry is very complex and involves a steep learning curve. This seems to be a frustration shared by employers and employees alike. To John’s point, the lack of readily available information adds to the frustration. My recommendation for those wanting to learn more and create a career in travel would be to start by crafting a strategy for gaining knowledge about the industry. First, consider your goal. What are you looking to do with your travel knowledge? Do you want to develop new software? Do you want to become a BA? Or are you interested in working in a customer facing role? You can begin to map out your strategy from there once you have a clear idea of where you are headed. Then begin to look around at what options do exist to start to build your career. Is there an offline travel agency i.e. local Mom and Pop agency in your area? Rare as they are, they still exist. If so, inquire about a volunteer internship or request an informational interview with the owner or agency manager to gain insight into the systems they use and the issues they face on a day to day basis. Target the travel companies in your area and globally to find out how they hire their staff. Do they employee recruiters? If so, approach the recruiters and ask about the requirements for the position you seek. You can take the same approach with a hiring manager. Once you begin to look, the answers will start to unfold. Review the profiles of travel industry professionals who hold the positions you desire in LinkedIn. You can search by job title, city, and company to find these. What type of qualifications do those professionals possess? Don’t shut the door on any opportunities because you lack actual travel experience. You may have a lot to offer but can easily learn the rest once you have your foot in the door. The reason many travel employers ask for BA’s with industry knowledge is that they believe it will take a long time for a newcomer to acquire it. So show them you have a leg up by doing your research in advance of the interview. Start by knowing what computer systems (“GDS’s”) currently exist. You may also want to invest in online training to learn the formats historically used by travel agents (I can supply you with a contact for this). Modern GDS’s have graphical interfaces which no longer require agents to use native formats on the frontline, but they are still heavily relied on in coding of scripts in software development. Once you have gathered additional knowledge on your own, you can tailor your resume to the industry by highlighting your GDS experience, internship, and qualifications.

    I hope this helps. Good luck, stay the course, and you will make it!

  8. I used to work in the travel industry till last year, left for a few reasons but partly because of the over-complexities of the industry, first thought exciting but ended up just hitting the same barriers time and time again! Anyway now I’ve left I miss it dearly 😉
    Now to answer your question, I agree with both comments, I always struggled to get detail info on issues faced but always admired ITA Software as being open (and geeky) about looking at solutions and sharing idea’s on their site, check it out.
    You don’t mention the part of the industry (air, hotel, car, packages) you’re involved with but I’m happy to help out on any airline queries you might have.

  9. A close friend of mine reminded me that many of us have domain experience by the fact that we are customers of many domains. Based on Alberto’s comment it is apparent there are complex “behind the scenes” systems, business rules and other information. But, there is a lot of information you are probably aware of. My advice, research the customer facing travel sites and start to analyze the components and put together thoughts and questions about how the backend is being dealt with. Next try get those questions answered from folks like Alberto. I am sure he’d love to share his knowledge with a trusted person in his network!

  10. Alberto Laca says

    I have been a BA in the travel and leisure domain for three years. I’m afraid t is not so easy to gain knowledge in this domain as it is complex. Knowledge takes time and comes with experience.
    There are many concepts involved in a travel site, such as booking engines, GDS, backends, CMS, specials, packages, hot deals, sales per trip components, white labeling, etc.
    You’ll have to ask the SMEs

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