What’s it really like to be... a travel agent

What’s it really like to be... a travel agent

Laura, 25, works for a luxury travel agent in Cheltenham. So, our number one question is this: Does she get to try out the five-star hotels she recommends to clients?

“I HELP PEOPLE DISCOVER THEIR ANCESTRAL ROUTES IN IRELAND – OR GO WINE TASTING IN FRANCE”

Travel agent Laura

Laura, 25, works for a luxury travel agent in Cheltenham. So, our number one question is this: Does she get to try out the five-star hotels she recommends to clients? 

Tell us about your job...

“I work for Abercrombie & Kent – a travel company that specialises in luxurious holidays around the world. I work in the Europe department, so I design people's holidays in European countries.  

“It involves planning in-depth itineraries for our clients. Depending on their interests, what they do varies – some might want to trace their ancestral routes in Ireland, while others want to do wine tasting in the Loire Valley! I have a supervisor who is there to help me when I need it.”

What are the best bits about your job?

“We have to make sure the five-star hotels we recommend to our clients really are five-star – so we get to stay in them and do all the sightseeing for free! This is a called going on a “recce”. I also love learning about new countries and cities and researching all the fun and exciting things that our clients can do on holiday.” 

Did you always want to do this as your job?

“I was always keen on travelling, so I went away during my gap year and then again after I left university – which I quit after a year. I never knew exactly what I wanted to do but a friend of mine worked at Abercrombie & Kent and said how much she loved it. When I heard there was a vacancy, I applied!”

What subjects did you love at school?

“I loved English, which is good since this job involves lots of writing. I need to make customers' itineraries sound as attractive as possible. I was never into maths, although in this job we do have to do basic sums like working out commissions from hotels and adding profit margins into the prices of our services. Despite maths not being my strongest point, my employers could see how enthusiastic I was when it came to travel – so I’ve been quite lucky.”

What training or courses did you do to get where you are today?

“I completed a six-month business and marketing course based in London – and that’s definitely helped me with the administrative side of working in an office. Although you don’t have to have a degree to do my job, lots of employers prefer it if you do, so I think having this course under my belt helped boost my chances.”  

Did you overcome any difficulties to get where you are?

“The main thing I’ve had to get over is my fear of public speaking! I can’t stand doing it, but I’ve had to learn – we regularly present our recce reports to the rest of the office. I hated it at first but it gets a little easier every time I do it! 

What advice would you give someone who wants to do your job?

You have to have a genuine passion for travel – and tonnes of enthusiasm. It also helps to have plenty of experience of visiting different destinations – the more you have the easier it is to sell holidays. 

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