Why be a holiday representative?
I think it’s safe to say that holiday reps have a bad rep (please excuse that absolutely horrific play on words). We’ve all seen the Sky One programmes about them misbehaving, but most holiday reps aren’t sunburnt, larger-than-life chavs in their late twenties.
So put whatever you’ve seen or heard to the back of your mind for a minute.
A career as a holiday representative can take you all over the world, away from the boozy, sweaty streets of Faliraki and Magaluf. You can experience new cultures, learn different languages and ensure that your guests leave the resort with nothing but good memories.
How do I become a holiday rep?
Essentially, holiday representatives act as the ‘go-to-guy’ for groups of tourists that have chosen to go on package holidays. From the moment the guests arrive, to when they head back to their home country, you have to make sure that their holidays are enjoyable, relaxing and problem-free.
If you’ve got experience in customer service or hospitality, this will be very handy. You’re going to be in front of a bunch of strangers most of the time and therefore your enthusiasm, patience, charm and knack for affable banter will help you to thrive. You’ve got to be friendly with everybody. After all, nobody wants a surly holiday rep ruining their spring break.
The ability to speak a second language will open up your career options immensely. After all, if you’re an absolute legend with a devastating command of the local lingo, you will be able to act as a go-between for the tourists and the locals. Additional language skills aren’t a deal breaker by any means, but could certainly boost your chances of working in the most exotic and far-flung destinations.
What are a holiday rep's responsibilities?
It’s fair to say that you’ve got to be a certain type of person to be a successful holiday rep. You’ll spend most of your days in front of large groups of holidaymakers. More often than not, you’ll be helping to solve their problems, which means that you’ll have to be an extremely sociable person with bags and bags of energy. You’ll also need to be a good listener and be highly-organised.
As a holiday ‘representative’, you will be ‘representing’ your specific travel company. Consequently, you need to act as the face of the brand. From the word go, you will need to be on your best behaviour: effortlessly confident, patient, friendly and helpful at all times.
Your responsibilities might involve conducting welcome meetings; dealing with angry guests who are dishing out complaints like they’re going out of fashion (not that there would be any, right?); and generally acting as some kind of holiday superhero who sorts out every problem that is thrown in the direction of your guests, such as lost baggage disasters.
Obviously, none of this can be done too well when dealing with a nasty hangover! Consequently, you will need to be professional and sensible at all times.
Holiday representatives also need to have a knack for being able to recommend excursions and day trips to tourists, along with selling other things to them, such as car hire and local water sports discounts. They are often paid commission for these additional services, which can be an extra boost to relatively low salaries.
So if you fancy a jet-setting career that will put you into contact with lots of new faces in potentially exotic locations, look no further! Your future as a holiday representative awaits – fasten your seatbelts folks!