With tv shows like Ibiza Weekender, holiday reps get a bad, well… rep. In reality, the job and lifestyle shown on the programmes is a completely different job role to a regular holiday rep and only makes up a small portion of holiday reps.
Those reps are the party reps, the 18-30 reps and their main job is to help people party. If that’s the job you’re looking for then this isn’t the post for you.
What is a holiday rep?
A holiday rep works for a tour operator in a destination. Their job is to assist and advise people whilst they are on holiday.
Different companies call their reps different things: service representative, holiday advisor, customer helper… whatever the title, we all do the same job.
How do you get the job?
The first step is to apply online the same as most jobs these days. Select the tour operator you want to work for, locate their careers website and search for overseas positions.
If you want a flexible contract which means you are open to any destination, you need to apply for Thomas Cook or TUI.
If you want a local contract meaning there is a specific destination you want to live and work in, you need to apply to Jet2.
If your application is accepted, you will then be required to complete a video interview. This usually requires you to download an app and record answers to questions the app asks you.
If your video interview is accepted, you will be invited to an assessment day. Depending on where you live, you may have to travel as assessment days only take place in larger cities.
It’s an intense day where you will be split into groups where you will do a 2 minute presentation and some group activities. You will also be required to do a role play throughout the day plus a maths test before the actual formal interview at the end of the day.
It’s a full day but you can be sent home at any point.
If you were successful on the assessment day then congratulations, you’ve provisionally got the job. This is all dependant on completing the training course.
The training courses are a week to ten days long and can take place in the UK or overseas. This is a really tough week which really tests you.
You will often feel like you’re not good enough, a lot of people will cry, some will quit and a few will get kicked off the course.
Every day, you will have a classroom session where they teach you about the job and the company. The next day, you will have a test of the previous days session and have to get a certain number of questions right to pass.
Every evening, you will also be required to make a presentation for the following day. You will present to the rest of your class and one word of advice… go first!
Watching everyone else first really makes you doubt yourself. Some presentations are solo like a sales pitch whereas others are a group activity where you create a welcome meeting.
You will get constructive feedback the entire week and if you pass the course, you will find out your first destination on the last day.
The training isn’t over yet
When you arrive at your destination, you have to do your resort induction so you know your destination and what you’re talking about.
Whilst this is fun because you get to go on free excursions, it’s also nerve-wracking because once again you have to present sales pitches and welcome meetings.
Your performance will result in the package of hotels you are given. Good performance means good hotels which means good money.
What does the job actually involve?
The main focus of the job is the welcome meetings. You need to know your stuff and present it to new arrivals.
This is one of the most important parts of the job because you need to provide holidaymakers with vital information aswell as it being the main way you make sales.
The next biggest parts of the job are sales and customer service. With any sales and service job, you have targets you have to meet.
You will also deal with an incredible amount of complaints.
You need to have great complaint handling skills, a great relationship with your hoteliers and excursion providers plus, need to be confident in making your own decisions.
Whilst you are mainly a hotel rep, you will also have airport shifts. The amount a week depends on the destination.
You will accompany both departure and arrival guests on their transfers to resorts as well as greeting new holidaymakers.
But that’s not all… you will be a weatherman, a geographer, a currency converter, a tour guide, a bus timetable, a translator, an advisor and you will listen to people ask the most ridiculous questions all day.
Sadly, bad things happen in life and that doesn’t stop when people go on holiday. You need to be prepared to deal with tough stuff like hospitalisation, deaths, aggression, violence, accidents and in severe cases, terrorism.
Don’t worry, this doesn’t happen often, you will have crisis management training plus the support of your team and management.
Whilst the job may be hard, it is worth it for the lifestyle.
You will have a day and a half off which you get to spend in the most beautiful places exploring, sunbathing or doing whatever the hell you want to do.
You get to meet an incredible amount of people from all walks of life. Not only the locals but the people in your team will have a mixture of nationalities.
The free stuff… free excursions, exciting team events, discounts in bars and restaurants… reps get quite a lot.
It’s definitely not a job you do for the money. You will be on a basic wage which is low. You have to chance to top up with commission.
You can be incredibly lucky and make a ridiculous amount of money or you can earn next to nothing, it can go either way and there’s a lot of variables that contribute to it.
Being a travel rep is a very Marmite job, you will either love it or hate it. Be prepared for hard work whilst being a way from home and you will get to enjoy glorious weather and beautiful destinations!
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BEING A HOLIDAY REP?
CHECK OUT OUR TRAVEL EDITOR’S BLOG.