Job as a holiday rep

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Simon Monk is a head holiday representative – as well as making sure that the company's holidaymakers are enjoying their stay, he ensures that the representatives are working as a team.

How would you outline your job as a holiday rep?

The job of a holiday representative is to look after the needs of the holidaymakers in a resort and to promote the holiday company's excursions and offers. As a head representative, I also lead a team of representatives working for the company.

What is your main work routine?

My main routine consists of visiting the team in their resorts and meeting suppliers and hoteliers. Certain days will be spent controlling the operation to keep up-to-date. Other tasks include scheduling staff for arrival and departure transfers; monitoring welcome meetings that representatives hold for the guests, and supervising evening excursions.

On representative duties, I am much more involved with the customers, catering for any difficulties they may have and arranging excursions, entertainment and solving language problems.

What hours do you work?

On a normal day, the basic hours are 8am to 1pm and from 5pm to 8pm, but this varies a great deal depending on demands, airport schedules and emergency situations. There is a huge need to be flexible and you must be prepared to put in longer hours wherever necessary. I get one day off each week during the season.

How do you make use of your language skills?

It is vital. Having a good grasp of the local language is invaluable as not only do you gain a great deal of respect from the locals, it also allows you to communicate efficiently and effectively. This results in a far smoother operation and also maintains good working relations.

What special skills do you need for your job as a holiday rep?

I need to be organised to manage deadlines and draw up work schedules. As a team leader, I need to be able to lead a team with authority but still maintain a friendly, positive and approachable manner. An outgoing personality is also essential as you need to be able to talk to anyone you meet. You need to be able to make decisions quickly, ensuring that they are effective and clear, have greater customer service skills and be able to stay calm under pressure.

What training have you done?

After leaving school I worked for a holiday tour company based in the UK getting experience. When I moved position and started working abroad I received training in Spanish and Greek – certainly enough to communicate and become more proficient while working in these places.

Since moving to my present position as a team leader I've attended a week's intensive management training course, including health and safety issues.

What do you like/dislike about your job as a holiday rep?

I like the constant challenges and working in a different country. I like the fact that each day is different and I meet new and interesting people. I also enjoy seeing my team develop and grow throughout the season. I don't particularly enjoy the long and unsociable hours or working on airport delays, although the thanks we get from customers helps.

What are the particular challenges in your work?

Ensuring that all our holidaymakers enjoy their stay; dealing with emergency call-outs and complaints, and meeting the targets and deadlines for things like customer service questionnaires and sales. It is also a challenge to keep the team performing to a high standard and to maintain good working relations.

Simon's route to his job as a holiday rep

  • A levels
  • Training in customer service, health and safety and sales
  • Public speaking and presentation skills course
  • Emergency procedure training
  • Team management training
  • Language tuition

Simon's holiday rep tips

  • Attempt to learn the local language, as it enables greater communication and efficiency.
  • You need to be organised and to remember that your customers are on holiday – not you!

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Salary of a holiday rep

  • A holiday representative working a full season can expect to be earning about £600+ a month, equivalent to £5,000-£10,000 a year.
  • Working winter and summer, an experienced representative would earn £15,000, rising to £18,000 with management or team leader responsibilities.

How to become a holiday rep

  • Minimum age is usually 21, but some companies offer positions at 18.
  • No set entry requirements, but applicants should have a good general education. Most employers prefer applicants to have some GCSEs/S grades (A-C1-3), particularly in English, maths, geography and foreign languages.
  • Useful qualifications include GNVQ in Tourism and Leisure, Vocational A level in Travel and Tourism, NVQs/SVQs levels 2, 3 and 4 in Travel Services, SQA National Modules in Tourism or Travel and Tourism and a Higher National Certificate or Diploma in Tourism or Travel and Tourism, BTEC Higher National Certificate or Diploma in Travel and Tourism Management

Modified: 16 June 2013

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