If you’re looking to travel but don’t quite have the funds to go live in the sun then becoming a Holiday Rep (Or Customer Service Rep or whatever the hell they want to call them these days!) is one of the most accessible routes to follow.
From a young age I knew that as soon as I turned 18 this would be the first job I would apply to do. In fact, i remember sitting hung over the morning after my 18th birthday party filling in the online application….I must’ve done something right as I got two job offers and worked two summer seasons before coming back to the UK!
Here are some common misconceptions as to why people think this job is not for them:
– But I’m too old! : NEVER!! I worked with a woman who decided mid 40s that she wanted a new life and out she came…in fact…she worked more than double the amount of seasons I did! Kris worked with a guy that was 62! This is not an excuse!
– But I’ve saw those Club Rep programmes on TV…I wouldn’t Dream of doing those kind of things! : Well, all you need to do to avoid this is not apply to be an 18-30/Escapades/Any other youth holiday rep. As these reps require a certain skill set you have to specifically apply for these roles as the interview process is very different to a mainline rep.
– Ok Ok, you’re winning me over….but what about travelling on my own? I won’t know anyone: Now this is one problem you definitely don’t have, Everyone is in the same boat. And chances are you’ll end up flying out after the course with some of your newly made chums from training.
Now I’m not saying that this job is for everyone, you do have to be willing to work ridiculously hard but the perks definitely outweigh any negatives.
What I am explaining below is applying to become a mainline rep. These are the guys who take you to and from the airport and are in and around your hotel conducting welcome meetings etc. The interview process is similar for those applying to be Children’s Reps or Entertainers but they would have interviews more specific to their roles e.g. arranging children’s activities or singing and dancing. As for 18-30…well….from what I’ve heard some of their interviews can be pretty wild…
Now lets get down to business.
These days tour operators are getting bought over by each other so really in the UK out of the biggies you have a choice: TUI or Thomas Cook. I interviewed for both (although back in my day TUI hadn’t quite bought over First Choice so things may be slightly different now).
Both interviews were much a muchness. Think…X Factor…but for holiday reps!
You start the day with some ice breakers and team tasks. Don’t be afraid to step up and make your voice heard. They are looking for people who are easy to talk to, confident and can get on with those they have just met.
We had been told in advance of the interview day that we had to prepare a 3-5 minute presentation on an attraction that we were trying to sell. Do not be put off by this. They aren’t looking to see if you can sell your soul. What they are looking for is that you can speak confidently in front of an audience, and that you show passion for what you are talking about. If my memory serves me correctly I think I spoke about a waterpark in Ayia Napa that I had been to and nearly died of a heart attack after going on the scariest waterslide ever! If you’ve never been abroad then don’t worry! Have a look at destinations you are interested in….you could even look to sell something like a trip to Disney! Again, all they are looking for is confidence, personality and passion.
Next we had a break for lunch. This is when the X-Factor kicks in….
We were told to wait around the hotel lobby before we were taken into the room in groups to advise if we were through to the next round! The afternoon is when the real work began…
You have a one on one interview with one of the recruiters who talk to you about anything and everything. They get to know you a bit better and then give you some scenarios which I will admit, at the time, were terrifying! We had to role play that I was the rep and the interviewer was an OAP who I’d sold a trip to but they didn’t have great mobility so couldn’t get inside the ruins and so on. Now this was quite possible the scariest part! This interviewer was going crazy! I actually started to think perhaps it really was him that was complaining! You just have to show that you can keep your cool in these situations. If you get the job they will train you how to deal with these types of situations. I tried to show empathy and let him know that we should have advertised it as restricted and that I’d speak with my manager to see if there was anything we could do etc.
Next comes the Pen Of Doom…
Your interviewer will give you a pen and ask you to sell it to them.
‘But why would I want a pen, I have a pencil, I can rub things out?’
You just have to raise all the great points you can about the pen, what are its USP (Buzz word! Unique Selling Point….you will constantly hear this while training!) Why a pen is the most up and coming invention and pencils are soooo last year! Put it this way…if anyone outside of that room heard those interviews i think they’d think we were all completely crazy!
So after all that…they let you go…and you just have to wait….
…until the phone rings and they let you know if you have the job.
The next stage is the intensive training course.
For Thomas Cook we all got bundled into the Ramada in Bolton for 9 nights. This is where you will learn everything you need to survive being a rep. Obviously nothing will prepare you for that first customer screaming at you because they’ve lost their bags or having to visit an injured guest at the local clinic or god forbid…a guest passing away on holiday. They show you the best ways to handle guest issues, they train you on how to soft and hard sell, and at the end you have to produce your own welcome meeting which is what they assess you on. At the end of the 9 days you should hopefully squeezing your brand spanking new uniform into your suitcase before jetting off with your new training buddies.
Next time i will explore what living as a rep is like and what to expect once you are in resort.
Have you ever considered being a holiday rep? Is there any other information you guys would like to see me expand on about repping in my next post? Let me know in the comments below.