If you’re a travel professional who is eager to progress up the career ladder, then getting a new job is likely to be high up on your list of 2007 new year’s resolutions.
But what options for career progression are there in the travel industry? Travel Weekly has asked the people in the know – the recruitment companies – to tell us where the career opportunities in travel lie.
This is the fastest-growing area of travel and many more vacancies will spring up next year, according to recruitment companies.
Gail Kenny Executive Search managing director Gail Kenny said: “Travel is changing, online players are coming in and traditional companies are reinventing their business models online.
“It’s a candidate-driven market and anyone worth their salt is going to be snapped up straight away.”
Which means that, if you’ve got the right mix of travel and web experience, you can go far.
A good way in is through the traditional reservations route, according to AA Appointments managing director John Tolmie: “There is a need in dotcom travel for a traditional reservations role, and a lot of people move over from tour operations.”
Why work in online travel?
- You can’t ignore it – it’s a growing sector of travel
- You will learn new skills, which will make you a valuable commodity for future employment
- A shortage of good candidates means salaries are often higher.
- Ability to adapt quickly
- An understanding of reservations
- Good knowledge of online marketing.
After a tough few years, business travel is predicted to grow in 2007 and travel management companies are looking to recruit. That’s good news for leisure agents who want to move over to the corporate world, according to C&M Recruitment managing director Angus Chisholm.
“Business travel agencies are considering applications from people in leisure who have the right soft skills, such as good customer service and excellent attention to detail, and we are training them up to use global distribution systems,” he said.
Carlson Wagonlit Travel director of human resources Sue Kavanagh said the shift from corporate agencies to travel management companies means there are new roles, including consulting, project management and analytical-type jobs.
Why work in business travel?
- Offers a bigger basic salary than in the leisure sector
- Generally no weekend working
- More opportunities to progress into new areas, or even work abroad.
- Creativity – for example, when searching for the best fare
- Good customer service
- A sense of humour when dealing with stressed-out executives
Temping is now seen as a career in its own right and temps even get perks such as holiday pay and statutory sick pay, under certain conditions.
Recruitment agencies report the temp market as being especially buoyant in business travel, where companies are particularly organised, according to John Tolmie.
“Because travel management companies have such high service levels, they can’t afford to miss phone calls and lose business, so they do plan in advance for when they need temp cover,” said Tolmie.
Why work in travel’s temp sector?
- You want a change but are unsure which direction you want your career to go
- You want to widen your experience and enhance your CV
- You want to work at times that suit you
- Ability to hit the ground running
Homeworking is still a growing part of the industry, and it doesn’t just appeal to women. A quarter of Future Travel’s homeworkers are men, and the big companies are competing hard to offer the best salaries and working conditions.
There are different options, depending on which homeworking company you join. For example, you can choose to work part-time, sell from Internet or Teletext-generated leads and be a paid employee, or you can run your own business full-time, making sales to your database of loyal customers.
Not every homeworker comes from a high-street background, according to Travel Counsellors recruitment manager Cathy Oldfield.
She said: “We are getting more joining us from a tour operator background with good customer service skills.”
Why become a homeworker?
- No more driving to the office, working to rotas and missing lunch
- No more office (or branch) politics
- You’re in charge of your own destiny
Key skills needed
- Positivity. You have to be able to keep yourself going if you have a poor sales day
- Good organisation skills
Looking for a new job? Find the best travel jobs on Travel Weekly Jobs!
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