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My travel career: Jean Squires, Hotelscene

Jean Squires, director of business development at Hotelscene talks to Travel Weekly about how she got started in the industry, and the highlights of her current job

What was your first job in travel? I was a reservations agent for British Midland, when the reservations office was still a Portakabin on the perimeter of East Midlands Airport.

How did you climb the career ladder? It’s been a case of taking opportunities when they present themselves. Being in the right place at the right time always helps, as does being good at what you do.

What does it take to be good at your job?This is a people industry. It’s vital to be able to dig beneath the surface in order to understand what makes people to tick so that you can deliver exactly what they want.

What are the big challenges of your job?Changing mindsets – of colleagues, clients and the industry – not just in terms of our business model, but also helping people to understand and adapt the way they do business.

What’s the best part of your job? Having the opportunity to stand up in front of a crowd – colleagues, clients, suppliers… anyone who will listen – and deliver our message.

And the worst? There are never quite enough hours in the day. I love what I do – it’s just a bit of a challenge to fit it all in.What’s the best piece of career advice you have ever received? Take an active part in your own rescue.

If you weren’t working in travel what would you be doing?I genuinely can’t conceive of another industry I’d be happy in. I could be project manager or account manager, a trainer, or marketer in a number of industries.

Jean’s CV

  • 2008 to present: Director of business development, Hotelscene
  • 1985: Business travel consultant, branch manager, account manager, business development manager, head of strategy and planning, head of hotel consulting, Hogg Robinson/HRG
  • 1982: Reservations agent, fleet planning assistant, training officer, British Midland

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