Andy Cassidy has what many travel agents might consider an enviable job.
Not only does he arrange everything from trips to photoshoots in the Virgin Islands to fashion shows in Paris, he also works for renowned fashion retailer Net-A-Porter.
Working as a corporate travel manager within a company known for its cutting-edge approach to global retailing suits Andy. “I love the fast pace and working in such a stylish environment,” he admits. “Our travel programme is more contemporary than corporate so it means I get to work with some amazing boutique hotels.”
Andy got the job after attending an interview for a combined travel booker and PA – and managed to convince the company it really needed a travel manager.
Andy, who previously worked as a travel agent for Flight Centre and as cabin crew for Qantas, adds: “It’s business travel but not your normal 9-to-5 job. It’s creative and forward-thinking. We have four offices and three distribution centres globally and a lot of the travel is between London, Hong Kong, New York and Shanghai.
“We have teams of buyers and they travel to fashion shows and we have PR, marketing and events teams we book as well as our creative teams for Porter magazine and our three websites’ editorial content.”
The role involves overseeing a strategy to provide a cost-effective travel programme, negotiating rates and managing relationships with suppliers for staff in seven locations.
In fact, part of Andy’s job requires working with travel agents outside the company – once he has put together employees’ itineraries. “We don’t have our own global distribution system (GDS) so we farm out the ticketing,” he adds.
“We are their best customers as we will come to them with exactly what we want and they can go ahead and book.”
As well as understanding employees’ needs, a large part of Andy’s job is managing relationships with hotels and airlines to ensure rooms and flights are available if problems arise.
This helps if a hotel Andy has picked tells the agent it is fully booked or a room type not available. “I will then pick up the phone and book it: they will magic up a room,” he says.
“We can do the same with an airline. We have the sort of relationship with preferred airlines that means we can pick up the phone to rebook seats free of charge instead of having to cancel and buy new tickets.”
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