So you’re walking past your local travel agency and you fantasise for a second about strutting into work each day creating holidays and talking about your epic job to endless hotties down at the pub each night of the week.
You can see it now… You’d introduce yourself as a travel agent, talk about your expert insider “intel”, and literally charm the pants off them with tales of your exotic adventures around the world.
Then, the next day, you’d leave one of your business cards on the bed, with a personal note to “call me. Maybe.”
I mean, how hard can it be?
But hold your horses there dreamboat! Do you really have what it takes to be a travel agent?
Let’s slow things down for a moment and look at five key characteristics you’ll need to be a travel agent in this day and age.
1. YOU NEED TO BE THICK-SKINNED
Okay, so you wanna be a travel agent? But you’re a little too sensitive?
Well, you better toughen up there buttercup, because you’re going to be on the receiving end of some pretty gnarly verbal abuse and random requests from time to time.
Thankfully, it’s only rare that you’ll have to put up with irate customers calling you every blasphemous name in the book, but when they do, you’ll need to thicken up that purdy skin of yours.
“I found a cheaper quote on the internet!” Never heard that one before brainiac.
“My sister’s boyfriend’s auntie’s cousin said you’d give me a discount”. Ha, good one!
“Why haven’t you got any specials for the Christmas holidays?” Seriously?
“I thought travel agents didn’t exist anymore?” Stand there any longer and you may not exist anymore, sir. (Followed by zen deep breaths).
Oh, and your fellow agents poking fun at the way you danced at last week’s boozed-up industry night? Yeah, you’ll need to laugh that off too.
Just blame it on the booze. Honestly, it’s a miracle they even remembered…
2. YOU NEED TO BE A DRINKER
Three months. Maybe four.
That’s about the time it takes even the most dedicated teetotaller to turn into a raging booze hound once they’ve entered the alcohol-fuelled travel industry.
Sober travel agents? Ha! Give me a break!
Not that we’re judging. Obviously.
3. YOU NEED TO BE A SNACKAHOLIC
Inside every travel agents’ top drawer will be the hi-grade fuel that keeps them going throughout the day (and sometimes night).
No, we’re not talking about that mysterious bag of white powder they found in their suitcase when flying back from Bogota.
Because agents don’t do that stuff.
But they do chocolate. And chips. And more chocolate! And sometimes even healthy stuff like nuts or trail mix. Yes, trail mix! (Trail mix definition for the uneducated: Trail mix or scroggin is a caste of snack mix, specifically a combination of granola, dried fruit, nuts, and sometimes chocolate).
Yep, they’re basically snackaholics. And if you want to be a travel agent, you’ll need to be one too.
4. YOU NEED TO MASTER THE FAKE SMILE
So it’s 9am on a Saturday morning and you can’t even remember how you got home last night. Standard.
But now you’re at work and there’s a married couple in their forties sitting in front of you um-ing and ah-ing about whether they’d prefer to stay at the Sheraton Grand
And which has the better buffet breakfast.
Right now you’d rather be in the back room hurling last night’s regrets away in the kitchen sink, but you can’t – you’re working.
So instead, you plaster on that fake smile of yours and nod away like you actually care, and think nice, happy thoughts.
“It’s the Sheraton all the way lovebirds.”
5. YOU NEED TO BE A WORKAHOLIC
Unlike other jobs where there’s a direct correlation between the amount of time you’re at the office and your paycheque at the end of the month, travel agents need to actually sell stuff to make their money. And quite a bit of it.
This means that you’ll basically be working ALL THE TIME as you work to meet and then exceed your monthly targets, hold onto clients so they don’t book with someone else, and basically deal with all the inevitable hiccups that arise when working in the travel industry.
Is it any wonder travel agents turn to the booze?
Still, think you’re up for it?
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