Starting a new job is tough, especially when it requires you to know a world of knowledge (literally). Here to help you through the novice period is Travel Advisor & Travel Writer, Taylor Ridewood.

The first six months of being a Travel Advisor were some of the most daunting and stressful times of my career. I was afraid of answering the phone, and exhausted from pretending to be an expert in front of every customer that sat down.

Thankfully, I got through it. But not without picking up a few vital tricks of the trade.

Here are a few of the things I learned that will get you through those rough I-just-want-to-quit-my-job-and-move-to-Europe days:

 

Embrace being thrown in the deep end

Firstly, there’s no such thing as a silly question, but you will soon understand that every consultant has their own business to worry about. They will, of course, help you with whatever difficulties you have, however one day you will be asked to figure it out for yourself.

Use this to your advantage; take a minute to think about what brochure to recommend to a customer or who the best wholesaler would be best to call. Your team will acknowledge your efforts to think for yourself and it will teach you efficiency with your work.

 

Fake it until you make it

I remember my first consultation over the phone – it was flights, accommodation and ski hire in Mammoth. Did I know where Mammoth was? Nope. I had never felt more internal panic in my life – I was speaking to a person about a destination I had never heard with absolute confidence that I was the best person to book this holiday for him.

I had no choice but to fake it. Travel agents are marketed to be experts on everything travel related, it’s the first thing you learn and the pressure can get to you. Keep calm (at least at face value) and you will figure it out. He didn’t end up booking me, but I did learn about the destination for the next person to inquire about it.

 

Confidence

You are hired for your personality and your ability to have a conversation. Your confidence (if not in the destination then least yourself) will ensure your customer’s trust. The less you act like an expert the less you’ll feel like one. Remember this on the bad days.

 

Listen & learn

Your team have a wealth of knowledge and travel experience at your disposal. If you haven’t been to a particular destination, chances are someone in your team has. Ask them, it’s unbelievably useful. Alternatively, listen to the consultations around you; how they sell, how they talk about destinations and even how they pronounce certain cities.* You’ll be sounding like an expert in no time.

*Quick tip – Reykjavik (Reck-a-vik), Skopje (Skop-yay not Skop-jay) and Kauai (like Hawaii but with a K) – absolute lifesavers.

 

Smile

The way you present yourself will dictate the outcome of your day, smiling makes a big difference. More importantly, it will give you more opportunity to develop a rapport with your customer, when you look calm and comfortable so will your customers.

 

Learn from your mistakes

You will be held accountable for your mistakes but it’s okay to have them and they 100% will happen. You will feel guilty, you will cry in the back room (or go on an extended cigarette break and rant), you may get yelled at, but it can be fixed*. In the end, it will make you more diligent to prevent it from happening again. Accept the silver lining and learn from it.

*The phrase “No-one died. We can fix this” actually helps.

 

Take each day as it comes

You won’t realise how much you learn until someone else starts the role, then all of a sudden you’re answering their questions and showing them how close files and pay off suppliers. It’s an amazing moment. As each day passes you will learn something that you didn’t before recognise your achievements, they’re important.

The reward that will come from training to be an expert will be your greatest asset. Everyone in the industry was a novice at some point; we all understand the hardships. Just remember why you were chosen for the role, I was once told that “each person that sits in front of has no idea how amazing you are, it’s your job to show them”. It will get better, we promise.

 

What helped you get through the novice period?