Who wouldn’t want to work in the travel industry? Jet-setting, free holidays and friends from all over the world, right?
While this may be the reality for a lucky few, there is a whole world of behind-the-scenes work in the travel industry that most people peruse before they make it to that stage. If you’ve read my latest post on how travel saved my life, you’ll know that I’ve been working in the travel industry for around 4 months now.
While that’s not really that long, I feel as though I’ve gained some insider industry knowledge on what you need to have to be successful in the travel industry. Here goes…
1. Be flexible
This is solid advice for any career path, but it’s all the more relevant to travel. Everyone has people or things that tie them to certain places. But if you’re unwilling to move around the globe for work, it’s likely to get in the way of your work in the travel industry.
Put simply, if your heart is set on staying in one place for the foreseeable future, the travel industry probably won’t work for you long term.
After all, who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to relocate to another corner of the globe for a year?
2. Learn a language
Relocating for work or study can bring a whole host of issues that you’d never thought you’d experience. From being technically homeless when I first arrived to having to mime my case of the flu to a doctor, my year abroad was full of challenges.
Learning a language can make navigating these challenges so much easier. Not only that, it helps when someone who can only speak French or Spanish calls up and you’re able to help them. Whether you’re working in sales, marketing or HR, it always helps to have a language under your belt. After all, the world is only getting smaller.
3. Network, Network, Network
Again true for any job, but super relevant in the travel industry. Anyone who works in the travel industry will know that those who work in the travel industry are an innately friendly bunch. As a result, everyone is willing to help each other out. You never know who you might be working with next, so it pays to build friendships with everyone you meet.
Be careful not to burn bridges too, as the travel industry is notoriously competitive. I’ve heard stories of people being shunned for moving on to competitors in the travel journalism world, so it pays to keep your contacts close!
4. Have specific expertise
A company that specialises in South East Asia is most likely going to want to hire someone who knows a little bit about South East Asia. If you’re lucky enough to have been travelling, use that experience when you’re applying for jobs.
If you’ve spent years living in continental Europe, then working for a tour operator that specialises in that area is your best way in. You don’t have to have travelled to have specific expertise either, as you can use your heritage to your advantage. If your British Indian, go and work for a tour operator that specialises in India.
As cliche as it is, the world really is your oyster.
Have any of you guys ever worked in the travel industry? What top tips do you have for others wanting to do the same?
Let me know in the comments below.