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What it's like to be a destination representative

October 9, 2014, 10:41 pm | This story has an Influence Score of 820

By domcan

If you had asked me when I was at university what I would be doing as a career for 12 years I would of never answered a destination representative. I didn’t even know such a job existed. I always had a love for travel, exploring new countries and meeting new people. During my last year at university I picked up a book in the library on how to find a job overseas and ended up on the Cote d’Azur in the South of France and this is where my love for the travel industry started! I was sucked in by the positive energy, the interesting people I met but also the challenges the industry brought. Who wouldn’t enjoy working with people who are on holiday? Everyone is happy, wanting to have a great time and enjoying their time away from their regular life! And I was getting paid to make sure they had the best holiday possible.

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What exactly is a destination representative? Basically I put all the pieces of the travel puzzle together for my clients when they arrive at their chosen holiday destination. Once they have booked their dream holiday with a travel agent or a website I will receive information about their booking and I will then look after their hotel transfers, their hotel rooms and I will provide them with a welcome meeting to make sure they make the most of their time in the area. I become a friend away from home and even a confident for certain people. My simple objective has always been to make sure my clients return home happy after their holiday!  This gives me great satisfaction as I feel I have contributed to a positive part of their life.

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During my career I have had the opportunity to work in some of the most beautiful places around the world such as the South of France, the French Alps and Banff National Park. It is exciting to arrive in a new resort and start building a little business almost from scratch. The relationships I build between the hoteliers, the restaurateurs and the activity suppliers are extremely important for my success in the area. When I first arrive in a resort town, they are my first contact with the culture. They help me get accustomed to the area that I will make my home for the next few months. Sometimes when you first arrive you can feel lonely but it normally doesn’t take time to meet friends. Generally the people I have met in resorts are easy going, friendly and always up for new experiences.

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As a destination representative I sell life experiences and create happy memories for holidaymakers. One of my favorite parts of the job is trying those experiences. This could be snowmobiling, dogsledding, skiing, going up in a helicopter and the list continues.  I have often told my staff to pass on their excitement to our clients. There’s nothing better than seeing people smile when you are talking about a tour and meeting them afterwards with an even bigger smile because they did it themselves!

 

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My friends think I have a dream job but I never let them know the negative sides. Long days due to flight delays, buses breaking down in the middle of nowhere with forty passengers on board, a volcano exploding in Iceland and leaving 250 guests stranded for a few days. You might think getting stranded in Banff National Park is a blessing but for some people it’s the end of the world! Assisting a client after he has been airlifted off a ski hill due to a stroke, assisting a client in hospital having suffered a ski accident. This happens frequently in the winter. I now know most parts of the leg and knee that can be injured whilst skiing!! I also hate when guest expectations are not met either by their flight, their hotel or the weather. These factors are out of my control but I am the face of all these companies and I must sit and listen to the client’s complaints. I am a perfectionist so this side gets me down and I feel that my objective of making sure they return home happy has not been met.

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I am also concerned with the future of the role of the destination representative.  More and more travellers are independent and can find most travel information on the Internet. Tour Operators must compete with the pricing of holidays so many are cutting the cost to hire a destination representative. I am still confident there will always be a demand for a personalized service and a friend away from home! I do not do this career for the money as it does not pay that much. Although I feel that I am rich in life experience as I have worked in amazing places, met interesting people and tried so many different activities. I feel very lucky to be able to share my passion of travel with others. The best reward is getting a little note from a client saying you have made their holiday memorable!

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