When you're waiting in the cold for your next bus home, getting soaked by the rain, don't you just wish you were working in the sun away from it all? If working in your favourite destination sounds like a dream rather than a travel job, why not consider becoming a holiday rep?
So, what will I actually be doing?
Tour operators require reps to work throughout the summer and winter seasons to ensure that holiday makers have an enjoyable trip. You're the first point of contact for customers so be prepared to answer questions and resolve problems.
Your day will usually start with meeting the excited new arrivals at the airport and overseeing transfers to their accommodation. From there your duties may include:
- Giving an introductory talk on the facilities and the area
- Accompanying holidaymakers on excursions
- Helping to arrange entertainment
- Completing paperwork (yes, even reps have admin)
Of course, holidays rarely run completely smoothly and you may need to deal with unexpected dilemmas from lost passports to medical emergencies, so be prepared to deal with anything.
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The nitty gritty
The summer season runs from April to September and the winter season (ski reps) work October to December. And it's not as easy as it looks, definitely not a nine to five position, you’ll be on the go for 12 hours a day, six days a week.
So what can you do when the holiday season is over? People who love working as a holiday rep can progress to becoming team leaders or resort managers. Others find work as a travel agent or tour guide. The skills you learn as a holiday rep (customer service, time management, events organising) are transferable to many other careers so it looks great on your CV.
Money, money, money
Newcomers will earn about £450 to £500 per month while more experienced reps can earn up to £800 per month. But there are plenty of bonuses including:
- Free accommodation
- Reduced or free meals at the hotel
- Free flights to and from your location
- Reduced holiday costs from the tour operator
See what people are earning in this job
The good points...
“Being your own boss while in a lovely destination and helping clients to get the most out of their holiday. Clients are generally very grateful for any help you can offer, from taking them to hospital if a child has had an accident to pointing them in the direction of the best beaches and good restaurants,” say the reps at Sunvil Holidays.
If that wasn't enough, you’ll have the chance to learn a new language, meet a range of different people and, as entry requirements are very flexible, gain valuable work experience...what's not to love?
...and the bad
“Flight problems and delays. There is so little that you can do and the airport very quickly becomes a very unpleasant place to be. Trying to get accurate information for your clients is a nightmare!”
If you've ever gone away and seen the reps leading a pub crawl, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was all sunbathing and partying, but it you'd be wrong, it's as much hard work as it is fun.
Is there study involved?
There are no set requirements to become a holiday rep but many tour operators are looking for four GCSEs (grade C or above) and experience working in customer care. You also need to be aged 18 plus (sometimes this can be 21 and over).
- A qualification in the industry (such as a BTEC Diploma in travel and tourism)
- A working knowledge of one or more foreign languages
- Administrative experience
...will find themselves a step ahead of the rest. A qualification in childcare is essential for anyone wanting to work as a children’s rep running holiday clubs.
Once your application has been successful you'll need to complete an intense 2 to 4-week induction course run by the tour operator. The course will cover subjects such as health and safety, dealing with customer complaints, organising excursions and exchange rates.
Need additional qualifications? Find a course at our Learning Zone
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
Anyone with a love of travel, bags of energy, plenty of initiative, polished customer service skills and lots of patience will make a first-class holiday rep.