The reality of Work and Travel
I once got asked by a stranger on Tumblr what I do for living. By looking at my photo submissions, he also asked how old I am since he noticed I traveled a lot. Well, I understand if people curious about what one do for living. But why is age got to do with it?
Most people always have the kind of assumption that, you’ve got to be rich or earning a lot in able to travel out of the country. Well, IT IS NOT. I will write about how to travel without breaking your bank account in my next post. But now, it’s about my work and travel.
I work in Travel Agency.
In Tour Department to be exact.
and NO. Working for Travel agency didn’t make you travel more frequent than those who working in other field.
I hate when I got the answer from the candidates like “I love to travel. so that’s why I wanted to join / work in Travel agency”. Think like this – A dentist doesn’t like to pull/ drill his own teeth just because his job is to fix your teeth. Penggali kubur pun bukannya seronok sangat kerja gali kubur sampai gali kubur dia sendiri tiap tiap kali dia rasa nak mati.
Your job is to make sure that people will have a memorable experience when they go on vacation. You have to make sure everything is smooth during their journey starting from flight ticket, hotel check in, food and sight seeing arrangement. You have to make sure the bed they sleep on is a good bed and the food is more than what they expected – WITHIN THEIR BUDGET.
But the most important thing is you have no excuse but to LOVE READING. Kalau masa sekolah dulu kau malas baca buku, kau tak payah berangan nak kerja dalam Travel Agency. Imagine this – world is big and people come to you asking 1001 destinations and the best time to go. Asked you what to expect when they go there. What currency to use and what is the exchange rate be like. What to wear, what to eat, how to this, how to that, is it safe to be there at certain time and 1 million questions which only can be answered if you read a lot about… EVERYTHING. If you love to travel, tell me how long will you take to travel throughout this whole globe in order for you to answer those questions? Oi, owner travel agency pun tak dapek nak travel satu dunia, kau tahu?
So, I don’t know how many Tour Department people writes about their work. But here is mine;
After graduated in Accountancy with a degree, I was so familiar with budget and costing. By having 10 years experience in Management Accounting and partly Internal Auditing, then I decided to make a total switch in my career. I know, only the brave ones able to to this. And I’m one of them 😛
I started from the very bottom which is hotel reservations. I learn about the hotel, from room category to cancellation penalty. The star ratings and room allotment, from contract rate by market section to hotel facilities. How big is the hotel, how many units of room they have, spa or no spa and I get to know every hotel’s Sales Manager until its Director. And that’s in MALAYSIA ALONE. Sometimes, I don’t have weekends because I was busy spending nights in hotel to experience the bed and hotel’s service. So, don’t brag to me about 5 star hotels. I’ve been there (Resort and City) and sipping expensive espresso while discussing about room nights volume and bargain for good contract rate at its coffee house DAILY. Let me tell you this – what you guys paying through Agoda and booking.com is still freaking expensive okay?
My passion to learn more about travel service is crazy. Knowing about hotels and everything about it is no longer satisfy me. So I switched workplace. I started reading and learn about every tourist destinations. I started my first Tour Leading for outbound for 20 people to Singapore and grew to 30 people to Beijing and recently, 100 people (3 buses) to Ho Chi Minh (of course it came with great support system from my other fellow colleagues who is in Tour Department as well)
The scope of work is so big – from countless meeting months before the take off to the ground arrangement. Hotel room, transportation, meals, Gala dinner, tour guide, VIP arrangement and many more except for flight tickets. Because you need to go to a different school and courses and years of experience just to be able to run the ticketing system! Hello, tiket booking through AirAsia Website tu 1% je dari apa yang dalam ticketing system.
But, above of all, you have to make sure your clients happy from the day 1 until they go back home.
Ah, not to mention that I have to check the menu / food standard that they will be serving the group. The job is too detail, you have to go a month before the group departure to check the sightseeing program, hotel and food is per quoted by your overseas agent and you have to make sure it will be the same when the actual group is there. Actual. no more or less.
I have to make sure the waiting time at the hotel lobby is as short as possible during check in. You need a very good counterparts / overseas agent to work this with you. When the group arrived, all they know is to get their room key and enjoy the place! If you ever experience checking in into hotel that you booked through Agoda or what so ever, Imagine this, I have to make sure the process of waiting is 1/4 of what you normally gone through. Plus, brief reminder to the group about room key safety, wifi password AND YOU’VE GOT TO INFORM THEM YOUR ROOM NUMBER so that they can ALWAYS find you in case any problem arise like “Help! my toilet can’t flush!”
and no matter how tired and busy you are, you have to take part and be all looking good in the program you arrange for the clients.
and still be able to check the food, ballroom and lighting arrangement for the night with your looking good looking (?)
and to make sure your clients happy in EVERY arrangement you did for them.
So, NO. Working in Travel Agency doesn’t give you a free trip around the world. It sounds like free, since the company is paying for your flight tickets and everything, but the main point why your boss sending you abroad so that you finish the work you started with few months ago until the clients back home. You have to constantly watching your clients and cater to their requests every minute. You can’t take your eyes away from them at all. In fact, you have to take their picture more than taking selfie of yourself, ok?
But I’m not complaining. From this I learn more in traveling arrangement and this makes my OWN SELF PAID traveling experience becoming perfect. Plus, I get to know more and more travel agents around the world, meet them personally so I know that panic or afraid will not be in my travel journal if I got lost in some country or miss my flight on my own exploration.
So, quit with “ wahh bestnya I tengok you.. asyik travel je..”
Lain lah kalau kau kerja gomen. Dalam program cakap melawat Jabatan sekian sekian kat obersea. Tapi sebenarnya, korang pegi shopping kat Harrods kan?.
to be continued.
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