I can make it happen!
The culture of travelling has changed a lot in the last 20 years, or at least so my boss tells me. When he was a bright and bushy-eared teenager at the turn of the Millennium the only way to book a holiday was by heading into town and talk to a travel agent.
To some younger people this might well sound like madness, but believe me, this was actually how it used to work. The travel agent would usually be a sharply-dressed individual (usually female) and would smell strongly of perfume, in fact the whole shop would smell of perfume. Carefully painted fingernails would tap loudly on keyboards and glossy brochures would point you in the direction of your next holiday.
You’d pick your destination from these brochures, find a hotel suitable for your budget and book your flights—all in one place. There’s no denying that this system was certainly efficient, but it’s not surprising that the young people of today go elsewhere when booking their trips away.
The company that I work for specialising in providing villas to rent in south France. It’s an online shop, a world away from the brick-and-mortar travel agencies of yesteryear, that offers a selection of luxury properties that holiday-makers can choose from. My job is chiefly concerned with uploading properties onto the website, answering emails from customers and researching new locations to add to the site. Although I’m serving a similar role as the traditional travel agents, I’m much more specialised in my approach and do not deal with any customers face-to-face.
Traditionally, before entering into this industry, it was expected that prospective travel agents should take an NVQ or a similar course in Tourism or Hospitality. My boss still has his certificate from 2002 proudly framed on the wall behind his desk. As much as these qualifications still offer useful information to young people, in truth you can pick up much of this information on the job, which is exactly what I’ve done.
After leaving school I decided to focus my efforts on learning how to code. It began as a hobby, but soon turned into a serious passion. I got myself on to a Programming A Level and with the experience I gained from that I was able to secure my first job. Although I was initially hired to help out with the development of the site, I soon found that I was being put to work with other tasks that I’d not initially been prepared before.
What had started out as just a temporary job soon turned into a fulfilling first step on a career ladder that I had no idea existed!
My case was certainly one of right place, right time. I joined the company just as it made the transition to online-only; they needed a young ambitious person who was eager to learn more about digital marketing and I was more than ready to take on the challenge. I had a very rigid notion of how careers worked whilst I was in college, but working here has allowed me to expand my horizons and appreciate that in the 21st century the sky’s really the limit!