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    Name: Martin Crankshaw
    Age: 23
    Type of Rep: Family Rep
    Tour Operator: Thomson
    Country working in: Lanzarote

    “It was an excellent holiday.  I fell in love with the weather and way of life.  After speaking to my Escapades Rep, I decided I wanted to be a rep!”

    Hello there, I’m going to tell you a little bit about my season working as a rep overseas.  This is based on me working as a mainline rep (family rep).  But if you are going to be working as a young and lively rep: 18-30, Escapades, Freestyle or 2wentys, then the training and induction will be slightly different, longer hours and much more included.

    Also you may find that the day-to-day of a rep I have included will be different once you are in resort as you will be guiding a lot more and probably working longer hours.  I have just included it as a guide for you.

    In the beginning

    I live just outside Glasgow and have lived and worked there all my life.  There is a point in everyone’s life when you get fed up with the same thing day in day out, working all hours under the sun in the boring nine to five job just so you can afford to go out and enjoy your self at the weekend.  Living in the same place year after year and not to forget the miserable weather especially up here in Scotland.  So I decided I was going to do something about it.

    Two years ago I went on a lad’s holiday to Gran Canaria with two of my friends Ross and Dave, it was my first time abroad.  It was an excellent holiday, I fell in love with the weather and the way of life, after speaking to the escapades rep I decided that I wanted to be a rep!

    So when I got home from Gran Canaria, I did a lot of research to find out as much information as I could about being a rep and how to get the job, I found most of it on the internet.  I was currently doing an apprenticeship in engineering and still had two years of it to complete, so I decided to complete it first so I would have an apprenticeship and qualifications to fall back on just in case things didn’t work out as a rep.  I would advise anyone currently at college, university, doing an apprenticeship or studying for any other qualifications to complete them first as a lot of reps do quit in the middle of the season and go home, due to exhaustion, family problems back home or just because the job is not what they expected. When they return home they find it difficult to get a decent job.

    For people who are too young to rep or are still studying and have some time to spare, there are many courses and jobs you can do to help you gain employment as a rep, jobs involving sale, customer service, and travel industry related.  Any public speaking, language, first aid, travel or tourism courses etc. that you can put in you CV in order to increase your chances.  One of the best courses that you can do and one that is recognised by all the tour operators is the Online Holiday Rep Diploma Course.  It is one of the best ways to get into the job and it teaches you how to fill in the application forms correctly, preparation for the interview and what to expect at the interview, the job and what to expect in resort.

    After spending a lot of time browsing through the internet trying to find information on being a holiday rep I came across Career In Travel website. It was just what I was looking for. After reading through all the useful information I decided I was going to go for it, so I signed myself up on the Online Holiday Rep Diploma Course.

    Applying to the Tour Operators

    After completing the online training, I started to complete the application forms contained within the training.  I completed in total 9 using the information given within Holiday Rep Diploma Course.

    A week or two after submitting the application forms the emails started rolling in giving me the dates of the interviews and what to prepare.  Most of them tell you in the letter or email what to prepare and some tell you not to prepare anything.  This is what I was asked to prepare for a couple of the interviews I went to, but it may change from year to year.

    Club 18 – 30 interview

    • Prepare a 2 minute presentation on yourself to present.
    • Prepare a 1 minute sale on an excursion or party night etc.
    • Prepare a 2 minute entertainment piece and perform it in front of the class.
    • Read the brochure as there will be a test on it.

    Thomson interview

    To prepare a 2 minute presentation on where you would like to work and why and present it to the group…

    When going to any rep interviews try and remember to take along a calculator, plus bring along more than just one pen just in case you loose one, and also a note pad.  They some times tell you in the letter what to bring.

    The interviews

     Club 18-30 interview

    Club 18-30 interviews are held all over the UK, and mine was held in Glasgow, there were about 30 people there around 15 female and 15 male.  At the start they get you all into a room and tell you all about the job and what’s involved.  For the first part of the interview they split us up into groups of 3 and took 3 at a time through to different rooms, there were about 8 interviewers in total, and for our first presentation which was the 2 minute presentation on myself there were 3 interviewers and the other 2 members of my team. We each had to present back to the 3 interviewers. So we did not have to present to the class of 38 which was a relief.  The second part of the interview was our 1 minute sales pitch, and again in the same group of three we presented it back but to different interviewers this time, we had 2, my sale was a beach party.

    After that it was time for our general knowledge, maths and brochure test. For the general knowledge test a week or two before the interview I would buy the sun newspaper as a lot of questions are based around what is in it.

    for the next part of the interview we had to present our entertainment piece back to everyone at the interview  approx 38 people so be prepared, I sang the Proclamers and danced about like a maniac.

    If you are successful up to this stage of the interview you will  all be given a one to one interview, they ask you various questions, why would you be a good rep, why should we give you the job, they also give you different scenarios of the kind of problems you may be faced with in resort and ask you what you would do to resolve them.  They also have a chat with you to get to know you better.

    Escapades interview

    My interview was held in Glasgow; there was about 10 of us there me and a guy Stewart that was at the 18 – 30 interview with me and about 8 ladies.  As we were not asked to prepare anything I wasn’t sure what they were going to ask us to do but once we were there it was similar to other interviews that I had been to in the past.

    The first part was various presentations and team work activities.  Then we had to construct a sale from a list of topics and present it to the group.  For the entertainment section we were split into groups and asked to sing our favourite song in our teams of three and sing it to everyone in the room.  For the customer service section we had to do a role play, I was to be working at a customer service desk in Ikea and one of the interviewers was to come in with a complaint and we had to deal with it.

    Again at the end of the interview they hold a two on 1 to find out a little more about yourself.

    Olympic holiday’s interview

    Amount of people at interview: 31, 29 ladies, myself and another guy. (A bit out numbered). The age range of the people at the interview were from about 21 – 50.

    The first part we had to interview the person on our right and then stand up and tell the group as much as you could about them. Then we had a class discussion about the role of a rep and they asked us various questions.

    We were given various teamwork activities and then group presentations, and assessed on this.  After this we had to prepare a presentation on our best ever holiday and why and present it to the group, just before the end we were given a maths and general knowledge quiz.  Finally we then had a one-to-one interview if we made it passed the first stage.

    Thomson holidays

    At my interview there were only six of us there and I was the only male.   The interview was in Edinburgh job centre in one of the rooms, for the first part of the day they asked us to introduce our selves and tell every one a little bit of you. They will tell you what to include.  I was the only one who stood up and introduced myself the rest just sat down and did it so I was ahead from the start.

    They split us into teams and gave us problems in resort to solve. And present back.  Throughout the morning we were given various team work activities.  In the letter we were asked to prepare a 2 minute presentation on the resort we would like to work in and why.  So we all got up and did our presentations.  Once this was done we had a test. We had to complete an accounts sheet on the information given to us (excursions sold etc), also on the test paper we had to solve questions on problems in resort.

    Then to finish off the day if successful up to this stage you will get a one-to-one interview.

    I only decided to only go for the 5 interviews and to leave the other 4, as I had been successful with each of the interviews that I went for.  Depending on the tour operator you might find out if you were successful at the end of the day or during the next couple of weeks after. They will tell you at the interview when they will notify you.  I decided to accept Thomsons offer.

    Thomsons new entrant training course

    If you have passed the interview stage then you are nearly there, all it is now is the training course.  Training courses can run between 1 week to 4 weeks, depending on tour operator.  My training course was 6 days in the UK, and then another 10 day induction once in resort.

    The days are long and intense. The training course day starts at 9am and usually finishes about 6:30- 7pm. then its dinner, after dinner on some days there was an evening activity, like a game show quiz (based on the job). Which was fun and we could bring drinks from the bar.  Every night was a late one as we had to prepare for the next day, exams, presentations, welcome meetings, sales etc.

    Here is a day by day of the training course and what’s involved.  This is a very basic idea, every day involved lots of presentations and team work.  This is just to give you an insight into the training course I completed, but they wont all be the same for all the tour operators, but similar.

    Day 1

    Welcome and introduction 1
    Welcome and introduction 2
    Lunch
    Week in the life of a rep
    How you fit in
    Tea break
    Customer service
    Performance skills
    Dinner
    Evening activity
    Study and prepare (in your own time)

    Day 2

    Review of the day
    Reservations
    What are the highlights?
    Airport
    Lunch
    Brochure quiz
    Brain power – the positive approach
    Tea break
    Building a sale
    Sales presentation workshop
    Dinner
    Study and prepare (in your own time)

    Day 3

    Review of the day
    Sales delivery
    Tea
    Welcome meeting lesson
    Welcome meeting follow up
    Lunch
    Sales/customer service
    Health and safety
    Welcome meeting video
    Dinner
    Study and prepare (in your own time)

    Day 4

    Review of the day
    Present part of welcome meeting
    How are doing so far (one to one interview)
    Library time (study time)
    Lunch
    Conversational selling
    First aid
    Dinner
    Evening activity
    Study and prepare (in your own time)

    Day 5

    Review of the day
    Quality control
    Tea break
    Handling problems
    Lunch
    Handling problems
    Tea break
    Monitoring you own performance in resort
    One-to-ones / welcome meeting rehearsal.
    Dinner
    Study and prepare (in your own time)

    Day 6 final day

    Review of the day
    Present welcome meetings
    Prepare ‘story of the week’
    Lunch
    Passing out parade
    End of course

    Once in resort

    A week after my course I got a letter telling me that I was going to Menorca in April; I gave them a phone and asked if I could start right away. 2 days later I got a phone call from them asking me if I wanted to go to Lanzarote on the 12th February, I said yes, I was over the moon and got my things packed and off I went to resort.

    I was picked up from the airport and taken to a hotel where I was to begin my 10 martincrankshawstory5day induction.  The induction is intense, at my induction there were about 20 of us.  There are a lot of presentations and team work involved.  Some inductions are smaller or bigger depending on where you work.  Here is an idea of what you do in the induction.

    • Team work activities
    • Excursions – reps have to know what all the excursions are like and what’s included in order to sell, so they try and get you on as many as possible its fun but you need to do a lot of note taking so you can build sales.
    • Sales preparation – in your own time you have built up sales.
    • Resort ramble – working in a team and each team has a car and a questions booklet and you have to drive round the island and find places – police stations, apartments, hotels etc.
    • Admin and accounts – paper work, report forms, weekly accounts and how it’s done.
    • Visitors – visitors from local suppliers may come in to give a talk and hand out information, like car hire companies.
    • Health and safety and quality
    • Welcome meeting preparation
    • Customer service.
    • Airport. Normally also includes a visit.

    Once the induction is finished you will then find out what resort, apartment, and hotel you will be working in and were you will be staying.  I stayed and worked in Puerto del Carmen in Lanzarote.

    The good side to being a rep

    Being a rep is great you get so work in sunny weather in a holiday environment so martincrankshawstory4every day is different and there is always something happening.  Away from the 9-5 job in the cold weather.  You meet lots of new people and make friends like other reps, bar workers etc.  I guarantee you it is an experience that will last you a life time.

    Cheap, discounted or even free food and drink in restaurants, bars, normally free entry to clubs.  Don’t normally have to pay for excursions that your company sells, site seeing, boat trips, evening excursions etc.  Accommodation and bills are paid for by tour operator, we had my own private pool!

    Commission on excursions and car hire. You can earn a lot.  Good career opportunities worldwide, long haul, short haul, ski, UK and moving up the ladder is quick if you are good at the job.

    The downside to being a rep

    The first 6 weeks will be the hardest, feeling home sick, settling in, learning the martincrankshawstory2job, be positive and don’t give up it does get easier and then you will enjoy the job.

    Incidences in resort. Guests falling very ill, serious accidents, even death and rape, I never had to deal with any of this thank goodness.  Long tiring hours. (Depending on resort), flight delays and being away from home for long periods.

    The good defiantly out weighs the bad.  People do say that all you do is deal with is moaning and complaining guests, well don’t listen to them; you will meet nice, friendly people as well. I hardly had any complaints.

    A day in the life of a Holiday Rep

    Here is a day to day as a rep. it will be different for everyone, Lanzarote is an easy place to work and I had a lot of time off.  With not many flight days, so that means less welcome meetings and not much guiding.

    In Lanzarote we did not have a cabaret that all the reps took part in.  Also Lanzarote airport closes at approx 12:30am and opens at 6am so no going to the airport at 3 in the morning!

    The times below are only a guide; this can change in the event of delays, getting held up at hotels etc

    Sunday

    9:30-12:30       airport

    12:30-5:00       off

    5:00-8:00         evening duties

    Monday

    9:00-12:00       welcome meeting/morning duties

    12:00-             varies weekly accounts.

    5:00-8:00         evening duties

    Tuesday

    Half day

    5:00-8:00        evening duties

    Wednesday

    Arrival day but I didn’t have airport duties

    you don’t have to go to the airport every day there is arrivals as you will be given airport shifts.

    9:00-12:00       morning duties

    5:00-8:00        evening duties

    Thursday

    9:00-12:00       welcome meeting/morning duties

    5:00-8:00         evening duties

    8:30-11:00        airport

    Friday

    9:00-12-00       welcome meeting/morning duties

    5:00-8:00         evening duties

    Saturday

    Day off

    This is based on me working in Lanzarote.  Remember if you want to work in a very popular, busy, lively, resort, you need to be prepared to work much harder.  Working in a place like Mallorca or Ibiza the hours are normally longer.  In the summer there are flights landing every day, the airport is open 24 hours a day. So your shift might be at 3am.

     

    Doing the reps cabaret and rehearsals are in your own time.  Guiding excursions. martincrankshawstory3And hotel visits are normally 8 hours instead of 6. But it will also be an excellent experience.  If you want to last the season you will have to pace yourself or you wont last as it is a long season and when July/august come you will need the energy. So don’t go out every night and party and have hardly any sleep like I did as I was drained by the end of season. Late nights and drinking loads will also make you stressed and broke!

    Good luck to you all. I’m off to Lanzarote and then I’m off to Mallorca. Hope this has helped you all and look me up if you are ever in Mallorca.

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