travel: Someone's Got To Do It


KELLY BRACCI, aged 21, has been a travel adviser at the Going Places' Eastcheap branch in London for three years

What qualifications do you have?

At college I did A-levels in German and Music, plus GCSEs in Travel & Tourism, and also in Spanish.

How does your working day begin?

We start work at 8.45am, and for the first quarter hour we have a team talk about what's going on - any promotions, things like that, and from the moment the door opens anything can happen.

Who is the perfect customer?

People think the perfect customer is someone who'd done their homework and walks in and says "I want that holiday", but in fact it doesn't matter if you don't know where you want to go, as long as you're enthusiastic and open to ideas.

But doesn't that leave you open to sell me what you want to push, rather than something I want to buy?

We're owned by Airtours [Britain's second-biggest tour operator], and so if it's right for you, we'll offer you an Airtours holiday, but obviously it's not right for every customer - we'll sell you what we think's right for you.

How do you deal with timewasters?

At the end of the day, nobody's a timewaster. If they don't book at once, they can always come back next week or next year. You have to treat everybody the same. Sometimes you think you can read somebody, but they often turn out to be different by the end of the conversation.

Do many customers end up saying: "I can get a better deal from Lunn Poly down the road?"

Sometimes they say: "I've got a quote from elsewhere", and if it's lower, then we'll see if we can do anything for them. Generally, though, our prices are pretty much the same.

Some say the future of travel agencies is with call centres, or the Internet. What can you offer, that those don't?

From the customer's point of view, if you've got any problems you know who to deal with. We speak to the operators as well, and can often identify possible problems before they happen.

This week in Travel Weekly [the trade journal], there are ads offering scheduled flights to the Caribbean for pounds 139 return - but only if you are a travel agent. Do people take the job just to get some great holidays?

That's what everyone thinks, but it's not true really. We get the chance to join travel clubs, and there are some amazing bargains advertised, but a lot of them are "going next week" offers and we just can't get the time off at short notice.

Also, a lot of people think that as a travel agent you get lost of free holidays - you don't.

What about those so-called "educationals", where agents are taken to a particular destination by tour operators - how much actual education is involved?

Lots. I went skiing for the first time in March this year, to Andorra for four nights with Panorama. I learned a great deal from the trip - before then, it was hard for me to sell skiing. And when you get back to the shop, you can tell everyone else about it as well.

Where do you go from here?

There are opportunities to move up in the company. I don't think I'd like to work abroad, but if you start off as a travel adviser, you can move up in the shop or go to head office.

The party question: at a party, you reveal your job as a travel agent. What is the question that people invariably ask?

How much is it going to cost for them to get wherever it is they want to go? Or, do I know of any late deals around?

How do I sign up?

Visit your local Going Places shop [there are more than 700 around Britain] and pick up an application form.

The bottom line: Going Places says it is difficult to quote a specific starting salary for travel advisers: however, says the company. "last year our top travel advisers earned pounds 18,000"

Suggested Topics
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

    Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

    Early Years Educator

    £68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

    Nursery Nurse

    £69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

    Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

    £117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam