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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value

Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
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

    Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

    £65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

    Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

    £27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas