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Q: Erin, you could say that COVID changed the course of your life. Tell us how it helped you get into the travel industry?

A: I had tried to enter the travel industry pre-COVID, however with no industry experience, I was knocked back.

I was working as a Practice Manager for a dentist and while I enjoyed the job, it was just that – a job. It didn’t excite me and I knew I needed to change. While the travel industry was still my dream, I didn’t think I’d find that “break-in” opportunity as I still had no work experience.

In May 2022 my mother did a Canada/Alaska trip with my now Director, John, and when she returned to tell him all about her experience, they discussed how busy the store was and that they needed another consultant.

He mentioned experience wasn’t necessary providing they found the “right” person. COVID had seen so many consultants leave the industry and not return that they realised taking on a junior and training them could be their best option.

I visited him that afternoon for an interview and three days later I became a Junior Travel Consultant – at 44 the oldest junior ever!

Q: Who was your first client and where did they go?

A: Being inexperienced, I was initially tasked with only domestic point-to-point bookings. However, it didn’t take long for my portfolio to grow to include international.

One of my most memorable reservations two months into my career was for the Young family; a party of 10 embarking on an international cruise from Singapore.

Sounds straightforward enough, however what added to the complexity was the family members required different flight itineraries as they were visiting other countries before and after the cruise. For a new junior, this was a significant file.

On their return to Perth, the family visited me to re-book the same itinerary for the following year. In addition, they have come to me for other individual travel needs, such as Japan and the United Kingdom.

The family are valued clients who greatly appreciate the service they receive.

Q: You seem to have taken to the travel industry like a duck to water? What do you love about it?

A: I truly believe this career is perfectly suited to me and my personality type and I understood very early on how crucial what we do is.

We are delivering on our clients’ dreams so meticulous organisation, attention to detail and a high level of customer service is imperative. It is using these skills that I really get a buzz out of.

Other aspects of the job I love include:

  • Variety – no two days are the same and no two clients are the same
  • Continual learning – whether it be industry software, destination knowledge or product offerings, I am able to fulfil the need of constantly growing
  • Communication and connections – investing time in my clients to understand what motivates them and what they want out of their travel.

Q: You were awarded the Helloworld 2023 Rising Star (AUS & NZ) after just one year in the industry. That must have been a thrill.

A: I was nominated by my Directors, with only consultants who’ve been in the industry for less than two years eligible to enter.

I was required to submit a presentation to support my nomination, demonstrating accomplishments in my first year. This included training and professional development I’d undertaken, sales achievements and testimonials from clients, suppliers and my Directors.

I’m very honoured to be the recipient of such a prestigious award and use it as motivation to continue to grow, striving for greater success.

Q: What advice would you give someone interested in becoming a travel agent?

A: Go for it! It doesn’t matter your age or your experience – I’m proof of that.

Initially, be prepared to work hard as there is a lot to learn but like anything, the more you invest the more you receive.

Surround yourself with like-minded people, develop connections and keep learning.

It is an extremely rewarding industry – one that becomes more than a job, it’s a lifestyle.