Senior Business Travel Consultant

Name: Christina

Job title: Senior Business Travel Consultant

What exactly is that?

Making travel arrangements for corporate clients. I look after a global banking account making travel bookings for the executive committee and board members of the company. I also book travel for groups and events and roadshows.

How did you get there?

After school I went to sixth form studying travel and tourism. I knew I wanted to work in the travel industry but wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted to do. I didn’t go to uni like the rest of my friends. I was more interested in getting a job and earning my own money. My opinion has always been the same about higher education, you can have all the qualifications in the world but it still doesn’t mean you’re going to get a job at the end of it. I opted for getting myself a job and getting some work experience behind me.

When I left sixth form I started applying for jobs in travel agencies, all of them said the same ‘sorry, you don’t have any work experience’ but how do they expect people to have expericence when no one will give you the chance. I didn’t give up, I was applying for anything and everything determind to get a job in travel. It finally paid off. I was invited to an interview for a travel consultant role which was based in a call centre, again they told me that I didn’t have any experience so I asked them how do I get experience if no one will give me a chance. There was no way I was going to come out of another interview to be told the same.

Luckily they offered me a job doing document dispatch. Basically this was sending out peoples travel documents. After my first 2 weeks I already had my eyes on moving to a different team as it was more speacialised and sending out people’s travel documents was not exactly the travel job I had dreamt of. I kept my head down and worked hard and it paid off. 6 months after starting I was offered a new role as a fares and ticketing consultant. Accuracy with this job is everything, just one mistake can cost the company thousands and maybe you your job. I was lucky as normally you have to have your fares and ticketing level 1 and 2 qualifications to get this job but they offered to train me up and pay for my exams.

I worked there for just over 5 years and loved it. After 5 years I fancied a change and worked overseas as a holiday rep. I did 2 seasons and had the best time ever!!

When I moved back to the UK I was struggling to find a job as a fares and ticketing consultant as people usually tend to stay in that job if they have it. I sent my cv to some travel recruitment agencies and started getting offered lots of business travel consultant roles. I was a good candidate because of my air fares qualifications.

So now I work as a business travel consultant for a big company booking travel for a banking account.

Describe a typical day for you.

My alarm goes off at 6.10am. I train in the morning before work so I usually do a 20-30min HIIT session. I usually leave the house around 7.30am. I travel to work by the commuter coach as I work in Canary Wharf in London. I did used to get the train which is slightly quicker but much more expensive. On a good day it will take me around an hour to get in to Canary Wharf, on a bad day it can take around 1hr 30min.

My shift starts at 9.30am. Everyday is different in the office. My current role is mainly email based. I probably take an average of 5 calls a day but we can get a ridiculous amount of emails coming through for new requests. Any roadshow emails or VIP (exco and board members) are always treated as urgent and have to be dealt with first. You could be in the middle of a big group booking and get a VIP call come through, it’s constantly varied. You can book travel to New York, Paris and Tokyo as some examples and then get other requests in quite obscure places like Emmaboda. We get a 1 hour lunch break and a 15min break mid morning and another mid afternoon. I usually finish at 6pm and get home around 7.30pm. The journey home is always a little longer because of traffic. 12 hour days are long and tiring but if you work in London it is the norm so you have to get used to it. My socail life mid-week with friends is usaually non existient as I either have a work thing on, or I am too tired. I am usually in bed for around 9.30 during the week because I can’t run on less than 8 hours sleep.

What’s the best thing about what you do?

Hmm best things about my job are the people I work with (some of them) and the social life. I can gaurentee that I have invites out to dinner at least twice a month, sometimes in a restaurant sometimes in the hotel. Because of the account I work on we get to go to some very nice hotels! As well as free dinners and drinks we also get invited to concerts, this month I have been invited to the O2 twice in the vip box and we also get the chance to go on fam trips, also know as familiarisation trips. I have been invited to Zurich, Amsterdam and Jersey. We do get looked after.

What one thing would you change if you could?

If I could change one thing about my job it would either to move the office closer to my house, or to become a homeworker.

What did you want to do for a living when you were younger?

When I was a kid I still wanted to work in travel, I wanted to be cabin crew.

Tell us about one thing you were insecure about when you were younger.

I was very insecure about my looks when I was at school, more so when I reached 14-15. My skin wasn’t great and started getting loads of spots. All the other girls had clear skin and glossy hair and boobs!! My boobs didn’t come in until i was about 16 and some of the boys used to joke about it. There wasn’t much I could do about my boobs but my mum did take me to the doctors. He gave me some stuff for my spots which stung like mad but worked! I started wearing makeup and started feeling better about myself.

What advice would you have given yourself at 18?

If I could give my 18 year old self some advice it would be to have respect for myself and others.

What are your favourite things to do in your spare time?

My favourite things are eating, sleeping and watching box sets all weekend! And going on holiday obviously but that doesn’t happen as often as I would like it to!

What’s the title of the last book you read?

I don’t really read books, I get bored of them.

Give us one beauty tip you have learned.

Drink plenty of water, the more you drink the brighter and clearer your skin.

Give us one money tip.

I’ve never been great with money but my motto has always been….you can’t take it with you when your dead, so spend it!

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