Tour operator representatives act on behalf of the tour operator to give practical information, provide assistance, handle services and sell excursions to tourists while at their destinations.
The duties of a tour operator representative include, but are not limited to
- meeting guests at the airport
- escorting guests to their accommodation
- organising and hosting welcome meetings (sometimes for up to 200 people)
- selling and organising excursions and other activities
- selling car hire and other services
- responding to clients’ queries (this may involve being on duty for set times each day)
- handling client issues, such as lost luggage or passports, allegations of theft or other crimes, problems with rooms, health problems, injuries or even deaths
- dealing with unforeseen ‘non-client’ problems, like flight delays, transport strikes or weather conditions
- resolving any conflict with or between clients
- establishing and maintaining relationships with local hoteliers, apartment owners, excursion agents and travel companies
- maintaining an in-depth knowledge of the resort and the local area in order to answer clients’ questions
- accompanying customers on excursions and acting as a guide
- organising and supervising children’s activities, ensuring they’re in a safe environment
- organising and taking part in daytime and evening entertainment
- checking hotel standards and safety procedures
- completing risk assessments and health and safety checks
- keeping basic accounts and records and writing reports
- assisting in the support and training of new holiday representatives.
The following job titles also refer to tour operator representative:
Tour operator representatives typically work in an office setting, although they may travel to meet with clients or visit potential tour sites. They typically work regular business hours, although they may be required to work evenings and weekends to accommodate the schedules of their clients. Some tour operator representatives may also be required to travel extensively to meet with clients or visit potential tour sites.
Tour operator representatives typically work under tight deadlines and may be required to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously. They must be able to handle last-minute changes and be able to think quickly and creatively to solve problems.
Some of the smaller, more specialised operators may offer the possibility to work freelance.
Most tour operators seek candidates with experience of working in a customer service or travel and tourism role.
Although it’s not required, a high school diploma or equivalent in one of the following subjects may be useful to the role:
- childhood studies – for a children’s representative
- hospitality and tourism management
- international tourism management
- leisure and tourism
- modern languages
- tourism business management.
Language skills aren’t usually a requirement but many tour operators value them. This is particularly the case in countries where English is not widely spoken, as the tour operator representative will often act as a link between the local community and tourists.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Tour operator representative is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Tour operator representative career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to tour operator representative.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of tour operator representative. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of tour operator representative with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of tour operator representative.
- Geographical areas relevant to tourism: The field of tourism geography in Europe as well as the rest of the world in order to point out relevant tourism areas and attractions.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of tour operator representative.
- Create solutions to problems: Solve problems which arise in planning, prioritising, organising, directing/facilitating action and evaluating performance. Use systematic processes of collecting, analysing, and synthesising information to evaluate current practice and generate new understandings about practice.
- Communicate with customers: Respond to and communicate with customers in the most efficient and appropriate manner to enable them to access the desired products or services, or any other help they may require.
- Maintain working relationships: Ensure effective working relationships with colleagues and others. Maintain them over long periods of time.
- Handle customer complaints: Administer complaints and negative feedback from customers in order to address concerns and where applicable provide a quick service recovery.
- Upsell products: Persuade customers to buy additional or more expensive products.
- Process booking: Execute a booking of a place according to client’s requirement in advance and issue all appropriate documents.
- Manage health and safety standards: Oversee all personnel and processes to comply with health, safety and hygiene standards. Communicate and support alignment of these requirements with the company’s health and safety programmes.
- Handle personal identifiable information: Administer sensitive personal information on customers securely and discreetly
- Maintain customer service: Keep the highest possible customer service and make sure that the customer service is at all times performed in a professional way. Help customers or participants feel at ease and support special requirements.
- Make logistical arrangements: Cooperate with coach operators, transport providers and accommodation providers in order to schedule transport, accommodation and activities.
- Measure customer feedback: Evaluate customer’s comments in order to find out whether customers feel satisfied or dissatisfied with the product or service.
- Work in a hospitality team: Function confidently within a group in hospitality services, in which each has his own responsibility in reaching a common goal which is a good interaction with the customers, guests or collaborators and their contentment.
- Provide customised products: Make and develop custom-made products and solutions for customer’s specific needs.
- Provide performance feedback: provide performance feedback and observation remarks to third parties with regard to quality
- Assist clients with special needs: Aid clients with special needs following relevant guidelines and special standards. Recognise their needs and accurately respond to them if needed.
- Collect tourist information: Gather and compile relevant touristic information from a variety of sources.
- Apply foreign languages in tourism: Use the mastery of foreign languages orally or written in the tourism sector in order to communicate with collaborators or customers.
- Devise special promotions: Develop promotion activities to stimulate sales.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of tour operator representative. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Implement marketing strategies: Implement strategies which aim to promote a specific product or service, using the developed marketing strategies.
- Prepare travel packages: Make holiday and travel packages ready and arrange, travel, accommodation, logistics and services such as chartered airplanes, taxis, car rental or excursions for clients.
- Manage the customer experience: Monitor, create and oversee customer experience and perception of brand and service. Ensure pleasant customer experience, treat customers in a cordial and courteous manner.
- Negotiate service with providers: Arrange contracts with providers concerning accommodation, transport and leisure services.
- Implement sales strategies: Carry out the plan to gain competitive advantage on the market by positioning the company’s brand or product and by targeting the right audience to sell this brand or product to.
- Maintain customer records: Keep and store structured data and records about customers in accordance with customer data protection and privacy regulations.
- Negotiate supplier arrangements: Reach an agreement with the supplier upon technical, quantity, quality, price, conditions, storage, packaging, send-back and other requirements related to the purchasing and delivering process.
ISCO group and title
4221 – Travel consultants and clerks
- Tour operator representative – ESCO
- Holiday representative job profile | Prospects.ac.uk
- Holiday Representative – How to become – Careers Wales
- Featured image: By Kashem8 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0