Employment: Going Places in a Busy Career; NAME: MICHELLE HAMILTON JOB: TRAVEL CONSULTANT FIELD: TOURISM INTERVIEWED BY: SUE VASEY
Byline: SUE VASEY
MICHELLE Hamilton has one of the most interesting yet at the same time, frustrating jobs in the world - booking holidays to exotic destinations - for other people! As Assistant Manager of travel agency Going Places in Forestside, Belfast, Michelle's job is to make other people's dreams come true.
It is an exciting, busy and demanding job and requires not only extensive knowledge of all holiday destinations and flights but also a lot of patience.
"No two days are the same in this job and when I come in I have no idea who is going to walk through the door or what they are going to ask me to help them with."
Sometimes they are looking for a straight forward holiday booking but there is always the chance that someone could walk through the door and have either no idea or a mixture of unusual ideas of what they want. And that is where Michelle's experience comes in.
"There are a lot of people who just want to take a package holiday to one of the costas but we often get people who fancy going somewhere more unusual or exotic. And that's the part of the job I find really challenging and rewarding - finding a destination in some far off part of the world and then tailor making a package to suit their needs."
Experience, she says, is one of the most important parts of a job in the travel industry.
Both she and her colleagues need to know the travel codes for all countries and airport destinations around the world as well as have a detailed background knowledge on a number of resorts and locations.
"It's so much better if I can talk to a customer and recommend somewhere that I've been to myself. That way I'll know the good and bad points of the resort or country and advise them where I feel would most suit them and their families."
Getting to know more about specific destinations is of course a perk of the job.
Known as 'educationals', these trips to resorts around the world are organised for the staff to help build up their knowledge of different countries and resorts. They stay in fabulous hotels, take excursions and check out all the available facilities.
So far Michelle has spent a week in Florida, Israel, Thailand, Bali and most countries in mainland Europe. And her reward for being the company's top salesperson last year was a week in a five star hotel in Dubai.
"Of course that's one of the great parts of my job. I really do get to go to some fantastic places and see some of the world's most spectacular sights. …