How to get into the Travel Industry
David Wickers is Director of luxury travel company, Bridge & Wickers but has previously had an extensive career in travel journalism. David was Chief Travel Correspondent of The Sunday Times for 17 years and on three occasions was voted Travel Writer of the Year. He is also Travel Editor of Good Housekeeping so has a wealth of knowledge to give those hoping to make it in the travel industry.
Q. How did you get in to the industry?
A. I enjoyed travelling which lead me to travel journalism and then about 8 years ago I set up Bridge & Wickers with Jerry Bridge. We began as a specialist Australia and New Zealand tour operator, we grew gradually and expanded into Canada and the South Sea-Islands and Thailand and so on. We are now under The Ultimate Travel Company umbrella
Q. What do you look for in an employee?
A. The main need is for consultants. Yes, there have to be able to sell a holiday – they are salesman but most important to us they are providing a service. It’s a combination of listening and selling, it’s making sure you are selling the right thing to the right person.
Being a team player is important. Most businesses are broken into teams so being able to work with others and connect with them is vital. A team works at its best when everyone wants to be part of the group and works towards achieving the same goals.
Passion is also a key part of the process. They have to really want the position and be able to show they want it.
Q. What advice would you give to someone wanting to be a successful travel journalist?
A. Reading the travel sections is vital – you have to know each publication, their audience and their writing style. If you end up writing for a publication you should already know everything about it and read it regularly.
You’ve got to be professional – if a newspaper only has 1000 word articles don’t submit 2000 words. You have to already know what they are looking for without them telling you, it saves them time and shows you are thorough and well researched.
If you are proposing an idea, make sure you have researched your idea, you know your angle and you can explain why their audience would want the information and how it would help them.
Q. What is your advice for someone looking for a career in the travel industry?
A. I think you need to be passionate about travelling and know and understand what you’re selling. Most people also have their specialist areas – they’re passionate or knowledgeable about a particular part of the world so they know how to sell it and talk about it.
Q. Has your education and degree helped you to get to where you are today?
A. Nobody has ever asked me if I had a degree but on the other hand education is something in its own right isn’t it. When you’ve achieved a degree you feel like you can achieve the world.
Q. What is the biggest challenge of your role?
A. Making sure clients have the holiday they want. We’re not selling what we want to sell – we very much listen to what they tell us and that’s the achievement, it’s making sure they have the right holiday. Our USP is very much service, the challenge is fulfilling the customer’s expectations.
Interested in a career in travel or want to find out more about the team? Visit the Ultimate Travel Company website for more information and details on how to apply for roles.