Name: Jo Peterson
Role: Travel designer (travel broker/travel agent) at Flight Centre
Tertiary education: Diploma in business specialising in travel and tourism
How long have you been in your current role?
How did you get into this role?
I was about to turn 30 and had lived and worked in Auckland, Sydney, Tokyo and London in various industries. I loved travelling but couldn’t find that perfect role that I loved. Two of my good friends managed Flight Centres in Auckland and I saw how much fun they had, how much they travelled and that they earned good money. So I started at Downtown Flight Centre, and the rest is history.
Why did you choose a career in the travel industry?
I absolutely love travelling so selling travel is about the best job I could wish for.
What does a normal day/week look like for you?
Phone calls, quoting and requoting, meetings to discuss potential travel experiences to get to the first stage of a travel plan, booking flights, making the package booking, taking payments, sending e-tickets, packing ticket wallets, perhaps going on a ship inspection, educational sessions, product updates et cetera.
Is the job what you thought it would be?
Yes, it is. And even better now I have climbed up the ranks from being a top novice to managing Flight Centres and going to global balls (a Flight Centre reward for top staff), then opening two Cruiseabouts (an off-shoot of Flight Centre) and now being very lucky to be a Flight Centre broker working from my home.
What is the most rewarding thing about your job?
Making people’s hope and dreams come true. Designing amazing tailor-made experiences for clients, especially those I love and respect and have worked with for a long time. Meeting a new client developing an amazing relationship for years to come.
What is the most challenging thing about your job?
There is a lot involved in booking a flight/package/holiday, and a lot that can go wrong. So you must be very meticulous and well-organised and have super time management or things can fall through the cracks
What is your career highlight to date?
Achieving global ball status (a reward for the top 10 per cent of Flight Centre staff) as a novice in my first year and then taking my team to most-improved shop in New Zealand in my third year. And the wonderful trips I have been taken on to places such as Fiji, Uluru, the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu in South America, Namibia just a couple of months ago and many more.
What advice would you give those considering a career in travel?
It is hard work but if you have a passion for selling and travel and have great time-management skills, you will love it and make good money doing it too.
What is your personal mission statement/motto that you live by in your career?
Work hard/play hard and love what you do. Be kind and always interested in listening to people and to their wants and needs. Provide them with this and you can’t go wrong. Always providing unique travel experiences for people to exceed their expectations and get them with the wow factor.
What skills do you think are valuable in your industry?
Prompt replying to people’s calls/emails/requests for quotes. Good people skills. Time management. Broad knowledge of the world, sharing personal experiences, along with excellent customer service skills.
What is a common misconception about the industry?
That booking online is cheaper and easier than using an agent. Booking online can cause lots of tricky situations with regard to lack of knowledge re airlines, lengthy stopovers, poor hotel choices, visa issues et cetera. Booking online isn’t cheaper as airlines, hotels, cruise lines et cetera pay us our commission out of the base price you see, so you don’t pay more, they just get less revenue theoretically per sale. However, because of the bulk of business we put through, they make the majority of their money through travel agent channels.