A ‘Day in the life of a resort rep’ – well where do I start? I chose this profession as rarely can the cliché ‘no two days are the same’ have been more true.
If you are looking for variety in your working day, real autonomy in your role, the chance to meet new interesting like minded people, live in a beautiful part of the world & of course fantastic skiing or boarding conditions, the resort life will suit you.
Mornings sometimes start at 5am if it is transfer day at the airport or a more civilised 8.30 if I will be in resort all day.
The day starts by checking email to see if any new bookings have come through or notifications from my line manager or other colleagues about guest requests.
I may have some paperwork tasks to undertake, like reviewing my weekly accounts or thinking about promotion material for the weeks après events that I organise & offer to guests to enhance the overall holiday experience. These events, like the weekly bar crawl or quiz nights are great fun for the guests and the reps but also benefit both you & your company as we do charge for them. Going out to a bar is hardly what I call a hard day at work!
If you can manage your time efficiently (& believe me you get better at it as the snow gets better & your desire to get out there sooner gets stronger!) you should be able to socially ski at least 5 days of the week. I’ve also taken guests out skiing, which again is hardly a hard day at work & a great way to share your knowledge & enjoyment of the mountain.
Around 5pm I start my evening property visits to see all my guests. The number of properties for which a resort rep is responsible can vary - however as a rough guide, 4 or 5 is standard. I generally allow more time at the start of the week as guests can take a while to settle in & learn the lay of the resort. As the week develops, questions get less & guests can become more like friends. On these property visits any number & variety of questions can be thrown at me, that is why it’s imperative to know your resort & the ski area – this is always hard for a first time rep in a resort but it does get easier!
I also have sales targets to achieve so I’m always looking at new events that I could organise & make the holiday even better. Often, just by chatting to guests I can find out what they like to do, how they want to spend their holiday & tailor the programme accordingly.
It’s not all fun, fun, fun though. Guests do sometimes complain & it’s my job to put things right. Normally guests are reasonable people & if you act professionally with them, they will respond accordingly. However, the holiday is meant to be the best week of their year and they have spent their hard earned cash on it - so it is a crucial part of the job to make sure guests have got what they paid for & what they are expecting. Consequently, the 24/7 availability which you have to be for guests at all times is not to everyone’s taste or acceptance. If you don’t like the sound of this or the fact that your phone can & does ring at any hour of the day, then perhaps this isn’t the job for you.
After the property visits, it is either on to evening activities that have been arranged or out to the bar with your friends.
Arrival/Departure days can be long & tiring - a start at 5am with a finish around 10pm is not uncommon. Stamina, a sense of humour & good common sense skills are imperative as any number of situations can occur eg: coach breakdowns, aircraft over-bookings, diversions due to fog, customer left the child’s DS in the chalet... these are generally outside the reps control but the rep is the front line for dealing with it!
Naturally, there is always a support network within most companies, but you are the face of the company and the guests will remember you more than they remember the company they were travelling with.
When applying for rep jobs any previous sales or service experience is advantageous, as is working independently. Additionally the ability to speak a suitable foreign language is always going to move your CV to the top of the pile. How are you ever going to liaise with local suppliers if you can’t speak their language – sign language is only going to get you so far!
The major benefits of being a ski rep include working in a great environment, having access to lots of great skiing with a free season lift pass, provided accommodation, ski kit and the opportunity to meet loads of new people... but, remember it is hard work!
Days can be long, you need to think on your feet and, if you are expecting regular hours, seek a different job - if, however, you like a challenge and want to develop a range of skills working in a foreign environment and culture, this is really a wonderful industry in which to get involved.
"You should be able to socially ski at least 5 days of the week."
Written by Kirsteen Warner from Zenith Holidays, who recruit staff for chalets in France and Austria.