The inside story of a travel advisor

travel agncy

Sheela Pradhan, (name changed on request), 27, works as a Senior Travel Advisor for an IATA-accredited travel agency in south Delhi. She is often acknowledged as the ‘done deal lady’ at work because of the pace at which she closes the business deals with her clients.

“As a travel advisor, I need to understand my customer’s requirements very well. Travelling, mostly, has an aspirational value, as travellers aspire a new experience. It is very important to understand these aspirations and offer sensible solutions. This is the key to be a successful travel advisor,” shares Sheela.

She further adds “The very part of understanding a traveller’s psyche and offering her/him a customised travel plan makes this job interesting. It’s like going into somebody’s mind and offering the exact thing that the person wants,”

Sheela comes from a middle-class background and stays with her parents who are retired Govt employees, in a rented accommodation in east Delhi. She commutes everyday on her TVS Scooty which takes her about 45 minutes to work. With her monthly salary as Rs.20,000/- , Sheela lends her hand in the finances for the Pradhan household. She says, “I do get small commissions for big travel deals – which I save it for a rainy day.”

A typical day at Sheela’s workplace involves her to book accommodations, sell airline, bus and train tickets, prepare itineraries, collect payments, address passport and visa issues, apart from visiting corporate clients, for outbound and inbound travel.

Says Sheela, “I have done a 5-month course in travel and tourism management from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Delhi, which has enabled me to understand the travel business and respond to customer needs efficiently.”

She continues, “In fact, I would like get a Master of Tourism Administration degree in the near future and would recommend such a course to every aspiring woman who wants to understand the dynamics of the ever-changing and demanding travel and tourism sector.”

“There is lot of stress in this job as you have to meet sales targets and also face customer’s ire at times. Our managers help us deal with these issues with their mentorship and guidance. The company organises birthday and festival celebrations, apart from hosting an annual picnic – as part of recreational activities.”

“I wish I could spend more time with my parents. But I work six days a week and most of the times I get late at work. Thanks to my understanding parents, they never complain about anything. On Sundays, I take them out and also spend time with my friends,” says Sheela.

Sheela has been able to clinch some major deals with top organisations and her management banks immensely on her convincing abilities and her in-depth knowledge on the travel industry.
“I would advise young women who have three qualities – to convince, to be patient and the power to understand - to join this industry. One can pick up most of the structured knowledge and hard skills from a travel institute but the best place to learn is your job. I practically have the flight routes of every major airline and know the exchange rate for all major currency – on my fingertips,” says Sheela with pride.

Next on Sheela’s wishlist: To be on the other side of her workplace table – book a holiday with her parents to an exotic location in Greece as a customer.


- Suniet Bezbaroowa (views expressed in the article are that of the author)




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