The tourism industry is not like any other business. We sell a product, but we also sell a destination. We sell a service, but we also sell a dream. When people are saying that they want to travel the world, it’s the professionals in the tourism industry that make it happen; from the knowledgeable travel agents to the internet travel portals and from the local and global airlines to the experienced hoteliers, we are working to bring the people to the world or, better yet, to bring the world to the people. And all these different individuals have various skills, diverse traits. But what are some of the essential skills necessary to succeed in the tourism industry? Here is a quick breakdown.
Love for traveling: We are stating the obvious here, so we are putting it first on our list. Passion for your job is a requirement for success in many professions, and our industry is no exception. How can you guide people to fulfill their dreams if you are unable to understand why they have these dreams? One would argue that love for traveling is not a skill per se, but when it comes to our sector, it kind of is.
Business acumen: Bad business decisions have helped no one ever (that’s why they are called bad business decisions). So, in order to succeed, you need to know the sector really well or have the willingness, the desire to know it. It takes hard work, it takes education, it takes the innate ability to recognize an opportunity or, even, to create it.
People skills: In this profession, it is rare to stay away from people for long. Especially in the upper rungs of the hierarchy or if you’re in a post that is customer-facing. Traveling, after all, is all about getting to know the world and getting to know the people living in it, so, like the first item on our list, it’s still all about realizing what it is about traveling that is so appealing.
Forward-thinking: People have been traveling for millennia, but traveling is one of these things that has always been changing and it keeps changing. Professionals in the travel and tourism industry need to be able to discern future trends, or even have a hand in creating them. People’s habits evolve and it is much more efficient to anticipate them than to try and catch up to them.
Efficiency in multitasking: In this industry we always need to tackle a multitude of issues that usually stem from the variety of requests that come with catering to the needs of travelers. Essentially, multitasking is our default state and we need to be good at it. And it might sound counterintuitive, but being good at multitasking sometimes means doing one thing efficiently and fast and then moving on to the next one.
Knowledge: This isn’t merely a general, all-encompassing category. Knowledge of the travel industry is very specific and is acquired through hard work, experience and a curiosity found in only the most successful in the business. Success in the travel sector means that you are always looking for answers to questions that you and others have come up with, for emerging trends, for solutions to problems both existing and hypothetical. All this will create a body of knowledge that will help you face any difficulties and will make you a mentor and a leader.