Your A-Z guide

Find your perfect role in travel – plus, we dispel some myths about what it’s like to work in the industry

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A - C

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Represent clients in the travel industry to increase awareness and sales

Creative and business‑focused roles to raise the profile of a travel company through broadcast, print and digital campaigns

Pilots and cabin crew staff the aircraft, supported by colleagues in customer service, sales, marketing, technology, engineering and manufacturing

Security guards, special assistance teams, baggage handlers and ground staff keep airports working efficiently

Web developers, business analysts and database administrators are just a few of the roles that use artificial intelligence to help ensure travel companies remain efficient and competitive

Membership organisations represent different sectors within the industry, offering training, support and guidance

Arrange business trips from within a company’s travel department or an external travel agency

Sell holidays by phone or online as well as assist customers from their initial enquiry to post‑booking feedback

Assist with the running of the site by leading activities, maintaining the facilities or assisting guests with bookings

Help customers all over the world get around with roles in sales, administration, accounting, marketing and vehicle servicing

Coach holidays are run by drivers, tour guides, reservations staff, operations managers and itinerary planners

Create inspiring videos, photos or stories that showcase a destination or brand for use mainly on social media, but also on websites and in marketing campaigns

There’s a variety of positions both on and off ships, from captains, cruise directors and entertainers to sales, commerce and management roles

D - G

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Collect and assess data from across the industry to provide business insights and help travel companies improve the services they offer

Everyone from software developers through to content producers uses digital technology to reach consumers and manage bookings

Ensure online transactions are smooth and simple

Add-on providers take care of everything from airport parking and lounges to transfer services and insurance

Ferry operators based in the UK and overseas transport people and cargo to where they need to be, with the help of onboard engineers and crew, as well as operations managers and communications teams

Manage cashflow, staff salaries, audits and taxes for travel companies

Advise on overseas currency and cashless payment cards for transactions abroad, within either a travel agency or a financial institution

A central reservation system for travel inventory, including hotels and airlines, that allows comparisons and facilitates bookings, with business and technology-facing roles

H - O

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Ensure hotels and holiday suppliers are conforming to safety standards and provide training and education

Sell holidays from home to clients over the phone or online, either as a business owner or on behalf of a company

This global sector employs millions in customer-facing and back‑office hospitality roles

An increasing number of roles help to harness new technology to provide better business solutions and seamless customer experiences

Employs people in risk assessment, product development and client services to ensure customers are protected if things go wrong

All industries rely on robust IT, from day-to‑day support for remote working to developing more efficient business systems

In-house lawyers, advisors and external firms work with travel companies to make sure they comply with relevant legislation

Vital in promoting a brand and helping to drive sales, with jobs in creative and commercial roles

Journalists work across newspapers, magazines, online platforms, TV and radio to report on travel, with production teams, and alongside sales and advertising

The meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions sector requires people to work with global venues to organise big events for businesses

This catch-all term refers to the smooth running of holidays and the efficiency of travel companies

P - S

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Ships transporting people and cargo call at passenger and container ports, which offer roles in logistics, operations, management, safety and security

Requires in-depth knowledge of a destination or sector to create interesting itineraries and holiday packages for travel companies to sell

PR representatives are employed by travel companies, either in‑house or via an agency, to communicate news to media organisations and generate creative content ideas

Seek out the best suppliers, negotiate competitive rates and review contracts so companies and customers get the best deals

Based in hotels or resorts to help customers with queries, book transfers and arrange day trips, on behalf of a tour operator

Take bookings, recommend suitable products and liaise with travel agents, from within tour operators, cruise lines and airlines

Large hotels with an array of facilities that employ housekeepers, restaurant and bar staff, groundkeepers, sports coaches and more

Search engine optimisation ensures online content is primed so the company or brand appears high in the list of results when potential customers search for a holiday

Social media teams promote brands through clever marketing, maintain the company’s tone of voice and connect with customers online to answer queries and resolve complaints

Work with children and teens in a summer camp overseas – the US is a particularly popular destination for this sector

Help to make the travel industry as sustainable as possible by ensuring companies operate responsibly as well as assessing impact on destinations, local people and nature

T - Y

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Tourist attractions and cultural landmarks need people to welcome visitors, plan promotions and manage staff and sites

Encompasses everything from attraction tickets and fast passes to rail or coach tickets, for consumers or companies

On-the-ground experts who lead travellers around a destination and share their knowledge, whether that be on a walking city tour or an adventure in a remote destination

Require teams of people in customer‑facing roles and behind the scenes to arrange different elements of holidays, including flights, transfers, hotels and activities

Promoting a city, region or country and its assets to consumers and companies, based in the UK or overseas

Working within travel firms or specialist training companies to help people achieve professional qualifications and ensure they comply with changing regulations

Specialist companies transfer guests to and from airports, cruise ports, rail stations, hotels and attractions

Knowledgeable and experienced travel advisors can recommend the best flights, hotels and tours to suit customers’ needs, as well as manage a booking from start to finish

Essential in ensuring travel companies offer their customers an easy and seamless online service, from initial interaction to the point of sale

Keep track of costs and adjust prices accordingly to make sure holiday companies remain profitable, while ensuring workers in tourism‑dependent economies get a fair deal

Kerry Johnson
  • The Myth: Travel isn’t suited to those who want to work in data
  • Kerry Johnson
    The Facts: Kerry Johnson-Sadler, data manager, Agiito

The travel industry is such a vibrant mix of products, systems, and tools, so the data that comes with it is extremely complex. Typical analytics work can vary from supporting sustainability goals and enhancing the booking experience to predicting future travel patterns. I provide our customers with timely and accurate data, as well as improve and simplify our data landscape to enable accurate decision making. It’s an exciting field to work in as there’s always external contributing factors to consider – we’ve dealt with the impact of ash clouds, strikes and sudden airline closures. We’re on a journey of continual evolution and innovation, meaning no two days are the same!

Ami Naru
  • The Myth: Travel isn’t for those looking for a career in an industry like law
  • Ami Naru
    The Facts: Ami Naru, partner, Travlaw

Many of the team at Travlaw have a passion for travel or have previously worked in the travel industry. Combining an interest in travel and using legal skills means Travlaw is a great fit for me, and it’s a unique place as it enables lawyers to be part of the travel industry. We work closely with many industry bodies and regularly attend all industry events, including overseas conferences. Many of my clients have become friends and familiar faces, through meeting at industry events and working closely with them. Above all else, the travel industry is a fun and friendly place to showcase legal skills. A win-win in my view!

José María Pestaña Sartorius
  • The Myth: Travel isn’t a very innovative industry
  • José María Pestaña Sartorius
    The Facts: José María Pestaña Sartorius, chief innovation officer, Hotelbeds

Innovation has always been in Hotelbeds’ DNA. There’s so much buzz right now in the travel industry around artificial intelligence and machine learning. We have only just scratched the surface, so start-ups can have a lot to offer. One reason we’re continuing to partner with like-minded institutions is to not only further our ambitions and bring our vision to life by tapping into the start-up community but also support them to turn their ideas into reality. Of the technologies that are trending in travel, AI represents 26%, immersive tourism 20%, Internet of Things 16% and contactless travel 15%. With all of these yet to reach maturity, it’s a chance for new ideas to flourish. There are roughly 3.5 million entrepreneurs in the world and 130,000 more start their journey every year – that puts the scale of this opportunity into perspective.

Carly Mcnaught
  • The Myth: Jobs in travel don’t have a great career trajectory
  • Carly Mcnaught
    The Facts: Carly McNaught, marketing manager, If Only

I left school at 16 after struggling with the coursework and routine and wanted to get into travel and tourism. I started as a marketing apprentice and worked at Barrhead Travel for eight years, progressing through the ranks until ultimately overseeing the marketing team as the assistant marketing manager. At If Only, I started as a senior marketing executive before quickly being promoted to marketing manager. I have been able to visit some fantastic places with my role, like Dubai, the Bahamas, Orlando and New York. We deliver joint multi-channel marketing activity for the world’s biggest and best tour operators, tourist boards, and hoteliers across the world, and that always really excites me. No day is ever the same, and travel is a fantastic product to be working with.

Claire Ross
  • The Myth: The travel industry doesn’t care about sustainability
  • Claire Ross
    The Facts: Claire Ross, director of sustainability, Der Touristik

For me, sustainability is intrinsically linked to great travel experiences. Travel at its best offers the opportunity to enrich all our lives. To ensure we continue to offer truly great travel experiences, now and in the future, it’s crucial that we support the health of local communities, environments and cultures. I truly believe the travel industry is in a great position to drive a sustainable future. Our industry can and does support job creation, promote inclusivity, protect natural and cultural heritage and conserve biodiversity across the world. While it can be hard to move beyond the challenges that we don’t have answers for yet, such as sustainable aviation, I really see the value in remembering small actions do add up to decisive change, whether that’s steadily working towards our carbon reduction targets, reducing waste or supporting our destination partners with training to ensure people living in holiday destinations benefit from tourism.