Young travel agents eager to learn how to develop their career filled the room at a Millennial-focused seminar Friday at the New York Times Travel Trade show.
The session was led by Michael Nobiletti, Rollinglobe CEO and director of education for Millennials in Travel, who has spent a portion of his career bridging the gap between young talent and the travel industry. With online travel agency Rollinglobe, founded in 2013, Nobiletti helps entrepreneurs build their own travel businesses. Through his work as the director of education for Millennials in Travel, he creates career development programming for other Millennials in the industry.
Nobiletti recommended young travel professionals build their client base close to home, networking in their own community. By partnering with local businesses that have a similar clientele to your target audience, newcomers can get the word out about the services they offer—preferably with a focus on either a location or a niche market. Nobiletti said young agents can use sites like MeetUp or Linkedin to connect them with people who share interests similar to their specialization.
To secure a job interview, Nobiletti said employers look for prior sales experience, ideally in travel but also general sales or entrepreneurial experience; extensive travel abroad; knowledge of a GDS; and industry certifications.
Nobiletti suggested boosting the chances of getting a job offer by going in with a list of prospective clients. To start, email friends and family telling them about what services you offer. Give them a call to action, like a survey using Google Forms, to learn more about what they’re looking for and if they’d be interested in using your services. Offer excellent customer service, Nobiletti said, and get in the habit of asking for referrals.
Hiring young talent
For agencies looking to attract and hire Milllennials, Nobiletti suggested focusing on three things: the opportunity to make a positive impact, continuous learning, and teamwork. Millennials, more so than older generations, want to make a contribution to society, whether that’s partnering with a non-profit or helping in their local community. Offer to pay for training programs or certifications, allowing young talent to hone their skills. Give young employees the opportunity to work together; most employees do their best work in teams or groups.
In addition, 45% of Millennials prefer work flexibility over pay, Nobiletti said, which is beneficial to smaller agencies that might not have the means to afford a high salary. Instead, offer other tangibles like free lunch, extra vacation time, fam trips or the ability to work from home.