Chris – Sales Advisor
After leaving school at 16 with relatively low grades, I landed a job in retail in a local computer repair / IT consultancy company where I stayed for about 5 years. I was made redundant at the age of 21 and I remember my boss said to me “Chris, you’re going to thank me in a few years as this could be the best thing that ever happened to you”! I guess he meant by forcing me out into the world and actually finding something I’d be passionate about.
Within a week of job searching and not finding anything, my dad asked me to come and work for his company selling home improvements like windows, doors and conservatories etc. I started the job knowing very little about sales or working directly with customers and found that I absolutely loved it. Being self-employed and having to go out and find my own business, it really gave me the drive to chase down every sale. In my first few years I was doing about £150k of orders but later on in my career I was doing nearly half a million pound a year.
Making the move to Virgin Holidays
I decided after 9 years that I wanted to do something else and was just looking online at jobs. I made the decision I wanted to leave and within a week I’d had an interview with Virgin Holidays and was offered the job. I’m so glad I took the leap.
Working culture at Virgin Holidays
Working for Virgin Holidays and in travel is completely unlike anything I’ve done before. I’d never used a travel based program or had to sell a holiday to someone but at the end of the day, selling is selling and I knew that! Every morning I wake up, I’m not dreading getting out of bed or driving to the office because it is no ordinary office. It’s more like going to work with your mates, chatting, catching up every day and just taking calls, speaking to people, getting them excited about their holiday and closing the deal. When the customer says “Yeah that sounds amazing, let’s get that booked”, it’s a rush that you’ve got the deal but also knowing that you’re sending them away on this amazing trip. And they really are amazing! I’ve worked for Virgin Holidays for two years and feel so lucky to have been able to travel to some absolutely amazing places. The company ensure that you know the product and hotels that you are selling and so they send you on familiarisation trips (FAM). I’ve been so lucky to have visited Orlando three times, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Yosemite, Jamaica, Mexico.
Opportunities at Virgin Holidays
There are so many branches to work in within Virgin Holidays. Having started with many great colleagues, some have branched from sales to customer service, resource planning, product development, and training. One guy here is also studying to be a pilot. Where better to start? Opportunities are always popping up on the Intranet for a new recruit for service or an additional person needed in the Quality Assurance team. I’ve been here two years and already have the opportunity to step up in my manager’s absence to cover the team leader position if they are out of the office or offsite.
What is the best piece of advice you would give somebody applying to work in our Customer Centre?
As cliché as it sounds, the best advice I can give is just ‘Go for it’. If an opportunity arises or someone asks you if you want to be a part of anything, be it a new advertising campaign, helping new recruits on the phone, coming up with a new incentive in the office to motivate people or in this case, give advice for new starters, just do it! Virgin Holidays loves to see people getting involved and it shows you’re not just here for the pay check. You spend 8 hours of your day working so just make the most of it!
You should also make as many friends and contacts as you can within the business. Even after two years of doing the job I still need help and am not embarrassed to ask anyone. There are lots of aspects to booking someone’s perfect holiday and they spread across lots of different departments from Aviation, Ground Operations, Quality Assurance or Service. Knowing the right person to get in contact with definitely speeds things up and makes everyone’s job that little bit easier and more pleasant for the customer.
There’s also not many offices that you would walk in to in the morning and get offered a chance to hold the ‘Premiership Rugby World Cup Final’ trophy! Virgin Holidays is always running competitions and incentives, I was so lucky to win a holiday to Jamaica shortly after joining and there’s always something going on that yoy can join in on so you never get a chance to get bored!
Career Opportunities at Virgin Holidays
People are central to Virgin Holiday’s success and if you’re interested in joining us we have a wide range of roles available from Apprenticeships to Leadership Roles as well as amazing learning and development opportunities.
Click here to find out more about opportunities at Virgin Holidays
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