Holiday Representative Job Description - Duties, Skills and Responsibilities
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Holiday Representative Job Description
A holiday representative (frequently abbreviated to “holiday rep”) is a person responsible for organizing activities and entertainment for guests at holiday destinations and tourist resorts.
Holiday representatives work in a variety of locations, including holiday resorts and villages, hotels, beach resorts and even on board cruise ships. Their tasks vary depending on a number of factors, including the needs of holidaymakers, the type of facility they work at and the holiday season, but generally include organizing sports activities and tournaments, running games and other activities for children, putting on parties and musical shows, and generally entertaining guests and ensuring they have a good time. Holiday representatives finalize activities and entertainment programmes with the entertainment manager, who is responsible for deciding the times (e.g. all day, morning or evening only) and locations of activities (e.g. beach, swimming pool, children’s club, entertainment hall etc).
Holiday representatives usually work in teams, with each member responsible for a specific area, (e.g. children’s entertainment, sports, music, dancing etc.). The most common roles include:
- Resort representative (also known as an overseas or customer service representative): responsible for interacting with and getting to know holidaymakers, informing them about the activities and entertainments scheduled for each day and taking down names of potential participants. Resort reps also work with the rest of the resort team in planning and organizing daytime and evening/nighttime activities and entertainments
- Sports representatives: responsible for organizing sports activities and tournaments, including five-a-side football, beach volleyball, aerobics, swimming, cards and board games
- Children’s holiday representative: responsible for organizing the activities offered by the resort’s children’s and teen clubs
Other members of a typical team of resort reps and entertainment staff include performers, singers, dancers, hostesses, comedians, DJs and photographers, as well as, of course, sound and video technicians,. who play a key role in putting on the evening shows.
One of the main aims of the activities and entertainments organized at a holiday resort is obviously to make sure that guests have a good time and enjoy themselves. Just as importantly, though, they are designed to encourage interaction between holidaymakers, with one of the key jobs of an entertainment representative being to help guests mix with each other and make new friends. A good holiday rep also needs to be able to resolve, head off or defuse the misunderstandings and situations of conflict that can sometimes arise between guests. To do this, they need to have excellent communication skills, enthusiasm for the job and the ability to involve and engage guests. On top of all this, reps need to be skilled in the areas that their specific role relates to, e.g. sports, children’s entertainment and activities, shows and music etc.
Demand for holiday representatives is highly seasonal. In the run-up to the traditional holiday periods (e.g. summer and winter holidays), the numbers of vacancies experience an increase, with opportunities available even for candidates with no prior experience. The pay and contractual conditions offered generally vary according to experience. Usually employers offer free board and lodgings and will also cover the cost of a return trip to and from the holiday destination.
Holiday Representative Responsibilities and Tasks
The main day-to-day responsibilities of a holiday representative include:
- Planning and organizing activities for guests (e.g. games, sports tournaments, shows, parties)
- Informing guests about the daily activity schedules
- Running activities and making sure guests have a good time
- Encouraging guests to socialize with each other
- Involving new arrivals in activities
- Heading off and defusing misunderstandings and situations of conflict
How to Become a Holiday Representative - Training and Requirements
Typically, there are no specific educational requirements for a job as a holiday rep. However, a knowledge of foreign languages is likely to be welcomed and in some cases may even be a prerequisite for the job. Sporting prowess and musical talents are also likely to be valued by potential employers, especially if they are backed up by certificates, while previous experience in the tourism sector will also be seen as a plus.
In some cases, the holiday companies themselves provide training for newly recruited reps at the beginning of the season in order to make sure new recruits are able to work to the required standards. Training courses typically cover topics such as the required standards of hospitality, regulations on staff dress and uniform and the rules to be followed when organizing sports and entertainment activities for holidaymakers.
Companies look for a range of key personal attributes in holiday reps, including a confident, outgoing, energetic demeanour, strong communication and interpersonal skills, the ability to cope well under pressure and deal with potential situations of conflict and good organizational abilities. Also important are patience, open-mindedness, a reliable, professional approach to one’s work and, finally, a willingness to work away from home for long periods at a time.
Holiday Representative Skills and Qualifications
The main skills required by a holiday representative include:
- Communication skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Specific abilities and talents, e.g. sports, arts, theatre, music
- Good level of fitness
- Energetic and proactive
- Enthusiastic, passionate and engaging
Holiday Representative Career Path
For holiday representatives, career progression goes hand in hand with growing levels of responsibility.
Experienced reps will often be promoted into positions such as senior resort representative or team leader, where the responsibilities include coordinating the work of other reps and providing guidance to new recruits. The next logical step on from here is to become a resort entertainment or customer service manager, supervising the work of the staff at a holiday resort, village or cruise ship.
There are, however, alternatives to this typical career path.
One is to specialize in a particular sport or activity and work as a sports rep, organizing recreational activities and games for children, teenagers and adults, while another alternative career development option is to become part of the permanent staff of one of the many agencies that specialize in supplying staff to holiday resorts.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that the abilities that reps acquire during the course of their work in the tourism sector in terms of building relationships and interacting with people are all valuable soft skills that can be transferred to practically any other profession.
Top Reasons to Work as a Holiday Representative
Very often people choose to become a holiday rep because the job offers the chance to travel and have fun while working. And it’s certainly the case that, although holiday representatives are contractually required to organize activities for their guests, they do also get to have fun with them too, e.g. spending time on the beach with their charges or perhaps enjoying the pleasures that an ocean-going cruise ship has to offer.
No less concrete is the potential for foreign travel that the profession offers, with jobs available in a variety of far-flung, exotic holiday destinations, from seaside resorts to alpine locations.
Additional attractions of the role include the youthful, dynamic environment and the ease of access, with vacancies available even to candidates with no previous experience in the tourist industry.
All of these factors make the job of a holiday rep a fun and rewarding way to spend the holiday season, which offers the chance to earn some money and have a good time with other young people from all over the world.