Travel companies are much more than just the consultants on the front line. There is a whole team behind the scenes making the wheels turn. One of the most important departments in any company is the Finance team. Starting out in a completely different career - Modj Javanmard, one of our commercial analyst tells us how she went from Engineering to travel consultancy and finally landed in Finance! You really never do know where you can end up in the Travel Industry!
Have you always worked in travel?
No, originally I working as an Electrical Engineer straight out of University but I really couldn't see myself pursuing it as a career long term. After great deliberation I decided to try something that I would be passionate about and that's when I applied for Flight Centre in June 2006 and landed a job as a novice at Escape Travel!
What is your current role and what led you to this point?My career as a Travel Agent began with Escape Travel as a Novice and from their I moved onto Assistant Team Leader, Team Leader and then Home User whilst I went back to University to fulfill my next career path as an accountant and onto where I am today as a Commercial Analyst for Flight Centre Marketing Group. This is what I love most about Flight Centre, it is an amazing company that allows you to develop and branch out into so many different areas of the one business. I'm grateful that I have been able to experience everything from sales, leadership to my new calling - finance!
Were you able to take any experience from previous roles into your travel roles?
I was definitely able to take my experiences with me throughout my roles. The biggest skill set that has helped me throughout my roles was my Consulting Experience. It has given me fundamental knowledge about the industry, systems, customer service, problem solving, leadership and people management - the list goes on! Without my consulting experience I 100% believe that understanding the logistics behind the Flight Centre financial systems would have been more difficult. The support staff and other accountant's use my knowledge on an everyday basis to assist with their reporting and reconciliations.
What do you love about working in travel?My customer's were always my first love and I loved their passion for travel. I'm a stories person and I love to embed myself into people's lives and experiences. I have always thought of myself as someone that can help others, my dreams of being a doctor were killed when the sight of blood made me faint, so the next best way to help people was to create lifelong memories. Experiencing the world and it's wonders has always been an exciting topic of conversation for me. As the saying goes the world is your oyster and I want to be the one to open that oyster for you.
In your opinion, what are the top qualities, skills or attributes someone needs to kill it in the travel industry?
Positive and can-do attitude. Nothing should ever come across too hard to your customer.
Never say no. Push yourself to your limits, don't take the easy road because you have a line outside the door.
Travel experience and a good understanding of the industry. I didn't start out with a great deal of travel experience, but I gained it throughout the years and used my clients stories as examples to make more informed suggestions and alternatives. Clients want to feel safe in your hands and put their trust into you so try not to let them down.
Persistence. Never give up on a sale and follow through with every enquiry. I was told once by another Team Leader you need to make 3 forms of contact with the customer after their initial inquiry to keep you in the forefront of their mind. You don't need to be pushy just thoughtful and show you care about their needs. Do not focus on the commission because the more empathy and passion you show the more commission will come.
Did you know that your current job existed when you started out in the industry?I knew about the finance division and we regularly had contact with our Area Accountants, but I never imagined I would one day become an accountant myself. I had never heard of this current team when I was in retail, which just shows how large Flight Centre Travel Group is and that they cover off so many different fields of expertise within the one big organisation. What I do know is that their will always be a new and exciting opportunity within the Flight Centre Group to move too if you ever need a new challenge.