Networking is an essential skill for anyone chasing a long and successful career in the travel and tourism industry.
With tourism essentially built on a foundation of experience and referral, it is paramount that you always try to leave the right lasting impression.
Some of the most successful people in the industry will vouch for the importance of networking and many have progressed through the ranks based on their ability to make meaningful professional connections.
That’s why Flight Centre Travel Academy offers students plenty of opportunities to network at a range of industry events with partners as part of your training.
After all, bumping shoulders with the right people and being able to wow them with your training and awesome communication skills might just lead you to your first big break!
As part four of our #JobPrep series for, yep, you guessed it, job preparation, we're going to give you a few tips on how to network in the tourism industry...
Who should I network with?
A good network would include people doing the same or similar jobs to you, people who work within tourism bodies and corporate tourism, operators and those that run large tourism organisations, hotels, airlines and, of course, tourism wholesalers.
It’s a good feeling to know you could pick up the phone and call the right person whenever you need. And conversely, it’s great to know you can help people in your own network if needed.
Where do I start building my network?
Tourism industry bodies often hold events, networking evenings and even tourism training sessions specifically so people within the industry can get to know each other and help each other promote their destinations and products.
A great tip for anyone within the tourism industry is to make sure you have contacts within the major tourism bodies in your state or country. Start by joining mailing lists and keep up to date on latest events.
You should also join any young networking groups online. There are a lot of groups for tourism and marketing professionals that hold events regularly.
How do I network at an event?
Ever walked into an event alone and ended up standing in the corner with a drink in your hand because you had no idea what to do?
Never fear, here are a few key points to get you started:
Flash your cards. Take your business cards and make sure you collect cards from those you meet. Even if you don’t have a job; have your details down and readily accessible.
Safety in numbers. Consider taking a few colleagues or fellow students along with you so you arrive feeling confident. However, don’t use each other as an excuse to not mingle.
Divide and conquer. Make sure each of you have an aim to meet at least one new person and then introduce them to each other.
Seek out the host. Introduce yourself, thank them for holding the event and get to know them. It won’t hurt to ask them to introduce you to someone in the industry. That’s why you’re there after all.
Keep moving. No one wants to feel like you’re looking over their shoulder waiting for someone more important to meet, so be engaged and present when you’re talking to people. However, don’t get stuck with one person all event. Keep mingling and making connections as you go.
Follow up. Email the host to say thank you and email anyone else you met to open the lines of communication and then keep in touch.