How often have you heard the phrase “It’s not about what you know but who you know”? In a niche industry like the Travel Industry, you will definitely be presented with more career opportunities the better connected you are.
Whilst skills and experience still play an important part in career progression, your reputation is paramount and it is essential that you build meaningful professional relationships within your industry.
1. Where to start
Widening your network to increase your contacts and your presence in the industry is a great place to start. The Travel & Tourism Industry is highly social with multiple functions to attend from; golf days & trade shows to industry award nights, conferences and many different types of events, so finding networking opportunities shouldn’t be too difficult.
There are a number of groups you can join to build connections within the industry and form relationships with your peers, industry leaders and even mentors who will show you the ropes. Some of the more popular include;
AFTA – Australia Federation of Travel Agents,
TIME – Travel Industry Mentor Experience,
CATO – Council of Australia Tour Operators,
MEA – Meetings & Events Association
LinkedIn is also a great place to join online travel industry related groups to keep abreast of industry news and form new connections in the process.
2. How to Network
Networking is about being genuine and developing professional relationships and most importantly, seeing how you can help others in your network. Networking is about showing a sincere interest in others and not constantly flipping the conversation back to yourself.
Keep it simple – be friendly and positive in your conversations. It’s not a contest, don’t try to outshine your colleagues. Acknowledge their achievements.
Introduce yourself to the organiser – a great ice breaker, they can point you in the right direction and a personal introduction can work to your advantage.
Join in the conversation – people welcome the chance to meet new comers at events, so don’t be afraid to introduce yourself when there is a break in conversation. People generally like to talk about themselves, so ask about their roles and how they go into their line of work.
Add value without expecting anything in return – this could be anything from an introduction to someone else in their line of work or sharing a great book that may interest them.
Follow-up – is the key to cementing a relationship that lasts and that you can draw on to further develop your travel career in the future. You want to remain top of mind for when a potential opportunity arises. Make sure you asked for their contact deatils and touch base within the next day or 2. Try to add value to your previous interaction; send a relevant article or notify them of an upcoming events or podcast that may interest them. Share an industry statistic or some trivia about a hobby they expressed interest in. Do your research.
In any niche industry like the travel industry, your reputation is paramount. The better connected you are the more opportunities you will find yourself presented with.
Need some travel careers advice? Contact our team for a confidential chat about travel recruitment.