Becoming a holiday rep is a fantastic way of working your way around the world and getting paid (ahem) for it. With sites all over the world and loads of different companies all crying out for staff, it’s extremely easy to get into repping.
The only problem really is once you become a holiday rep, you’ll find yourself wanting to do it again and again…
What is a holiday rep?
A holiday rep is a person who is responsible for ensuring the customer’s holiday is the best ever. They are the face of the company and it is up to them to ensure excellent customer service at all times. There are many different types of reps: customer service representatives, children’s club representatives, entertainers, lifeguards, nursery nurses and many others.
What does it take to become a rep?
The qualifications you’ll need depend on what kind of position you are seeking. Most reps need to be at least 18 and some positions require you to be 21. Formal qualifications aren’t generally required though good GCSE grades and a qualification in Travel and Tourism will always be an asset. Also, you aren’t required to speak a different language though obviously it’s good if you can. Basically, all you need is to be fun, outgoing and available to work abroad. Children’s reps require a police check, which is obtained by the company on your behalf.
How do I become a rep?
The best time to apply to become a rep is November/December for the following year. However, there are always people who drop out so applying later can’t hurt. There are several ways to seek employment as a holiday rep. National newspapers, magazines and travel agencies often have positions advertised. One of the most amazing sources of information we have is the Internet. Just don’t do what I did: I looked up the Haven Holidays web page and got the address of every single site they have. Then I sent a letter to every one! Stupid me didn’t realise that the recruitment was all handled at the Head Office so the parks all forwarded their letters to there. Head Office ended up receiving 39 letters, all from me!
Once you’ve sent a few letters, you’re likely to receive an application form. Make sure you read through it before writing anything. The amount of times people send back application forms written in red ink and normal handwriting when the form states to use black ink and block capitals is amazing. Just reading the form will put you above the people who don’t bother. Sending in your CV with your form will make it stand out as different (especially if you’ve travelled before). Send a covering letter that explains who you are and why you think this job would suit you.
After sending back your application form, you are likely to be asked to an interview. The key here is to have prepared yourself. Work out what kind of questions you may be asked so at least you’ll be ready for them. Try to think of how you would answer to questions such as ‘why do you want to work abroad?’ For goodness sake, please don’t say because you want a free holiday!!! You’d be surprised how many do! Also, do a bit of research into the company. Ten minutes on the Internet researching the brand can make the world of difference. They are bound to ask ‘why do you want to work for this company?’ and it’s great if you can hit them with ‘well, your company began in 1987 and has won this award and that award and I wish to continue to provide that level of customer service!’
A lot of companies ask you to prepare a short presentation. This is not as scary as it sounds. If you’re going for a position as a kid’s rep, bring plenty of props such as balloons or puppets. I made a large balloon penguin for my interview and let my interviewer keep it. It made sure I’d left an impression. If you’re going for a job in the customer service department, think of a time you’ve provided excellent customer service and use that.
Right, with a bit of luck, at this point, you’ll have passed the interview and been offered a job. This is when you receive your contract and details such as where your placement is and what your pay is like. I’m afraid you can’t really choose where you are placed. It’s a matter of where you are needed. Also, your pay isn’t the best in the world, anything from £90 -£110 a week. However there are many benefits…
- Free accommodation – can be anything from a caravan to a tent! A lot of the time you will be asked to share but you’ll generally have your own room.
- Free insurance – taken out by the company on your behalf.
- Free travel to and from your park or resort – the company will generally pay for any ferries or flights you need to take.
- Half board – some companies provide breakfast and dinner while others expect you to buy all your own food.
- Free training – you will normally be asked to go on a training session to learn everything you’ll need to know about being a rep. You can also ask questions.
- Free uniform – in most cases, a free uniform is provided.
- Free facilities – most of the sites have facilities such as a swimming pool, tennis courts, a bar and nightlife which you can take advantage off. Remember you’re a rep when partying and don’t let the customers see you swearing your head off as you wander around drunk. There is also a possibility that you will be the nightlife and have to provide the entertainment. If you’re a kid’s rep, the kids will play with you whether you are on duty or not!
- A chance to explore a new country and culture and improve your language skills.
- The best summer of your life!
The more involved you are on the site, the more fun you have! Don’t be shy, talk to people. Get involved.
Sometimes the evening shows require volunteers so volunteer yourself. Sometimes, doing the evening entertainment is part of your contract, but don’t panic if you’re not that kind of person. There’s always scenery that needs painting or someone to help with lighting.
So, that’s my guide to holiday repping abroad. I hope I’ve given you a good all-round view of the application process. Repping is one of the greatest jobs in the world and I’m looking forward to next summer when I’ll be a Children’s Rep once again!