Dream Travel Jobs: A Flight Centre First & Business Travel Expert
Being a consultant, or as we like to call it, a Travel Expert, isn’t the easiest of jobs. While you have the joy and excitement of tailor making someone’s incredible holiday for them, there's always the downside that you're not the one going! Working for Flight Centre’s First and Business softens the blow a bit though – you not only research luxury hotels, but you get to test out decadent experiences for yourself – not a bad day at the office right? Becky Hales, Assistant Manager at First and Business Bankside, tells us more about her role...
Right Becky, tell us a bit about YOU first: do you prefer Indian Ocean or Caribbean?
It's just too hard to choose! I think they have completely different atmospheres! The Indian Ocean, Maldives and Seychelles are something special and cannot be topped if you are in need of a romantic, peaceful and tranquil holiday, a break away from any hustle and bustle, however the Caribbean is so fun-filled and care-free with a new adventure waiting for you every time you visit: discovering new hidden beaches, swimming with turtles, finding a small rum shack…
Gatwick or Heathrow?
If you can get the luxury chauffeur to your door it doesn't really matter!
What’s your favourite hotel in the First and Business collection?
The Rayavadee in Krabi has to be my favourite; it is by far the most naturally beautiful location. It still has all the comforts of a five-star luxury property but benefits from being located beneath sheer limestone cliffs amid tropical gardens that will make you want to wander alongside the resident monkeys. There is a restaurant in a cave, as well as an excellent spot overlooking the beach and serving the best Thai cuisine I have ever tasted!
How long have you worked for Flight Centre Travel Group?
...And how has your career progressed in that time?
I like to switch things up a bit, I have worked in our retail (customer facing) brand and our Flight Centre Business Travel (corporate) brand, but I think First and Business is definitely the place for me. I am currently an Assistant Manager in one of the most successful teams within the brand.
What do you love most about your role?
“Researching” the hotels! Not only visiting new hotels that we sell but even just researching which hotels would suit my customers, reading reviews, scouring hotel pictures and finding out about the area. I do get very picky though, so it tends to take me a while to find the perfect one – you don't want to know how long it takes to plan my own holidays! I also love putting together unique honeymoon itineraries. My latest honeymoon creation included shopping in Milan, a bit of romance in Lake Como paired with gorilla trekking and a safari, followed by a week in ultimate luxury in Zanzibar.
How many countries have you visited in your lifetime?
At the age of 25, I've been extremely lucky to visit nearly 50 countries! I am also fortunate to have a family who thought that going on holiday was one of the most important and exciting things to spend your hard-earned money on. After all, you will always remember the time your brother convinced you that you were being chased by a shark (in a freshwater river!), but you probably will forget the first family car you had or the clothes you wore.
I don't think you can measure travel experiences by the amount of countries you have visited though; I have been to many places more than once and had a completely new and different experience each time.
What's your favourite place on the planet and why?
Either up a snowy mountain in the Alps or scuba diving in Papua New Guinea. The latter is home to a tiny island called New Britain, where the water is so clear that you can see the reef (and its resident barracuda ‘Barry’) from the boat!
Where haven't you been yet that you really want to go to?
Bora Bora, Whitsundays and the Philippines: I do love a good beach.
Tell us about the most luxurious travel experiences you've had?
My best overall experience has to be the Maldives: the private seaplane, barefoot luxury and an overwater villa surrounded by sharks and stingrays. The Rendezvous Resort, a boutique couples’ hotel in St Lucia, comes close on service though: its spa is outstanding and every night we would return to a candlelit suite as part of their turndown service.
What’s your top travel tip?
Research what trips you are interested in or what activities you want to do before you go because spending your time bargaining with beach vendors over which is the best trip for the best price can waste a lot of valuable holiday time. If you book some of your excursions in advance it also means you don't worry so much about your rapidly disappearing spending money while you are there.
Where are you jetting off to next?
Want a career like Becky’s? Check out our current vacancies here. Or if Becky has inspired you to travel in luxury, speak to one our Flight Centre First and Business Travel Experts about booking your next trip.