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Do you prepare for team victory and what lessons can you learn from the Rugby World Cup 2015 and UEFA 2016?

written by Fiona

As we approach these two mammoth dates in the sporting calendar, I am becoming more aware of the performance, injuries and selections of sports idols that are being made and published and of course the impact that this will have on the outcome of the tournaments. The team's that win either of these events won't win by luck, but by careful strategic recruitment, selection and performance management.  This got me thinking…..

Do you prepare for team victory and what lessons can you learn from the Rugby World Cup 2015 and UEFA 2016?

Rugby World Cup

No doubt you have a strategic plan for the future and I am sure that you will be setting objectives for business success. However do you have a comprehensive people plan that is prepared for?


  • Business growth
  • Events that could impact performance positively and negatively
  • Sickness
  • Promotions
  • Resignations
  • Etc.


Or do you fly by the seat of your pants and re-act to the above as and when it happens?

The problem with being re-active is the impact on the 'success' objective. If you lose your star player(s) your chances of success are greatly impacted. So what is the answer? Looking at the world of sport we can mirror so many of their excellent practices.

  • What does talent look like? - Create role profiles (criteria) for every role including KPI's .
  • Scouting - Always be on the lookout for talent.
  • Talent pipeline - Talk to the talent, engage them, have them lined up, ready to sign up when the right time arises.
  • Sign them up - Contracts / Offers of employment should be ready to go almost immediately. People can get cold feet, fear of change, counter offers. A signed contract will seal the deal mentally.
  • On-boarding - Once they sign up, keep them interested in your opportunity until they transfer or you may lose them to somebody else.
  • Induction - Hook them into the business from day one with an exciting induction and ensure they have a copy of their role profile and KPI's and that they understand it
  • Ongoing performance management - Identify any gaps in performance and provide the correct remedial training
  • Reward - A rewards scheme that adds value to the individual will drive performance. Targets, targets, targets without this will leave the employee feeling undervalued and demotivated
  • Recognition - Be alert and actively aware of achievements and commend them as they happen not once a year during appraisals
  • Opportunities - Let your team know about them first, talk about what they want to achieve with their career and help them with their development and goals
  • Welfare - Look after your most important resource, provide access to healthy alternatives to junk food dispensers, organise discounted flu vaccinations as winter approaches, talk about health and welfare don't avoid it.

How does your people plan compare?

What do you think is missing from the above?

Don’t lose your new starter before they have even started!

written by Fiona

We currently operate in a 'candidates market' where the eager candidate that you offered a position to suddenly gives back word or worse doesn't turn up on day 1 for their new role.

Good talent is hard to find and with travel recruitment agencies honing in on candidates who are both active and passively looking for new jobs, you can be sure that if you don't 'completely engage' the new starter during the interview process and during their resignation period that you may very well lose them, either to a competitor or to their existing employer.

I believe 'on-boarding' is the answer but that it should start well before the induction. In fact it should start straight after the offer letter or contract is signed ensuring that the candidate remains 'hooked' and 'engaged'.  This doesn't mean more work for HR or Training, it can be a programme of events that is built into the Induction program.

Here are some ideas for you to keep that new starter hooked during the 'danger zone'.

  • Who is who - organisation chart or team profile with pictures and include them straight away on the chart to help them feel part of the organisation with a 'we can't wait for you to join us' message attached
  • Meet and greet - drinks, snacks, informal event to introduce the new starter to the team
  • Buddy - assign a buddy (somebody engaging) and ask them to contact the new starter and to introduce themselves as their 'go to' person offering immediate help, assistance and advice prior to their first day.
  • FAQ Handbook - capture all of the questions that are received usually during induction or prior to the start date and put them in a useful new starter document. Everybody feels like a fish out of water on their first day and before and they have questions that can easily be pre-empted;
  • Parking
  • Lunch times - where to buy lunch
  • Breaks
  • Benefits
  • Applying for leave
  • Dress code
  • Where to smoke
  • Toilets
  • etc.
  • Week 1 - tell them what to expect during their first week or month - why wait until the first day of their employment to surprise them with this
  • Invitations - if you have annual company events and the dates have been scheduled already send them the invite for their calendar i.e. Christmas Party - Day at the Races etc.

There are many activities that you can build into your strategy that will better engage your new starter, enabling them to feel excited and prepared for day 1 and of course to ensure you don't lose them before they have even started

By Fiona Morrison-Liebenberg

The Pull of Dubai

written by James

We love analytics at Progressive; identifying what works best to attract travel candidates.  Before finishing for the weekend, as normal, we reposted the majority of our vacancies to the Progressive website.  Sitting with a coffee on Saturday (and watching the build up to the World's richest horse race, The Dubai World Cup), I noticed a huge spike in interest/applications for 1 particular position which happened to be based in Dubai.  In the space of 24 hours, the interest was phenomenal - unbelievably higher than similar roles we promoted with travel companies in New York and London.  So unbelievable that for every 100 applications for the Dubai vacancy we only received 1 for those in London and New York.

 Dubai skyline

Having lived there as an expat and now a regular visitor on business and pleasure, I began to question why such a difference.  In each location there are similarities in terms of the travel business, salary and how we wrote the advert.  So, why Dubai??

Personally, I continue to do business there as I enjoy the climate, the challenges of recruiting for the travel industry in Arabia and the relative ease of doing business there.  I also enjoy the melting pot of cultures/nationalities, but I can also relate to that in  New York and London.

Is it the relative ease of obtaining a visa regardless of your nationality, the tax-free salary, the culture, climate or the buzz of living/working in an ever changing destination?  So I am putting it out there and ask those of you already there or those looking to make the move to Dubai; what is the main attraction for you and if applicable, your family?

James Corden - How did he get the Late Show job?

written by Fiona

Having lived in Cape Town for the last ten years the steady but meteoric rise of the British home grown actor James Corden had passed me by, until one day at my friend's house I came across his biography on her shelf and asked who he was. Having literally just finished reading his bio, I see that he has landed a job that many American actors and comedians would give their 'eye' teeth for and are no doubt asking 'what the ...... how did he get the late show job'?

James didn't do well at school, but he knew that he enjoyed being the centre of attention and that he could act, sing and had comedic talent. He had to start at the bottom acting in theatre productions that were not that great and perform in the back rows of the chorus twice a day for long periods of time singing the same songs day in day out #monotonous.  He was overlooked for the main leading roles due to his size and looks.  So he took his fate into his own hands and he made his success happen.

He wrote roles for himself. He continuously put himself forward for roles he didn't think he would get. He was persistent and tenacious and believed in himself. He said and did some stupid things and there is media evidence of the slatings he got whenever he failed. But......he believed in himself. He knows that he is good at entertaining, he knows that performing is what he wants to do. He knows that the big jobs won't be just handed to him and he recognises  that he has to put himself out there and work hard and despite every producer that says no if he reflects on the feedback and learns from his mistakes and fine tunes his skills he will achieve his objective.

There is a saying 'you don't get something for nothing'.

James Corden didn't get this amazing opportunity in a foreign country for nothing. And win or lose you can't knock him for putting himself forwards where others would fear to and for being tenacious and over the next few weeks and months resilient enough to take all the critical reviews as learnings and the acclaim as development.

Good luck James, I applaud you for having those great intrinsic behaviours that create success

  • Resilience
  • Tenacity
  • Persistence 
  • Focus 
  • Drive
  • Determination

How do you present your personal brand when job seeking?

written by Fiona

Personal Brand Image

How do you present your personal brand when job seeking? Are you aware that every interaction online and offline, creates a brand message about you? Employers will judge you on your photos (easily found on Google), your recommendations on LinkedIn and your written and spoken communication. Your early arrival at interviews, your preparation, your interest, excitement and enthusiasm, are all measured and in a market that is saturated with candidates you can't afford to stand out for all of the wrong reasons.

I have worked in the travel industry both in the UK and overseas for 25 years and in that time it has never failed to surprise me how interconnected my acquaintances' are. This has allowed me to network and achieve a great many things and it can do the same for you if, you are aware of and nurture your personal brand.

Here are my top ten tips to nurture your brand.

  1. Lock down your Facebook- your personal photos are exactly that 'personal' and can be kept from Google by changing your Facebook privacy settings
  2. Professional pictures on LinkedIn- are very important, they present your 'work brand', a picture of you at your wedding or with your children won't impress a future employer.
  3. LinkedIn Recommendations are like gold -word of mouth has always been and will always be the most powerful form of advertisement - ask your customers, colleagues, ex Managers to refer you by providing a recommendation that supports the work that you have completed
  4. A 3 or 4 page CV is sufficient- recruiters and employers have a vast amount of candidates to choose from and those that waffle will be over looked both verbally and in writing. Any positions non relevant to the role / over a number of years prior, should be listed as employer, role and dates only.
  5. Only apply for positions that you want- there is no point applying for a job and then changing your mind about it and not responding to the recruiter/employer. They will remember.
  6. Be honest about what you can and cannotdo - if a position requires a skill, don't pretend that you have that skill. During the interview you will be competency tested and it's embarrassing for all if you can't back up what you have stated on your CV.
  7. Communicate, communicate, and communicate- if you are going to be late, if you change your mind, if you are no longer looking for work. Have the common courtesy to advise the recruiter/employer. Once again remember you want people to talk about you for all the right reasons/ People will always talk about bad behaviour online and offline.
  8. Prepare to fail and fail to prepare- there is a reason for this saying. Employers want people who want to work for them, who show interest, excitement and enthusiasm for the job. If you have done your homework it ticks a big box.
  9. Arrive early- Plan your journey to the interview so that the chances of you being late are highly unlikely and can only occur due to reasons out of your control i.e. delayed train/bus. If this happens communicate with the recruiter. Don't leave people wondering where you are.
  10. Look good and smell good- clean, smart, tramlines on shirts and trousers, you can only be over dressed for an interview in a dinner suit or a ball gown and a tiara. Dress to impress.

Ultimately, when you leave the room, ensure that your personal brand is one that people remember for all of the right reasons.

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