Chez tells us about his background in the Adventure Travel business his new role with Tracks and Trails and offers some great tips for getting into the travel business.
First Exposure to the Outdoors
It started with the outdoor industry actually. I found out that you could work for places like the American hiking Society or the American Alpine Club and got into working with those organizations allowed me to fall in love with the Outdoor Industry. From there a friend of mine had taken over an Adventure Travel Association and I worked for him to get that spun up over nine years and then from there the Family Travel Association and now Tracks and Trails.
Things we talked about
You know the secret of the travel industry, but it isn’t gonna be secret anymore is that with the internet a lot of people thought all sorts of travel jobs were gonna go away. An example is travel agents , but the opposite has happened. We can each book all the trips now which is great. But now we’re also overwhelmed with information. So now a lot of them are getting away from the name travel agent because they really feel more like a travel advisor. They get to know your family or your friends or whatever, they get to know what you’re looking for in travel and they can plan it for you. Generally it’s either entirely or almost entirely free, some of them have a planning fee just in case. They don’t want you poaching their itineraries, if they work with you and give you a whole itinerary then you go book it yourself that’s bad for everybody. The reason why I bring all this up is because these guys, with Millennials starting to travel more have millennial travel agents. Travel agencies are psyched about that, they love young travel agents and you know travel agents they get a bad rap because there are a lot of bad ones out there but that just means that the industry embraces the good ones that much more if you can separate yourself. So a fantastic way to get into the travel industry and in particular if someone thinks that they’re a blogger or they want to be a blogger or they want to be a travel writer they can do both. They can set up a blog and say hey look I’m blogging I just went to this great place, Salta Argentina it’s amazing. They’re also becoming more like concierges and one of the perks is that you can take these trips to go experience and see what it’s like and that way you can speak from expertise because you have you’ve been there. I’ve done that trips and this is why it’s cool, you got photos, you know the product and can sell it a lot better. The equivalent of swag and pro deals for the travel industry is a fam tour or a familiarization tour. That’s where an agent or a writer is taken to a destination shown around you have a great time yeah they over feed and over drink you and honestly they can be kind of intense because they pack so much in just such a short trip right. It’s just like alright let’s go see this, let’s go check that out, let’s go experience it, let’s go do zip lines. Okay you’ve done that let’s go stand-up paddleboard so there’s a lot of travel agents out there that do nothing but sell Disney and cruises and good for them doing that, but more and more you’re also starting to see these specialist travel agents arising and so adventure travel is certainly one that an agent could specialize in. Or you know a certain region, if you’re passionate about Latin America you can specialize in Latin America. So there’s all sorts of different opportunities out there. Then there are in terms of pursuing a travel agent job I there’s a full-time job or an add-on to what you’re currently doing then there are consortium like Travel Leaders is one where somebody can become a travel agent through them or just basically have a national network that will help you do things like setting up your website. It immediately gives you a much more professional presence rather than just saying hi I’m Chaz I’m your travel agent. You’ve got a whole network of information that you can tap into. There is the also opportunity to become trip leaders. I think a lot of people in a climbing community know how to become a guide. They’re probably all guides themselves at some point, that’s how you break into it. You become a guide like a river guide and then you you decide that you’re wanting to take the next step so you can become a seasonal guide. Find a company that specializes and what your passion is and what you know well, what you can do well. The key there is that if you’re an introverted person or you don’t have great people skills don’t go that route, but if you’re that person, you got that personality and you’re passionate about a certain sport there’s probably a tour operator out there running trips focused on that sport. Find them, become a seasonal guide and then start to work your way up coming back year after year, you know showing good progress, showing interest in the backside of the business and start to get into the tour operator business. By the way if you’re out there and you’re passionate about your sport and you don’t find a tour operator that’s running that sport, BINGO start doing it.
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Ulysses by James Joyce
Apps, Tools, Podcasts
Connect with Chez
Chez Chesak on Facebook
@chrischesak on Twitter
chrischesak on Instagram