THE WORLD AT HER FINGERTIPS
MILES OF SMILES FOR TRAVEL AGENT
THE sky’s the limit when it comes to the places Marcella Abou-Raad has helped people see the world.
After many years working in sales for the phone and stationery industries she decided to become a travel consultant seven years ago and has not looked back.
“I wanted to make people smile and be happy when they walk out,” she said.
“I’ve been in other jobs before where it was just about selling whatever they can.
“In this role, we’ve always been trying to give the customers that experience.”
As the store manager of Helloworld Parramatta, Ms Abou-Raad spends hours finding the best deals and answering requests, no matter how unusual.
“There was a lady who wanted to see Santa in the North Pole,” she said.
Ms Abou-Raad said time management, organisation and an up-to-date knowledge of travel industry news are essential.
“People think you just put in a destination and everything comes up,” she said.
“If I’m doing it right it can take me a few hours to get the right flights for them. Most importantly, you have to make sure that any payments are paid.
“If you forget to issue a ticket or pay accommodation that could be a disaster because the price might go up.”
And when world events and natural disasters such as the 2010 Iceland volcanic eruptions cause chaos, it is all hands on deck.
“We just stop everything we are doing and make sure that our clients are OK,” Ms Abou-Raad said.
Although the digital age has had an impact on the industry, Ms Abou-Raad said there was still an important place for travel agencies.
“The internet can’t beat the fact-to-face consultation,” she said.
She advises aspiring travel consultants to see the world before studying.