Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - TRADES + SERVICES - Laura Tri­este MT DRUITT-ST MARYS STAN­DARD, Wed­nes­day, July 15, 2015

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.

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