A Holiday Reps Life – The Real Story

Many of you have heard me mention my times living abroad – well it all started off by deciding to be a Holiday Rep.

Being a Holiday Rep isn’t all as it seems

This continued for a few years – despite it initially only meant to be for 6 months. I then moved into Tour Leading, Airport Supervisor, Financial Administrator and other varying roles. It was the Holiday Rep Role however that really sticks with you.

I recently came across a post that I wrote in 2007 detailing a week in the shoes of a rep, reading it back it bought back so many memories.

I thought I would share it hear, so others can see – whats it really like being a Holiday Rep!!

Well it’s not all Beautiful Beaches, All Inclusive food and drink, gorgeous people and fun you know, thought I would share a week in the life of a holiday rep………

But you get to attend festivals on your days off

Saturday – A new day, it is going home day for many which means new arrivals, the night before is the Farewell Karaoke, hosting taken over by me at midnight, going through till 4am, so the 3 hours’ sleep has had little impact, still bright and breezy ‘MORNING *smiles* as I reach for a cup of coffee on my 8am ‘Breakfast Duties’

An hour of wondering among those eating their breakfast, keeping on that wide awake good morning smile, answering the odd question ‘where do we put our cases?’ ‘Is checkout at 12?’ ‘What shops are at the airport?’ all answered with a smile and as if you hadn’t been asked it 200 times already that week.

9am I sit at my desk, people start to fill out comments in the comments book, it’s a great group that’s leaving and will be sad to see them go, had some great nights and days out with them. A few requests for email addresses etc. and bags and bags of donations of toiletries etc., it guests like this that makes the job worthwhile.

11am and I get a list of the hotel rooms for the new arrivals, sitting going through I start to spot the weekly mistakes, connecting rooms booked yet guests 6 rooms away from each other!!! 5 year old put on the 4th floor with restricted balconies, requests for high floor and on ground!!! After 3 attempts and 2 hours later we have all guests with requests that they have made, makings for a successful check-in – or so you would think!!!!!!

1pm – with paperwork sorted I wonder around the pool say a few ‘HI’s’ ‘how it going?’ ‘Yeah. Fine thanks’, well I have a couple of hours off, its baking hot, think I will lay by the pool for an hour! I go upstairs and change into swimming shorts and take my usual perch on the wall, next to the pool bar with feet hanging in the water, ahhh this is the life! ‘Mr Daniel Please!!!!’ ‘WHAT NOW! So the security guards that constantly chase me around asking why I don’t have an All Inclusive band on, suddenly know who I am because they need me!!! In part Portuguese and Part sign language they tell me they have trouble on the fourth floor, so freshly oiled I towel off and wonder upstairs! Another simple, he says she says, he’s nasty she’s crazy saga, yada yada yada, 1 hour later they are made up and best friends and it’s time for me to get changed again for work – Fun, fun fun!!!

4pm – An hour and half of good byes, waving off coaches, good comments, bad comments and it’s time to relax, that’s another 100 people gone and awaiting 100 more. I sit at my desk and organise my arrival charts for tomorrows welcome meeting!!

8pm and I’ve finished, I need food, wonder down to the restaurant, Saturday is one of my favourites, med rare beef fillets and potato gratin, and a nice glass of red to go with it! I know, treat to myself to chocolate cake that I’ve spotted! A great meal, but feeling tired!!

Now I have about 3 hours till the new arrivals! What do I do?! Pink Panther is starting on the only English Channel, great that’s me sorted!

11pm I get a call – first bus has left airport, 2nd is waiting cause there is lost luggage (Again)!!! I get changed into my dashing pink shirt and inform reception that the bus is about 1 1/2 hours away! Followed by an hour of wondering the reception area looking at the rain!!! Bus arrives, happy faces NOT!!! ‘What’s with the rain? Could have stayed at home for that’ ‘where can I get some food’ ‘where’s the bar!!!!!’ , 30 mins later both buses r checked in, details taken of lost bags and now one irate guest because they booked ONE interconnecting room on the internet, but expected TWO!!! After trying to calmly explain that he only booked and paid for one room that sleeps up to 3 adults or 2 adults + 2 children, I get the repeated shouting of ‘DONT YOU TELL ME WHAT I BOOKED, YOU SORT IT OUT!’ Eventually I go to bed, opps no I don’t – its 1.30am and his in reception demanding to see me, he has his laptop and his booking receipt showing ONE interconnecting room, but has NO interconnecting door – No sir, that’s because if you only book ONE interconnecting room, there is nothing for a connecting door to connect to!!! After showing him internet booking procedures and term of conditions (That he clicked to say he had read!!!) he finally accepts that it is not my fault and nothing more I can do except find a price for a 2nd room in the morning – Yay Bed.

So day one out the way!!!!

Sunday – a lot easier, up at 8am, set up meeting room, 9.30 am arrival of guests to meeting, 10am meeting underway, usual standard, same questions – ‘Which tea is English’ ‘where can I get proper milk’ etc. etc. etc.

Take $35,000 worth of excursion bookings which take till 12 noon to email over! I then have a 2nd meeting at 12 and a third at 4pm! After frantically trying to write out about 100 tickets people start to arrive, a long queue at my desk for ticket collection! ‘Next’ each and every guest wants to chat!!! Keep it simple, be polite and keep them moving!!!! 9.30pm last guest completed, pack up stuff ‘Oh, Dan, Glad I caught you’ ‘Yes Mr Jones!!!!!!’ ok now I’m away, its Sunday, damn, its karaoke hosting again!!! Quick food, pasta tonight for me, a few songs, ok lies…… no one will sing in the new group so it’s all myself and the entertainment girls!!!!

Monday – Usual breakfast duties and sending new bookings through by email! Hotel manager walks passed! ‘Dan, we have a problem with a guest in this room’ waving a piece of paper! ‘What’s the problem?’ ‘The maid couldn’t wake the guest’ OK, so a medical again! I walk quickly to the room, preparing for a semi-conscious, or passed out guest! Revival procedure racing through my head! I get to the room and security open the door as I walk in I stare, a man lying on the bed, totally still, I glance at the chest, no movement! He looks dead, but first aid training makes me want to be sure, I need to see if there is a pulse! As I walk further towards the body i feel a shiver, my hand moves closer and as I near his neck I can feel the chill, a second’s touch of the ice cold body confirms my worst nightmare. I turn to the hotel manager and tell him, he looks shocked – ‘what do we do?’ he asks! Great, so down to me then!!! I call the office to call the local embassy and the hotel call the police and I ask for the medical team!
We secure the room and we go downstairs for a coffee and wait for the police to arrive! ‘Hi Dan, can I just book Tropicana with you??’ ‘Why of course you can’ with the obligatory smile and no worries attitude! I book the trip, write the ticket and await police, return to my coffee, how many guests walking past think I’m just taking a break when I should be working! ‘Ok for some eh!!!!!’ – Yep it’s great, do nothing all day!!!!!

The day goes very slow, forensics, police, and medical teams and finally the removal of the body, all proceeding intertwined with various meetings with guests, comments, complaints about people not speaking English etc. etc. etc.!!!!

Tuesday – The day starts like every other, bit overcast and a few moans – The electricity here is no good-it won’t heat my GHD’s!, The entertainments crap-they don’t speak enough English!, I’m sunburnt, I have a bad tummy (No u drank too many Caprioska’s with a whole lime in each!!!!!). An Airtours guest kicks off cause their trip they wanted to go on with me was overbooked, due to incorrect information coming from the booking agent, I booked 12 people onto a trip that had no space, so now it’s my fault they can’t go and I’ve spoilt their holiday! *SMILES*, sorts out refunds, advises all the guests that whale watching is cancelled again cause of rough seas, advise guest fast and fun is cancelled again cause of rough seas, and chase up people that haven’t paid or collected tickets that they booked!

12 noon, get collected and go to office to apply for next year’s placements, decisions, decisions! Complete application and manage to arrange to have car for the next day, my day off! Will be the first time in four months that I’ve managed to have a car to escape completely on my own from the gated complex in which I work!
Have a coffee then back off to duties.

Tuesday afternoon consists of packing and itinerating all the belongs left behind from the guy that died, so to guests I’m probably just away having fun again! Hmmm! I can hardly keep my eyes open so have an early night, watch a movie and drift off to sleep around 10pm. 10.30 pm phone goes! Guest that couldn’t do Tropicana wants to know if he can do trip to see Sloths!!!!!!! HELLO ‘ EMERGENCY MOBILE – WHAT APPEARS TO BE THE EMERGENCY!!!!!!!’ – All trips full, guest pissed!!!! Ok sleep now.

Wed – MY DAY OFF!!!!!! Phone goes 9am ‘you sent passport numbers for a family of four but only booked on 2 people?!’ as I start laptop to check bookings i notice clearly says 2ad and 2ch – ‘It’s on the bookings as FOUR!!!!’ ‘Sorry- didn’t spot the children!!!!!’ i then see email of three declined credit cards – why they didn’t notify me yesterday?! I shower and start to write notices regarding the credit cards to deliver to guests! 10am walking around delivery notices, phone goes, another problem with a booking ‘NO!! Just read the bookings properly!!!!!!!!!!’ phone again – this time the brother of the deceased wanting to know details, I explain that I cannot discuss and need to call the UK duty office, i run back to my room and look up the number in my folder! He thanks me for my help and says goodbye! Phone again – Resort Supervisor – ‘where’s the passport your meant to be bringing down’ *Deep Breath* ‘I will be leaving soon’!!!!!!!!! Finally leave at 12, get to gate of complex and security refuse to let me out! ‘What’s the problem?’ ‘Voce Amigo – Banco Do Brazil – Voce Retorno!!’ ‘Eh NO, I have no friend at the bank, now let me OUT!!!’ ‘OK OK’ IM FREE!!!!!

I drive the 2 hours to the local shops, stopping on the way to drop off passport at the office. Love the drive, where else in the world do u drive through rainforest, see a boy on a horse crossing the road on a pedestrian bridge! And have people at lights selling fresh fruit! I have not been to shops in 4 months, feels strange, money in my pocket, shops everywhere and ‘Fast Food’ – Which gorgeous restaurant to eat at, hmm i know SUBWAY – meatball and cheese – wow processed food tastes good after 4 months of healthy eating!!! I buy new trainers, some new underwear, get haircut, balloons and candles for Debbie’s birthday tomorrow and few bits n bobs! 2 hour return home. Back at 8pm, eat and bed. 11pm Phone Call – What time is Salvador trip tomorrow??? ‘Are you booked on already?’ ‘Yes’ ‘Well its 8am, same as on your ticket *SMILE*!!!!!!’

Thursday – Liquidation day – $37,000 to pay in to agent. Count money, check traveller’s cheques, ensure all credit cards now authorised, do paperwork and write out new Welcome Cards for next week’s arrivals!! 12 noon get picked up to liquidate at office-4.30pm get back.
Walk round pool ‘Dont u have a great job, just walking in the sun by the pool all day’ ‘ha-ha yeah it’s great!’ ‘You off again?!’ ‘Ha-ha., yep always relaxing *smiles*’
8pm finish – eat – Mexican *yum* tacos, spuds, fajitas plus I decide I need a drink tonight, have a shower and change.

10pm go to bar – ‘day off?’ ‘You off again’ ‘alright for some’ – once again smile, joke ha-ha, funny person!!!!! Sit and have a few drinks, chat to a few decent guests, get the often ‘I know you’re off BUT…………’ 2pm lots of drunk guests, including two underage girls who have been given drinks from older guys ‘ok u two, over here and water!!!!’ a few glasses of water and sandwiches later I lead them off to their room accompanied by two other guests (School Teachers on holiday that I dragged along for safety! ha-ha) now time for my sleep! 4 hours later PHONE!!!!! 6.30AM – A guest who has booked 1 room on the internet and pissed off cause thought they had 2 rooms between the 3 of them!!! Its 6.30 am what do u expect me to do, *SMILE* hang on, sound familiar, it’s all starting again!!!!

So now it’s Friday! Morning been not too bad, 1 welcome meeting for 5 people, a few coffees, few people to refund for cancelled boat trips. It’s now 12.30. I finished 30 mins ago and i start again at 4, first proper free time during the day all week, the sun is shining so going to lay by the pool – How many comments will i get today!?

So as you can see, the life of a rep can be extremely varied, tough going, frustrating, long hours, and little sleep, lonely and unrewarding. You deal with members of the public that know nothing of the world, people so ignorant, they think being poor is having to buy own brand products instead of the premium ones. 


Despite this you can also have extremely rewarding moments, life changing experiences, meet amazing people, and see amazing sites, throughout it all I still love my job! I can ride horses weekly, walk in rainforests, feed the wild monkeys (tut tut), watch local fisherman with their lines, eat amazing fresh food, meet incredible local children with nothing-playing football barefoot in the forest and always laughing and smiling. I am so looking forward to taking three months off and take a break in Australia, but I will be keen to get back into the repping uniform and go through it all again.

Now you think that was tough going reading through my week – try it 😉


A Blog dedicated to Food and Travel, both in the UK and Overseas

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