Tips for Young Travel Professionals During COVID-19April 14, 2020 | By: Nati Ucrós
Being a young professional in any industry is challenging as it is; however, these past few months, the travel industry has seen a monumental shift. For those who are new to the travel industry, like myself, you must be thinking, “what a difficult time to start my career in the travel space.” Don’t worry, we get it. March 2020 – the month COVID-19 struck the globe – might be the month that changed life as we know it, not only in the tourism industry, but in the world.
While we understand that it’s easy to focus on the decrease of travelers and all the negativity we are constantly being bombarded with, it’s important to focus on the positive and how we can learn and grow, not only as professionals, but as individuals.
After consulting with DCI’s pool of young staffers, we put together a list of tips for other young travel professionals out there looking for some guidance or even common ground during these uncertain times.
1. Try to keep up on the positive news
We understand it’s hard to avoid all the negative news that comes at a time of crisis and it’s necessary to stay informed; however, try and set some time apart to read those stories that make you feel good and won’t bring down your spirits. While major outlets like Conde Nast Traveler, AFAR and Travel + Leisure practice responsible journalism, they are keeping readers informed for when the inventible travel industry bounces back. Check out this heartfelt letter from AFAR editors describing their stance.
There is a light at the end of this tunnel and remember to read more of those “feel-good” stories, and who knows, you might find some inspiration that can help with your work.
2. Don’t kill your travel bug
We all started working in the travel industry because we love to explore and have a strong passion for new places. We see the value and importance of tourism because of all the positive effects it creates. It’s important that we don’t lose that desire and passion during these times.
Nurture that wanderlust in your blood by creating a detailed itinerary for that Spain trip you always wanted to take. Plan out activities, restaurants, hikes, anything! Take some time to plan out trips so you don’t neglect your travel bug, but instead feed it because when all of this is over, not only will we be travel professionals, but also travel consumers.
3. Professional development and experience
As newbies to the professional world, we need to recognize the professional development we are experiencing without even knowing we are surrounded by it! Crisis situations instantly make you think, act and function creatively and with a sense of urgency you never have to normally deal with on a day to day basis. The COVID-19 pandemic is like nothing we have ever seen before and the entire travel industry, from CEO down to entry level workers, has had to completely change their scope of work and frame of mind overnight.
Yes, travel professionals have had to adapt and deal with crisis situations like the wildfires in Wine Country California or the Hurricanes in Puerto Rico, but I guarantee that you will not find a tenure professional in the travel space that has had to deal with a crisis of this magnitude. We were thrown into the fire within our first year or two of being in the industry.
So, when you are feeling down, just remember, we will be coming out of this with knowledge and can even say “as seasoned travel professionals who lived through the COVID-19 crisis” in our early 20’s!
4. We are all in this together
Since we are in the beginning of our careers and still learning, it’s normal to feel lost or to feel like your work doesn’t contribute to anything. Don’t get discouraged or ever feel undervalued in your position; just because we are young doesn’t mean our work isn’t valuable. No idea is too small or too big. These are uncharted waters for everyone so be creative, keep thinking, and remember, we are all figuring this out together.
And if the situation calls for teams to work remotely, here are a couple extra tips to keep organized, sane, and efficient during turbulent times:
5. Keep a routine when working from home
This might seem obvious but it’s not as self-explanatory as it seems. It’s easy to dial in to that call with your manager in the same clothes you slept in; it’s easy to work from your bed and not get out until 12 pm. Our advice: don’t do it.
Get out of bed, change out of your pajamas. It will alter your overall mood and make you feel more motivated at 9 am when you technically have no obligation to be physically anywhere except online. While you’re working, set deadlines. This will trigger your adrenaline to get your work done by a certain time.
And finally, just how you get up to start working, make sure to log off when your work is done. When we’re at home, it’s easy to get sucked in and keep doing work for your clients. Mental breaks are necessary, so log off, make some dinner and enjoy your evening. Work will still be there in the morning.
6. Communication is key
Similar to the tip above, it’s normal to get stuck in a cycle of “work isolation” and forget to communicate with your manager and your coworkers. Make sure your voices are heard and ask to set up a time in the morning and in the afternoon to check in / debrief with your manager or team.
While it’s important to talk about work and be consistently checking in when everyone is working remotely, it’s also nice to talk about non-work-related things with your colleagues to maintain sanity. Maybe coordinate a happy hour once a week with your coworkers or a 15-minute FacetTime yoga session. Whatever it may be, set some time to talk about other things, not just work to keep that human connection!