What industry combines travel, cultural experiences, versatility, innovative thinking, and endless possibilities? You guessed it, the travel and tourism industry. Despite its significant and meaningful contribution to the global economy, it is often undervalued and overlooked. Job-seekers have traditionally underestimated the idea of having a fulfilling career in travel and tourism because many don’t know about the breadth and variety of professions or the skills required to work in one of the most diverse industries in the world. According to a recent research report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), negative perceptions about skills and career options are causing the travel and tourism industry to miss out on the best new talent among college graduates. WTTC research shows that graduates are only able to identify very broad job roles in an industry that offers many diverse opportunities. As a global technology provider to the travel and tourism industry, Sabre is best positioned to help correct some of the perceptions by supporting the WTTC’s #TourismMatters campaign. We have created a series of blog posts and short videos highlighting a few of our employees to gain their insight into working in the travel industry. To follow up on our previous Newsroom blog featuring TripCase Crew Member Vance Weintraub’s experience working in the travel technology industry, we’ve asked Melinda Peters, Strategic Marketing Manager for Sabre’s Hospitality Solutions, to share her perspective on her first 13 months working in the travel and tourism industry:
Why did you decide to pursue a career in the travel and tourism industry?
Travel and tourism is an industry that will never go away. In the case of corporate travelers, travel is a necessity due to the genuine relationships made with handshakes and face-to-face interactions with customers and prospects versus virtual meetings, phone calls and emails. In the case of leisure travelers, arriving in a new place is an exhilarating experience that people will always crave. The most exciting part about this industry, and my job, is that our technology moves both of these types of travelers around the world.. Whether we’re talking about implementing Wi-Fi on airplanes or providing keyless access to hotel rooms, this industry is ideal for tapping into the digital world.
What has been the most fulfilling aspect of your travel and tourism career so far?
Working at Sabre has given me the opportunity to collaborate with people from around the world. Being surrounded by motivated people with different specialties and backgrounds has been an amazing experience. I’ve gained knowledge about various cultures from my daily interactions. Sabre is focused on being the leader in developing technology solutions for the travel industry, so I’ve learned the complexities of building a software product, and let me tell you—the genius minds behind the solutions amaze me. I’ve learned and experienced things I never would have dreamed about before entering the industry.
Who has been most influential in your travel and tourism career?
Being a recent college graduate, I am thankful to have joined a team full of great people who have taught, encouraged and grown with me along the way. Leilani Latimer, Head of Product Marketing for Hospitality Solutions(my boss), has been a great support system. She has mentored me personally and professionally throughout my time here. She leads with a “do as I do” approach and understands the industry with a depth I hope to have one day. My career is still young, but my team has already taught me more than I could’ve imagined.
Why would you recommend a career in travel and tourism to someone?
The travel and tourism industry is fast paced. You will constantly be faced with new challenges to overcome and problems to solve. The best thing about being a problem-solver is that there is always more than one solution. New technologies have the potential to solve brand-new problems—for example, our new Guest Connect Upsell product helps hoteliers seamlessly integrate merchandising into the guest’s booking process.
How has a career in travel and tourism changed your life?
When I was younger, I didn’t dream about having a career in this industry but now that I’m a part of it I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I didn’t realize how complex getting a plane off the ground or checking a guest into a hotel was until I understood all the factors required for these seemingly simple tasks and the software needed to do it. This industry has made huge strides in the last few decades; however there is still room to grow. I want to be a part of that growth.
What has been the most interesting/challenging part of your career?
One of my favorite quotes about innovation is by Henry Ford, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses.” We like to solve our customers’ problems by giving them what they want, but we aim above the standard to find out what travelers really need – before they even know it.We are tasked with finding solutions to serve both the user of our technologies and the customers they serve. For example, finding a solution that improves a hotelier’s basic tasks, but also revolutionizes how the hotel operates to improve guest experiences. We are constantly striving to find the perfect balance to accomplish both.
What’s your advice to college students about the travel and tourism industry?
Travel and tourism is such a large and limitless industry. There’s no way you won’t find a career using your skills and passion to help the industry evolve. If you want to be in a non-stop, ever-changing, challenging industry, this is it. The travel and tourism industry is on the brink of a revolution—don’t you want to be a part of it?