Once the components of a holiday have been put together (travel, accommodation, tours, meals and any special extras, such as visits to the opera or theatre) you will act as the link person, negotiating with the hotelier or apartment owners over what accommodation is set aside, when, and at what price, before the season starts.
You may also be dealing with coach operators, taxi firms, airlines, shipping agents, train operators, restaurants, and, for holidays abroad, local tour operators providing the excursions. An excellent grasp of detail and clear head for figures are essential, combined with a shrewd negotiating ability. You want to get the best price, for a clearly defined range of services, yet give your company as much flexibility as possible should the demand from customers fall below expectations. A sense of humour helps, especially when the talking gets tough, or if there have been problems and you are trying to win people back on side.
Extensive travel is involved, reflecting the range of destinations the tour operator deals with. While this may seem glamorous and interesting, the schedule can be very demanding and there is little time for relaxation, even to overcome jetlag. Back at the office, much of your time will be spent checking that arrangements are running smoothly, sorting out any problems, and seeing to the administration of contracts. You will also help with developing and planning new holidays and business tours, based on customer and supplier feedback and your knowledge of the market, as well as any political and economic developments in the destinations.
You are responsible for the recruitment of your team and motivating them towards ambitious targets. You will be able to perform any task that your team are capable of but primarily will be involved in more strategic planning and reporting.