Considering what has transpired recently in Tunisia, I think it is only right for me to highlight the areas that guests do not see and definitely do not know about Holiday Reps.
Rep training is very basic – it teaches the principles of the company, the importance of customer service, the sales techniques, the do’s and don’ts of representing the company… and it touches very casually on the issues that could arise in resort – such as a death or a dispute.
At no point during the weeks training course does it cover terrorism threats, bomb threats, floods, gangs, mob violence, drunk and disorderlies, rapes, deaths (accidental or natural), delays, strikes, natural disasters – the list is endless and countless. I will be honest, on rep training I had no idea that anything bad could happen – and if it did, I naively thought that someone else would be handling whatever disaster would occur…WRONG!
Once that contract is signed, a rep is now the face of the company. They must wear that uniform with pride and they must take every form of battering, beating and abuse that is hurled at them about the company they represent. Reps are the ones who must paint a smile on their face knowing full well they are hated by the guests who have decided to go on holiday and moan about EVERYTHING! Each rep strides with confidence and exudes an air of authority (even though they are quivering in their shoes). They ARE the company – they must never for one second look frightened or shocked. Every incident is supposed to be a walk in the park, just another day in paradise…WRONG!
Yes, reps ARE the company…but they are human too. They too have emotions and they too can hurt and bruise easily. They too can be shocked, frightened…afraid. They too get tired, lonely and upset. Guess what – reps are superheroes! Each and every one of them – they must quell their own emotions, shut down their own feelings and don a mask that is professional, calm and reassuring. To you as the guest, they come across aloof and standoffish. They may even appear pompous and up their own arses – but guess what, they are scared shitless just as much as you are in a situation that is way beyond their control and the control of the company they represent.
Over the recent days I have read Facebook statuses from ex-reps who have mentioned being in resort during flash floods, terrorist bomb threats, island wide bus strikes, flight delays from 9/11, natural deaths etc. They have all shared a slice of their experiences in order to show the rest of the world (who have no idea what it is like to be in that position) what it is like to be responsible for the wellbeing of hundreds and thousands of VERY scared human beings.
I have also read various messages from holidaymakers ranting and raving about Thomson this, and Thomas Cook that. They have ranted about getting their money back and needing more information. Guests in the resort of Tunisia have responded by saying they can’t see any reps, and things like, “this is the worst service ever”. Family members of holidaymakers in Tunisia have cursed about the lack of communication, the slow response time, and how disgusted they are with all the travel companies for their complete lack of effort during a time like this.
I am appalled, disgusted and horrified at the people who have shown no remorse or concern for the team of reps, managers, hotel staff, cabin crew, ground crew, airport staff, bus drivers, taxi men, police personnel, hospital workers, random strangers – all working tirelessly to keep THOUSANDS of holiday makers calm, safe and secure. For one minute you haven’t thought that all those people are just as frightened, just as tired and just as shocked. You haven’t for one minute thought that those people would like nothing more than to go hide under their bed? Are you being serious when you are demanding answers from a team who can only work as fast as the information they are given? Do you honestly think holiday companies walk around with genies in bottles waiting for any sign of trouble? For God’s sake stop living in the ‘me,me,me’ bubble and look around! The issue in Tunisia has a knock on effect for every holiday maker whether in the UK or already scattered around Europe – planes have to be diverted, airports have to shift their ENTIRE flight plan, staff have to be called in, flights have to be cancelled, holiday makers in other resorts like Spain, Greece, Turkey etc, now have to be delayed in returning home so that their plane can be used.
It is not about YOU, it is not about ME…it is about the men, woman, children and ALL the staff involved in that incident, having to witness images of bodies shot in cold blood, strewn across the beach or lying lifeless in the lounge chairs. It’s the sounds of crying, screaming, wailing and moaning. It’s the weeping of a wife as she cradles the body of her husband covered in blood. It’s the child who will live the rest of his life having nightmares and being petrified of his own shadow. It is the mother laying face down in the pool of her own blood as her children search frantically for her amid the thousands of scared faces. It is the authorities who must carry away bodies with no identification – so that someone…anyone…can come and claim rightful ownership.
As you sit in front of the television and curse blue murder because Thomson won’t answer your call about the holiday you have booked for Turkey NEXT YEAR…stop being an arsehole and imagine how you would feel lying in a pool of your own family members blood screaming for help.
The only thing you should be cursing about is when will we, as a nation of human beings, put an end to the animalistic treatment of the innocent. When will we – as a thinking, awakened people – stop believing that religion is still the answer! Look at what ‘religion’ has caused!