We’re an international travel recruitment agency but our friends think we’re a travel agency!

I know there are doctors who are plagued by friends and acquaintances asking them to check over a weird lump or bump. But here at Progressive Travel Recruitment we have a slightly different problem. Our jobs involve travel recruitment. We are an international travel recruitment agency. We find people jobs in the travel industry and supply candidates for travel companies. What we don’t do is book holidays. So, it’s surprising how many people think we’re a travel agency.

plane holiday travel recruitmentDirector Tony Macdonald says, ‘It usually happens when I meet people for the first time. They often just don’t quite understand, and ask if I can get them a cheap holiday, or say they’ll come to me when they need to book a holiday.’

Fellow director Fiona Morrison-Arnthal and I get it too. When you hear that inevitable ‘What do you do?’ question, you think, here we go! I explain that I co-run an international travel recruitment agency. They then ask whether I get cheap flights and discounted holidays, and whether I can get them a deal on travel products.

Fiona says that because she started her career as a travel agent, some of her friends and family still think that’s what she does. She says, ‘I am fortunate to have a fabulous friend who is a longstanding expert travel agent so they get referred directly to her.’

Self-booking stress

However, on a slightly more serious note, I do think that in this time of booking and organising travel for ourselves online, from our airline seat to checking in, printing boarding passes, car-hire, extra insurance for car hire, hotel rooms and excursions, that people are actually desperate for a bit of help. What most don’t realise is that there are still great travel agents out there, who will book everything to do with your holiday for you. I’d strongly encourage people to use them.

Greek island holiday travel recruitment blog imageSometimes it’s good to have our holiday choices whittled down a little. The trouble with doing it all ourselves is knowing where to start. I know I struggle with the thought of finding the best hotel room by checking 12 different websites, and I’ve worked in the travel industry for my entire career.

Fiona says, ‘People are overwhelmed with choice and options. They don’t understand the difference between ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) and ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents).’ She says, ‘They think if the ABTA sign is there they are protected. If they book a component and not a package or book separate components they are simply not protected and they don’t understand this. A small handful of businesses have their own insurance protection and when they put a bespoke package together, they issue an ATOL and have additional protection. The point is that there are so many websites, aggregators, people with opinions, not to mention TripAdvisor – which has been accused of having false recommendations (allegedly paid for), who do you rely on? I do see why people then ask me for advice (even if they secretly know I’m in travel recruitment not selling holidays)!’

What I have noticed overall is that some think they can handle doing everything on the internet, but I have seen intelligent people being caught out when things go wrong. This is where a good agent could have advised better.

Expertise in travel

1. Northern lights holidayFiona is right. We are travel experts – and actually seeing inside so many different companies helps further our travel expertise. We have all worked in the travel industry; it’s a deliberate USP of Progressive Travel Recruitment. We’re an international travel recruitment agency full of travel industry specialists.

I admit I help out friends sometimes. Personally, I don’t mind. I mostly refer them to contacts that have expertise in a particular part of the world. I understand each of my client’s capabilities, some of whom I’ve spent 20 years recruiting for. So, I pass friends on to the best-placed travel specialist to assist. But by the way, they won’t be offering discounts, but they will offer good advice.

The advice I would give is that booking with a reputable agent makes your trip safer. A good travel agent offers proper protection and will have your back in the event of a problem. Excellent agents will also have first-hand experience of a destination, including which is the best airline that serves it, which are the best hotels to suit your needs, and what activities are worth doing.

What we actually do

1. Luxe sea and beachWe are an international travel recruitment agency that can find travel talent in any corner of the world. Our real difference is that we are travel experts, and that we focus on passive candidates. Our respected brand means we have the ability to attract talent to roles all over the globe.

I have only ever worked in the travel industry and I love it. Progressive Travel Recruitment is now a supplier to the industry. I doubt any of us would enjoy recruiting for any other industry. And if that means a few people misunderstand what we do and ask for travel advice, well I’ll put up with it. I wonder what those doctors do though?


If you’re seeking great travel candidates or looking for a travel job, connect with us on LinkedIn: James Roberts, Fiona Morrison-Arnthal, and Tony Macdonald. And follow our company page here >
If you need holiday advice, please find a good travel agency!