The travel industry has taken a massive hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most airlines around the world reduced their flight schedule by over 80% and lost billions of dollars in the process. However, the pandemic has also taught the industry some valuable lessons on how to adjust their business and the importance of setting contingency plans in order to survive unpredictable storms.

Air France-KLM’s new Commercial Director for Southern Africa, Thi-Phi-Yen Le, shares five tips that she’s learned from the pandemic as well as her impressive decade-long career at the brand for anyone who wishes to embark on a career in travel and tourism.

 Keep holding firm to your ambition and keep the final goal in mind

Good things worth having often don’t come easy and usually take time. The same goes for your career.  Even if you have a bumpy path or encounter a bit of a detour en-route to your goal, stay the course and persevere. The experience and insight you gain along the way will ultimately benefit you and add value in your career.  

Within an Air France-KLM context, we have a strong culture of recognising and guiding talent to positions where it is needed. Along the way potential candidates might end up in a position which is not what they had initially planned, but that becomes an opportunity for them to show their  dedication and commitment in getting any job done and helping them get to where they ultimately want to be.

Don’t let setbacks deter you from your dream

In life, setbacks are a guarantee and they come in many different forms. The key is to not let setbacks (especially during trying times like we find ourselves in) deter you from your goal and where you want to be. A shift in perspective is vital – to rather see a setback as a challenge or a renewal of your game plan. Overcoming obstacles and finding solutions to challenges is essential in both your personal and work life. Staying the course and putting in hard work and focus will pay off in time.

Have faith in yourself

You need to be your own biggest cheerleader. Having faith in yourself and what you know you are capable of doing and achieving is so important. That belief in yourself and confidence in your own abilities will always come across to people – especially a potential employer.

Engage with people

Within the travel industry, you are likely to at some point in your career (be it in person or over Zoom)  meet new people from all around the world. Being exposed to different people and different cultures enables you to learn about them and what makes them ‘tick’. Having a genuine interest in people and treating them with respect and kindness, even in a situation of conflict, is a very valuable asset to have not only in the travel industry but across industries.

Keep on learning

Use your time wisely and consider learning something new or developing a new skill. There are many online courses (most being free to do) that vary in length and cover various themes. In terms of actually learning on the job or during training, don’t be afraid to ask questions or say “I don’t know” – acknowledging you don’t know everything and being open to learning is an essential skill that not everyone has.

Source: El Broide, The Platinum Club