Career in focus – Roslyn Hakim
Travel Manager, Orbit World Travel
1. What does your role involve and how long have you been in your current position?
I have been in my current position as an independent consultant with my own client portfolio for the past 14 years. I’m a specialist in luxury travel. Prior to that I ran my own travel agency.
2. How did you start out in your career? Were you always destined to work in the travel industry?
I started my career with Qantas in Johannesburg, when they commenced flying the Boeing 707s on the Wallaby Route (between Australia and South Africa). I was in charge of handling reservations and airport VIPs. The whole experience got me completely hooked on the travel industry and I decided from then on that there was nothing else in the world that I would rather do.
3. Did you complete formal qualifications, and do you think they are important?
When I started in the travel industry there were no formal qualifications to complete. All of your training happened on the job. I have always really valued education though and I started with a public relations diploma and attended many training courses whilst working for Qantas. Later as a commercial sales representative with Air France, working in both Sydney and Paris, I continued to take up any training that they offered.
4. What do you love about your job?
I love that my position puts me in contact with such a diverse range of people from all walks of life. I love being able to pass on my extensive destination knowledge and life experiences to clients and colleagues. My life has been so enriched by the many wonderful people, clients and suppliers that I have met throughout my career. I have also been greatly blessed to be able to be involved on the committee of the Gold Dinner — the signature fundraiser for the Sydney Children’s Hospital through one of my clients. Through me, my wonderful and generous suppliers have shown so much support for this fantastic cause.
5. What were some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced in your career?
I have had many challenges in my career. The first was transitioning from an airline representative to a travel advisor, which I did when I emigrated to Australia from South Africa. The second big challenge I faced was when I owned my own travel agency. My business partner decided to leave to open her own business, but she also enticed some key staff to follow her. That was definitely a hard time to work through.
6. What factors were central to your success?
I think that my extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of destinations is what has drawn clients to me and made me successful as a travel advisor. These days there is an overwhelming amount of information that is available to people when researching their travel on the internet. Clients want to come to an advisor who has been to where they are going.
7. Did you have a mentor, and if so, how did you find them?
All my mentoring happened on the job and through external sources, not one single person. That said, I do think that if I had my time over, and in a different time to when I was learning, I would most certainly have sought an external mentor.
8. What are the keys to good business?
If you want to succeed in business, the best thing you can do is have integrity in all of your dealings, with clients, suppliers and loyal staff. The other thing I would suggest would be to keep constantly updating your knowledge in all areas.
9. What advice would you give to others in the industry who would like to follow in your footsteps?
These days our industry is more challenging than ever. You need to keep yourself up to date with industry trends. You should try and travel extensively so you are able to offer clients what the internet cannot — personal experience. Finally, think outside the box and above all, keep a good sense of humour.