Why travel and hospitality: Alessandra Alonso, Gregory Reeves & Zina Bencheikh

New to the industry and looking for advice on how to start a career in travel and hospitality? Or perhaps you’re a seasoned pro who’s lost your work spark and you’re in need of a motivational boost? Either way we’ve got you, hun.

In the third installation of ‘Why travel and hospitality’ we’ve called on our industry friends (people whose names you need to know, trust us) to share the best things about working in travel and hospitality – and to offer friendly advice for y’all who are just starting out.

Alessandra Alonso (she/her) – Founder & MD, Women in Travel CIC

Why do you love working in travel and hospitality? 

This industry is all about giving people the best of times and incredible memories… There aren’t many industries that can claim to be in the happiness business, but we certainly are!

What makes it different to other industries? 

I think people are what makes this industry special. It may sound a bit of a cliché, but unless you’re someone who enjoys dealing with people – finding out about them and caring about their wishes – you’ll find it hard to work in travel and tourism. I always say that I am where I am because of the relationships I’ve developed along the way.

What’s your advice for candidates who are new to the industry? 

You have an amazing opportunity to forge a career that could take you to extraordinary places. Throughout the last 20 years I’ve had the most amazing experiences, met some awesome people, and made great friends. The pay may not be the best at the outset, but you can progress quickly and you’ll begin to catch up with other industries. All benefits considered, you can have a really fulfilling and rewarding career.


Gregory Reeves (he/him) – Managing Director, Connections Luxury

Why do you love working in travel and hospitality?

Exposure to so many cultures and world nuances. Growing up, I had a pretty sheltered life – my exposure to overseas locations was predominantly to one state in the US and, as a Brit, this didn’t exactly open my mind to the colourful world out there. Working in tourism has offered me experiences and, most importantly, a perspective that I could never have achieved on my own.

What makes it different to other industries?

Tourism and hospitality have a sense of camaraderie that you would struggle to find in many other industries. Working with a team towards a common goal, mixing time behind a laptop with physically demanding work. It's exciting and you build friends for life, quickly!

What’s your advice for candidates who are new to the industry?

Relax and allow your personality and passion to shine. Remember: our industry is all about the experiences, holidays, or meals out that can be the highlight of someone's week – we’re here to facilitate that and create life memories. Also, be open to where your career can take you – I worked in a few jobs I didn’t enjoy, but they opened doors, and the same will happen for you.


Zina Bencheikh (she/her) – Managing Director EMEA, Intrepid Travel

Why do you love working in travel and hospitality?

I love that each day in my job I see examples of how travel can truly be a force for good. When done right, travel can have an amazing impact on local communities – particularly women and vulnerable groups.

I also love the diversity in travel. In my role I'm very lucky to work with colleagues in our offices around the world. I believe having people from different backgrounds, bringing different perspectives, is the secret to a successful team. 

What makes it different to other industries?

Travel is a very sociable industry – we love to mix and have fun together. But the people are also very hardworking and passionate about what they do.

What’s your advice for candidates who are new to the industry?

Keep an open mind and don't be afraid of stepping outside your comfort zone. The travel industry offers so many different avenues and opportunities that some people might not be aware of. I started off in Morocco as a finance manager and never expected I would one day be leading the EMEA region.


Reckon travel and hospitality could be the industry for you? Get in touch for help finding your next role.

Already working in travel and hospitality, but not sure where to take your career next? Book a Lightning Lounge session for tailored career advice to help you figure out your future.

You can also check out our interview with Ivna Reic, who discusses how she's implemented the first of its kind ED&I module in the Tourism & Hospitality course at University of Northampton below:

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Thea Bardot

16th March

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