Last year we met Tobias Klöpf, now Vice President of the Travel Industry Club (TIC) and founder of YoungTIC. We asked him for his tips on how to successfully start a career in the travel industry. Here he tells us about his career and what he advises young professionals.
Hi Tobias, could you maybe introduce yourself first?
Yes, of course. My name is Tobias Klöpf and I have been running the Young Travel Industry Club for 3.5 years now. I’m very proud of that, because for the Young TIC, I’m allowed to work with full vigour for the movers and shakers of tomorrow’s travel industry, and I do it with heart and soul. Because the travel industry is wonderful and needs young and tough talent to push the industry forward and think ahead – and yes, that’s why I do it with heart and soul. That’s why Young TIC is the leading network of the young and most motivated travel decision-makers of tomorrow.
From where do you know Juvigo?
I’ve known Juvigo since 2017 – since you won the VIR Sprunbrett competition in Berlin. Congratulations again! You guys at Juvigo are a great team and have a great product – of course I can only recommend you.
“You guys at Juvigo are a great team and have a great product – of course I can only recommend you”
Can you tell us something about training in tourism? What is your background? When do you think it is worthwhile to study and when should I opt for an apprenticeship?
I myself come from the stationary travel distribution sector, I did an apprenticeship for three years after graduating from high school, which is something I would recommend to everyone. In travel sales, i.e. in the classic travel agency, you learn about tourism from the basics onwards, and I think that is the decisive factor if you want to make a career in the travel industry nowadays. You learn to understand the processes, ideas and products from scratch.
I think a training in a travel agency is very valuable and above all it is very diverse. On the one hand, you learn the commercial basics, but on the other hand, you also learn communication. You also learn distribution and sales. And that is the key and a door opener for almost everything in our travel industry. It is colourful, loud and lives on communication. You can’t be a smart aleck about it. You learn a whole range of soft skills, but also hard skills.
It was always clear to me in advance that I wanted to continue. I then did my bachelor’s degree in tourism at the university in Worms. That was also an excellent and valuable time. It gave me the opportunity to work through all the segments of the industry again from a theoretical point of view over a period of three years. I then added my Master’s degree in International Management on top of that to stimulate the so-called T-anchor again.
And that is also my tip for anyone who wants to make a career in the travel industry: Everyone should first specialise in one area, which I did in sales and I am a sales professional through and through. I can sell sand to the Egyptians, as my boss at the time used to put it so nicely. Through my work at TIC, where it’s more about networking across the entire travel industry, but also through my Master’s degree, I have learned to put the whole thing in the vertical and thus position myself in a more generalist way.
I think that is the key to success. First in depth and then in a broader sense, and of course with a number of soft factors, such as communication skills, sales skills, etc.. Then I think a career in the travel industry will work out – together with courage and a bit of luck.
What else can you recommend to young professionals? What should they look for when choosing a career? Salary is one question, of course, but what else matters?
So young professionals should first find out “What type of person am I? And SWOT analyses (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) are the classic way to do this. I also like to recommend this to students during the lectures I give at universities. Nowadays, they analyse all the branches of operation of any large company in Germany, but they don’t know anything about their own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. So career starters: do a SWOT analysis of yourselves to find out your strengths, and from that you will find out which corporate philosophy I feel comfortable with.
„So career starters: do a SWOT analysis of yourselves to find out your strengths“
I’m more of a doer type and wouldn’t be happy in a large corporation. I need a small agile team with flat hierarchies, where you can simply make a lot of decisions quickly. So medium-sized companies or start-ups, where YTIC is also part of it, are suitable for me. People who work in a structured way and are number-driven certainly feel comfortable in a large corporation. So first look at yourself: “What are my ideas?”, “How do I imagine a corporate philosophy?”, “What suits me? And in the second step, look at the industry: “Where does the company come from?”, “Does it come from the retail sector?”, “Does it come from the mobility sector?”, “Is it family-run?”, “Is it a start-up?”. The more I can identify with the philosophy, the more likely I am to choose that company.
That is definitely a very helpful tip. Thank you very much for being here today.
Are you interested in a career within the travel industry? Then take a look at the Juvigo career section. We look forward to receiving your application!