Okay, so both before becoming a rep and now whilst I am one, there is one question that I am hit with at least once a day.
What is it that you do, exactly?
I’ll admit, us reps have a bad rep. (Like what I did there?) But seriously, when you think of a rep, you think of some vague individual with a clipboard who turns up hungover to try and sell you stuff or to deal with your complaints half-heartedly. In some cases – this is probably an accurate description. I’m not going to lie – I was looking for an esayish job just to get out here and complete a season.
Let me tell you something, this job is not easy.
Is it rewarding? Yes. Is it amazing to wake up in the mountains every day? Yes. Do I get free stuff? Yes. Do I party often? Yes. But, this job also comes with a lot of responsibility, guests have paid a lot to stay in the chalets that I look after and have an amazing holiday, my suppliers have put in years of hard work to get the reputation in resort that they deserve – I could quite easily screw both of those things up if I half-ass this job.
My week revolves around transfer day (my day off comes a close second) where I am assigned a bus out of resort which means I will meet the driver and his coach, discuss what stops we need to make and then pick people up from various points around the resort. I then need to get these people to whatever airport they are flying from which is sometimes difficult, especially when you’re facing three-hour delays and its the day before Christmas eve (whoever said it’s the season to be jolly obviously never fucking worked in hospitality). I have to keep in contact with our transport team who instruct me on what is happening. Once these guests are safely checked in, I get ready to greet my incoming guests arriving at the same airport. We try our best in the airport to round people up ready to get them on coaches to resort but this often feels like you’re chasing unruly chickens – people leave all common sense (and patience) at home when they go on holiday. I’m then responsible for getting my coach load of people safely to resort. On the coach I give a speech (Yes, with the microphone and everything) and then I check that everyone has everything they need in respect of lift passes, equipment hire and lessons. This has seen me develop many new skills, particularly maintaining balance and neat handwriting when stood on a coach going round a hairpin bend – you should try it sometime. Transfer day isn’t over until everyone is in their chalets/hotels with lift passes, equipment hire and any lessons they might need all sorted.
My second most important day is chalet hosts well-deserved day off, Wednesday. This is important because I have to go around several chalets and put out a continental breakfast. Most of the time I’m lucky because my own hosts prep everything perfectly and it’s nice and easy. Other times you walk in to a puddle in the middle of the kitchen the size of a small lake, no food to be found anywhere, the croissants and pain au chocolats haven’t been taken out of the freezer for overnight proving and then you go and put the gluten free branflakes in with the normal ones so when the small child comes up and asks for his special cereal you’re basically up shits creek without a paddle. I try and do this as early as possible to get everything sorted and avoid human contact so early in the morning – sometimes this is unavoidable though and you end up gritting your teeth in a polite ‘get out of my fucking kitchen’ smile whilst a guest bends over the hob watching his artisan coffee brew. I then wait until around midday to go back and tidy after breakfast service.
Amongst all of this, we try to do daily visits to check the guests are happy and with everything they need. Sometimes my evening visits in my four chalets can last an hour, sometimes they can last three. Most guests so far have insisted I stay for a drink and a chat, which is lovely most of the time but not when you haven’t eaten or slept for about two days and your throat is red raw from seasonaire flu (see previous blog post). We also run apres events which are good fun but still require us to be responsible and checking that guests are happy and present. On a typical day though, I will wake up around 7.30, try to see all of my guests before 8.30, pop into the office, then be back home by around 10am. The day is then mine to snowboard, sleep, complain about how untidy my housemates are, or relax until the start of evening visits at around 6pm. That is unless we have welcome packs to sort out or guest feedback forms to submit.
Guest feedback forms. Now there’s something to talk about. If you don’t have a thick skin, or if you take yourself rather seriously, don’t be a rep. We file our own feedback forms which means we see exactly what guests say about us. Last week, 99% of mine were excellent, fantastic, good. Apart from one woman who apparently took a bit of a disliking to me. I was ‘unhelpful’ and ‘seemed preoccupied’ which was lovely and supportive feedback for me on my first week of my first ever season, cheers love, please do come again. It is disheartening, when you’re running around sweating your tits off, trying to make it to 4 chalets both morning and evening, getting them all booked in on lessons, answering questions, getting them booked in on apres events, getting them booked into restaurants, making sure your hosts are happy – is it any wonder she described me as preoccupied?
But, I am getting used to it. We are into our third week of guests and I can feel a routine starting to come on which is actually quite nice. The sleep deprivation and hunger are still real, as well as my situationship and seasonaire flu, but it’s all becoming part of this funny little life I’m going to lead for the next few months. There are many moments I laugh to myself (especially when traversing down an icy shortcut inbetween chalets holding a tin foil package of dauphinois potatoes) as well as many moments I could cry (hot tubs, lack of food, lack of family) but the positives and the amazing experiences by far outweigh the bad.