SAINT JOHN – Cloud5 Communications will hire as many as 80 new travel consultants in its Saint John location in the next six months, the company announced Wednesday.
Saint John is the company’s primary site for its travel consultants serving American Express Platinum Card Members in planning and booking travel and vacations. Angelo Tiveron, travel operations site director for Cloud5, says its travel consultants help people book entire vacations, including air travel, hotels and car and limousine services.
“They can be on the phone with someone for 25 minutes,” said Tiveron. “It’s not a typical transactional call where they’re on the phone for a few minutes and then onto the next call. Our travel consultants need to be engaging, able to have a conversation with people booking their trips.”
Last fall, the company announced increases to its hourly wages, benefits, and bonus incentives, including referral bonuses to help recruit new employees. The starting hourly rate increased from $16 to $18. Everyone who was already on staff at the time also received $2 increases to their hourly pay.
Tiveron says this puts the company in the “top end” for positions like this in the local area. He says it’s necessary to attract the kinds of people they’re looking for.
“We need people with the right skill set, people who have more life experience and the right attitude. We need someone who can hold a conversation and knows their geography.”
Tiveron says the company’s travel consultants find the work interesting and rewarding.
“They’re talking to people from all over the world, booking vacations at villas and places like Bora Bora. They’re exposed to more, sharing the experiences of the [American Express Card Holders].”
The travel consultants get to travel a bit too, says Tiveron. They go on a “familiarization trip” so they can have a direct understanding of the kinds of accommodations people are booking. “They live the experience of the card member,” said Tiveron.
The travel consultants also get discounts on personal travel so they do it more cheaply.
“Many of our travel consultants have used those perks to explore destinations around Canada and around the world that they had previously only dreamed of visiting.”
Saint John mayor Don Darling is helping the company make the pitch to prospective new employees.
“With the recent changes to their compensation plan, Cloud5 now offers one of the highest entry-level wages in the business service sector in Saint John,” said Darling in a release.
The Saint John centre, located in the city’s south end, currently employs 175 people. It will grow to more than 250 after the new round of hires is complete.