Christine Landolt has been a travel agent at Globetrotter Travel Service, the Swiss provider of individual tours, for 19 years. For her, it is not just a job, but her life because travel is her passion. In an interview, she explains what makes her profession so unique.
Exotic names such as Kathmandu and Goa first crept into the Swiss consciousness nearly 50 years ago when the first adventurers and solo travellers returned from these lands. One of these was Walter Kamm, who founded travel company Globetrotter in 1976. Globetrotter is now one of the leading providers of customised individual tours. The company’s success is due in part to its employees, for whom travel and adventure are a major passion. One of these employees is Bern-based travel agent Christine Landolt.
You have been at Globetrotter for 19 years. How does that feel?
It feels long, but good. I’ve never doubted that I have the right job. There was never any other choice for me. Before starting at Globetrotter I had seasonal jobs. But I already knew that I wanted a permanent position at Globetrotter. For me, this job is my calling.
And what exactly makes it your dream job?
There are many reasons why it is my dream job. One thing for sure is that every day brings something new. The people are different, the needs are different and so are the trips. The conversations are always bound up with positive emotions because our customers look forward to what they receive from us. In addition, I also really enjoy travel. Another important aspect is that we work nine months out of the year and have three months free for travel. That is a big bonus.
Where do you go when you have time off?
I’m interested in a lot of different things, but I have my favourite places. I try to travel to Myanmar regularly. It’s my favourite country. I also plan an extended trip once each year. I prefer travelling by bicycle – which takes a lot of time.
Christine Landolt in Malawi
Encounters in Malawi
Thunder Mountain Trail, US
Do you feel the travel bug when you’re in Switzerland?
Because of my work I feel the travel bug each and every day because I think about different destinations and travel on a daily basis. However, as we have so many opportunities to travel I never feel anxious and need to get away again. With 12 weeks of holiday for travelling each year, the next trip is never very far off.
Can you describe the feeling that your customers give you?
The feedback I hear from customers who return from their trip and have perhaps had the time of their lives – this is what motivates me to rise early every morning. Many of them book their honeymoons with us as well. I enjoy going to work and seeing what the day brings. We often get positive customer feedback not only when people come back from their trip, but also during the consultation and reservation process. It’s a really wonderful feeling to be able to help customers experience a trip exactly as they imagined it. Receiving feedback directly from customers is what makes this job so fulfilling.
What defines the Globetrotter culture for you?
The culture at Globetrotter is definitely very unique and it reflects my own disposition. In my personal life I prefer the informal approach. That’s how it is at Globetrotter as well, with employees addressing clients by their first names – provided they agree of course. This is an open attitude that matches my own personal outlook. Furthermore, the company has a flat hierarchy and open communication. When I have a problem, I can go directly to the CEO.
You’ve been at Globetrotter for 19 years. Have you thought about retirement and providing for the future?
Retirement and pensions seemed much further off than they do now. Each month I see on my salary statement that a relatively large amount goes to my retirement savings. Knowing that is reassuring. I’m not someone who worries about what is going to happen later on. I haven’t set much aside because I’ve been enjoying life, so I’m relying on the occupational provisions at Globetrotter.
Do you know what type of BVG solution it is?
I haven’t looked at all of the details, but we receive a statement each year and of course I look at it. I don’t actively ask questions or look for additional solutions. I simply have a look at the pension arranged by Globetrotter and assume that there will be enough money when I’m older. My standard of living and basic costs are relatively low.
Swiss Life’s purpose is “self-determination”. What does that mean to you?
To me, a self-determined life is precisely the one that I have the privilege to lead. That I was born in a country where I can choose for myself what I study, whether I continue my studies or do an apprenticeship. That even today I myself can determine whether I work a lot or just a bit, live alone or start a family. I can’t think of any life that would be more self-determined than the one I’m living.
Globetrotter Travel Service
At Swiss travel agency Globetrotter, the employees have turned their hobby into a career. They get three months’ holiday each year to learn more about the world. Globetrotter relies on a BVG solution from Swiss Life to ensure that its employees have optimal pension protection.
BVG at Swiss Life
Swiss Life offers a complete range of BVG products and services: from full insurance with a 100% guarantee to a variety of semi-autonomous solutions. Employers can choose which solution best fits their needs and ensure that their employees have a self-determined future. swisslife.ch/business