Our consultants had the chance to meet and learn from BBC presenter, producer and podcast host, Zara Janjua, on a week-long cruise onboard NCL’s Norwegian Prima last month.
The award-winning broadcaster – also a talented comedian and actress – appeared in ITV drama ‘Karen Pirie’ recently, but she’s also a dab hand at social media and was named one of the Top 40 Digital Women in the UK in 2021.
Consultant James Oliphant, one of 200 delegates on the cruise, found her talk on social media particularly helpful.
“Zara’s tips were simple and straightforward but, wow, what an impact. When things seem complicated it’s always easy to get lost in it but she simplified it.”
Zara will be working with consultants at other events in the UK – watch this space and read our 60-second interview with her below:
Q. Why did you choose to work with us?
Not Just Travel and The Travel Franchise has a fantastic reputation within the industry. I’ve been expanding my experience within the travel sector and had never been on a cruise before so was very keen to embrace the challenge. Meeting the team, I felt the culture within the organisation strongly aligned with my own. I’m driven by new experiences and working with people, so this was the perfect opportunity to meet more than 200 delegates, visit Norway and experience a cruise. Also, I felt confident I could deliver a workshop that would be useful and put my own presenting skills to use.
Q. Some consultants present online and in person. What advice did you give them?
To be yourself – which is often hard to achieve. Often the toolkits I suggest to help achieve this involve confidence building, mindfulness and of course, practice. Have a learner’s mindset, be unafraid to make mistakes and just get on with it. You’ll learn to normalise the sound of your own voice and actually enjoy how you look on screen, then you can start playing around with the basics, experimenting and messing it all up. The most important thing is to have fun!
Q. How would you describe NCL’s Norwegian Prima?
Having never experienced a cruise before, I believe I have been spoiled by Prima. I was struck by the sheer size of the ship when I arrived at the port in Copenhagen. I immediately thought of the scene in Titanic when Rose looks up in wonder and admiration at the scale and beauty of it. But thankfully there were no sinking feelings – this trip was filled with surprises. From the opulent interior and surprising features like the VR experience and race track, to the art installations scattered throughout the ship. It was a treasure hunt like no other. Every day I was treated to spectacular food and wonderful service. The ship operates on a 2:1 guest to staff ratio and passengers certainly benefit from this. A morning in the spa was as memorable as an afternoon with a cocktail in the observation room, looking out at the sea and the occasional rainbow.
Q. What about social media tips?
Keep it simple – decide on the message of the video and use the rule of three to construct a message. Decide on three points you want to make and this will be easier to recall. Remember it’s a visual platform so you have to be somewhere interesting (which also means you can reference your background – way more engaging than a blank wall behind you). And remember to be somewhere quiet. You always have to think of sound in videos – even if you’re using captions, which I would recommend for accessibility. Just be a sound guy…like Tom Hanks!
Q. What do you think about the many agents who have switched careers late in life?
As someone who works from a portfolio career, I know how exciting and challenging it can be to change your life. I spoke to so many travel consultants who told me they switched careers to follow this passion, to find financial freedom and ultimately be happier. Every change comes with risk but the thing that stood out was how fearlessly so many of them have embraced it. That kind of resilience and confidence is so inspiring, not just for others in the industry but for so many who are disillusioned by the corporate world and the restrictions of employment.
Q. Do you use a travel consultant yourself?
I have used a travel consultant in the past and found them to be lifelines. I often travel for work but rarely take time to travel for holidays. Something I aim to rectify next year. Travel consultants help you discover untapped locations, they come with a breadth of knowledge and insights. The service aspect is something I’ve especially loved on holiday. When I was in Thailand a few years ago, I appreciated that every transfer and every guide had been taken care of. I could relax and enjoy the holiday without having to think and plan while I was away. It was blissful.
Q. Are you looking forward to visiting a specific destination in the next year?
There are so many places I’d love to see. My bucket list gets longer every year but Japan is somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit. I love the food, culture and traditions of Japan. I would love to visit the cities and spend some time in more remote, rural locations. I have even started learning Japanese and can sing the Japanese national anthem (and play it on the recorder). True story and a very geeky fact about me.