Strangest Jobs in the Travel Industry
Courtesy of Loews Coronado Bay Resort & Spa
Airport hunters, traipsing through sewers, or clamping down
on sandwich-eaters. It’s all in a day’s work for our favorite odd jobs in
someone keep the birds away?
At least, that’s
probably what the passengers of the infamous US Airways flight 1549—which was
forced to land on New York’s Hudson River in 2009—are thinking. After all, it
was apparently geese getting sucked into one or both of the plane’s engines
that caused the plane to go down (with, thankfully, no fatalities).
known for a long time that birds can pose problems to airplane engines, and
have come up with different ways of combating the issue. Amsterdam’s Schiphol
Airport, for example, has a robotic hawk to scare birds away. But if you’d like
to get a job keeping the birds at bay, inquire at Zürich Airport, which employs
three hunters to shoot the potentially damaging creatures.
And airport hunters
are just one of the strangest jobs in the travel industry. When we searched the
globe for the most offbeat tasks, we came up with some surprising professions.
In fact, many
offbeat travel-industry jobs involve keeping Mother Nature at bay. In India,
“monkey men” at a plush resort spend their days chasing primates prone to
stealing guests’ cookies. “We are convinced that the monkeys have ‘tea parties’
on the other side of the resort’s stone wall,” says Rishi Kapoor, an executive
with luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent, which partners with the
everyone is just chasing critters behind the scenes—and for some people, what
started as utilitarian jobs somehow turned into entertainment or guest perks.
In St. Thomas, an engineer who helps protect guests from falling coconuts has
become an essential part of happy hour.
It’s not always
about creating a spectacle though: sometimes it’s about the service. In the
past few years, other hotels have created quirky positions to enhance the guest
experience—say, a “tanning butler” who applies sunscreen to pool-goers, “bath
sommeliers” who fill your tub, or “bibliotherapists” who choose your reading
material. “Anything that hotels or resorts can do to differentiate themselves,
to create a ‘wow factor,’ is essential in today’s very competitive market,”
says John Clifford, a travel agent and president of San Diego-based
International Travel Management. —Katrina Brown Hunt