Only certain travel agents could be persuaded to sit in a paddling pool in February – Kayleigh Davidson is one of them.
The Thomson assistant retail manager was so keen to help choose her company’s new water slide tester – which included a stay at the Iberotel Makadi Suraya SplashWorld hotel in Hurghada, Egypt – she braved the cold on her day off outside her shop to create her winning photo entry.
Six months ago First Choice’s previous slide tester, known to staff as “Tommy” and featured as a caricature in its SplashWorld brochures, left the company, kickstarting the latest recruitment drive. “We used to joke about how Tommy had the best job in the world,” admits Kayleigh, who heard about a competition to become First Choice’s slide tester on the radio on her way into work.
Kayleigh, 24, adds: “When I got to work I found out you couldn’t apply if you worked for the company but I saw on our intranet there was a competition for two agents to be on the judging panel – that was the next best thing!”
Kayleigh immediately set to work with colleagues to create a winning photo to secure a place as a judge. “We bought a slide off eBay and got a pink swimming costume, plastic palm trees and a paddling pool. We put them outside the shop and I sat in it for a photo – it was February and absolutely freezing!”
The decision to brave the cold paid off and Kayleigh jetted to Egypt with her boyfriend to join the other judges, including one other agent.
After putting the five finalists through their paces with an unusual set of tasks – from getting undressed coming down a slide to composing a song to sing while sliding and writing a blog – the judges had to make the tough call on who would be the winner.
“We wanted someone to represent the brand as a whole who had a fun side too. They all could have done the job!” says Kayleigh.
After announcing the winner – Seb Smith, 22, from Somerset – Kayleigh and her boyfriend got to stay at the hotel and learn more about SplashWorld properties. “It really helps to sell the property if you’ve been there,” she says.
Entry to water parks close to SplashWorld properties are included in SplashWorld packages, and the hotels offer good-sized family rooms. “A lot of the rooms have sliding doors to create a separate sleeping area for the kids – and demand for them is high,” she says.
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