Name: Ellie Caulton
From: Burton On Trent, UK
UK Job: Entertainment Team Leader, TUI FAMILY LIFE Baia di Conte, Sardinia
When I was little, my family and I would go on Thomson holidays almost every year. I’m an only child, so my parents thought it was important to take me to resorts where there were loads of kids, entertainers and activities going on, and I loved it. I’d be obsessed with the Entertainment Team, following them around the resort and taking part in every single activity. I probably spent more time with the entertainers than with my own family!
When I was 21, I finished my dance degree and started looking for jobs in the entertainment industry. I hadn’t thought about working in a holiday resort until then, but when I saw the job of a TUI FAMILY LIFE Entertainer advertised, I knew it was the one for me.
I applied for the role online and was invited to an assessment day. I had to prepare a performance in advance, which was a dance routine, and do some group tasks to see how well I interacted with people. A couple of days later, I got offered the job and was off to my first resort – the TUI FAMILY LIFE Blue Lagoon Villages in Kos – within three weeks.
Funnily enough, when I first arrived at the resort, my new manager came to collect me from the airport and I immediately thought he seemed familiar. Then, when we started chatting, I realised he’d been my favourite Entertainer from a holiday we’d had when I was seven. I’d even had a photo taken with him that my parents sent over to me – they thought it was hilarious.
I’m such a homebody, I didn’t even move away from home for university like most people do. So living abroad was a worry for me, but once I was out there, I loved it so much. These days, there’s Skype and FaceTime to keep in touch with everyone in the UK, and the season flies by when you’re enjoying it so much. It sounds clichéd, but it’s true.
When I first started working as a TUI FAMILY LIFE Entertainer, I thought I’d only do one season and that would be it. But, I enjoyed it so much I went back for my second season to Majorca, and now I’m here in Sardinia, and I’ve been promoted to Entertainment Team Leader. I’m really lucky to have built a career out of doing something I love.
It’s all about being a people person and interacting with guests. Your job is to help everyone have the best holiday, after all. You have to love being around people all day, entertaining them and keeping them happy – that’s the most important thing. Being able to sing and dance helps for the evening shows, but it’s not essential to the role. And, hosting is a big part of the job, but that’s something you can learn in resort and improve with experience.
Every day is different, which is what’s great about the job, but we do have set activities throughout the day.
Our first activity is usually a character walk, where I’ll take Bamse or Captain T around the resort and entertain the kids. Then, we’ll do family activities in and out of the pool, like aqua golf, table tennis, skittles, and even parades around the hotel that end up in a big dance-off on stage. It’s not just kids, parents get involved too – I think they secretly love it.
I’ll usually have a bit of downtime mid-afternoon and relax on the beach or catch up with the rest of the team – when you spend so much time together, you become like a family. Then after my break, I’ll start preparing for the evening show. We might have to rehearse new dances, songs or skits, and we perform or host the show from 7pm onwards.
The entertainment at TUI FAMILY LIFE caters to all ages. So, we start with a show for three-to-five year olds, then move on to entertainment for the older kids, then we have a section for the whole family. I also help to host the show and introduce the different acts.
The guests. You get to know some of them really well, especially if they’re on holiday for a fortnight. Sometimes they’ll even find out which resort you’re working at and book their next holiday there. It’s amazing to know that you’ve had such a positive impact on people’s holidays and helped them to make memories they’ll treasure forever.
I always look forward to the evening shows, as my background is in dance and performance, so I love the chance to get up on stage. All of the activities throughout the day are fun though – there aren’t many jobs where you get to play around and entertain everyone all day.
It’s also a really great way to travel and see the world. I’ve stayed in some incredible resorts and amazing hotels. Usually when you first arrive in resort, you’ll get a full tour and do some excursions, as you have to know the area well enough to help advise guests on their holiday plans. This time around, I’ve been lucky enough to go dolphin spotting on a boat tour in Sardinia and to Neptune's Grotto, too.
No, not anymore. And, it’s not so much nerves but adrenaline really. When I first started I was petrified, especially when it came to the hosting, as I hasn’t done it before. But, you learn from experience and get better. You need nerves to perform, as nerves mean you care so you’ll give your best performance. The only tip I can give to overcome the fear is to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel.
It’s not often, but occasionally there will be times when things don’t go to plan. But you learn to deal with it and to always have a backup plan – the show must go on, after all. I once had an incident where the audio and lighting wasn’t working for a full 45 minutes, and I was hosting the show with everyone staring at me. But, I managed to carry on and actually ran the dance-off segment without any music. I think people respect you more if you can carry the whole audience and keep the entertainment going even when things go wrong.
Probably the preparation that goes into all the shows and activities – it isn’t just turning up and going on stage. You have to be familiar with a lot of other jobs in resort so you can help with any customer requests, whether it’s giving them advice on excursions, guiding them around the hotel, or helping with any problems.
Not many people know that you can work as an Entertainer in winter, too. TUI run trips to Lapland in December, and if you’re part of the Entertainment Team there, you’ll get to live in Santa’s Grotto for the month. Not many people can say they’ve ticked that off the list.
Peak season, definitely. You get all the holiday excitement when it’s busy, and more people participating and joining in. There’s a really good atmosphere and it gives you that adrenaline. Low season is also great though, as you get to know the individual guests more when there are less people around. It’s nice to get the balance of the two.
We’re staying in Alghero which is about 20 minutes away from the hotel, and it’s a beautiful old town with cobbled streets. It’s lovely waking up there every day and getting to spend time in both the hotel resort and in the town among the locals. At the hotel, there’s also a private beach and the water is so clear and enticing. I love the food as well – I’ve been eating pizza almost every day.
Meeting so many different Entertainers and guests is not only fun but also great for your career and making contacts around the business. Working for a huge company is beneficial, as everyone knows TUI – it’s such a big brand. You get a really high standard of training and lots of progression opportunities.
Fancy seeing what being a TUI FAMILY LIFE Entertainer is all about?
Keep an eye on the Discover homepage, as we’ll be giving you the lowdown on some more amazing travel jobs around the world.
Author: Selina Akhtar
The TUI BLUE Baia di Conte takes inspiration from Sardinia’s sense of family, and it’s sandwiched between a private beach and a national park.
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