Have time, we' Travel

Maki Nibayashi

Maki Nibayashi speaks to Zhou Qing, branch manager of Number One Travel Ikebukuro, about the opportunities of working in a real global atmosphere.


Please tell us about your company.

We are the oldest (18 years) and largest travel agency catering to foreigners in Japan and handle everything related to travelóairlines, hotel reservations, car rentals, etc. With eight branches nationwide, Number One has about 90 employees in the Kanto area alone. No 1ís staff are leaders in their field and, having attained very specialized knowledge of the travel industry in Japan, many of our staff have moved on to open up their own agencies. Another advantage of Number One Travel is that we are affiliated with HIS Travel, Japanís largest discount travel agency, and use HISís extensive database to follow up customer requests.


Whatís your company philosophy?

Customers always come first, and we will do everything to match the lowest price. We have five Sís to offer: stability, safety, satisfaction, super inexpensive prices and speedy operations.


Whatís the difference between HIS and Number One?

First of all, the customers are different. We cater mostly to foreigners where HIS caters to Japanese clientele. Second, because we cater mostly to the foreign community, our prices are less expensive than HIS. Of course, it can be a case-by-case basis. But the main difference and the one that we are proud of most is that we can tend to our customers in their own language: English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Arabic, etc. Our strength also lies in that we can handle emergencies. Weíve found that many foreign residents often need to return to their home country in a week or sometimes the next day. We can accommodate these emergency trips.


So how does Number One keep on top of the competition? How do you offer these inexpensive tickets?

We are the largest discount travel agency in Japan, so we have good relationships with all the airlines and we can get good prices. Also, we sell a lot of tickets, so we can receive tickets in bulk from these airlines and offer them at affordable prices


What kind of people are you seeking to hire?
We are looking to hire service operators. Service operators deal with everything that a customer might need or request. Plane, hotel, or car rental reservations, answering inquiries about flights and prices, etc. One of the requirements is that they be under 28. The reason mainly is the salary. We put a bit of an emphasis on the age because if someone is 30, it is more likely that this person already has a family that he or she may need to support and a ďfirst yearĀEsalary might not be sufficient to get by. Also, Japanese and English proficiency is a mustóanother language would be a bonusówhile a knowledge of geography would be extremely helpful. A main requirement is that employees have a proper working visa, and visa sponsorship is only available to those who we believe have a strong future with Number One Travel.

Salary, hours and benefits?

Number One Travel is closed on Sundays and holidays and three other days during the month. Hours are from Monday to Friday 9:30am to 6:30pm and Saturdays 10am to 6pmóan early shift runs from 10am-4pm and a late shift from 12-6pm. We offer summer vacations and six days at the end of the year. We have two systems for our salary: one for Japanese and one for our foreign staff. The Japanese personnelís base salary is a bit lower, but we offer bonuses twice a year. For our foreign staff, the base salary is higher but no bonuses. For people with no experience, there is a three-month probation period where pay is by the hour. The first nine days we pay •750 per hour and for the rest •800 yen per hour. Staff will be required to take a proficiency test at the end of this three-month period.


Contact information:

Only selected candidates will be called back for an interview.

Send resume to Zhou Qing, Branch Manager, Number One Travel, 6F K&H Bldg, 3-30-4 Nishi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku 171-0021. Fax: 03-3986-9989.


Do you have a position to fill? Email


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