With Michael Sette, Sears Travel, Thornhill, Ont.

Open Jaw

Where were you born? In Toronto.

What was your first job? In the restaurant of a Zellers store, preparing food, washing dishes, that kind of stuff – when I was in high school.

How long have you been in the business? Since 2004, when I started as a travel agent right here in this office! Apart from an 8 month mat-leave placement at another Sears agency, I’ve been here ever since.

Tell me about your first airplane ride. To Florida…family vacation when I was little.

How has the business changed since you got into it? It changes every year… but you no longer get line-ups out the door the way we used to! A lot of my job is focused on marketing to drive the business in the local community. You can’t just sit at your desk any more.

Do you have a specialty? I sell a wide variety of products but I prefer Europe and FIT most. Really enjoy that.

If you could have any job in the business what would it be? I like the marketing role and coming up with different ideas. But I also like dealing face-to-face with the clients, especially our repeat clients – we get a lot of those.

What was your best FAM? A Carnival Cruise one to the Western Caribbean. It was my first cruise and a great introduction to the destinations plus lots of hotels.

What drives you crazy? Not having enough time in the day!

What’s the first thing you do when you get into a hotel room? I unpack because I can’t live out of my suitcase.

Do you have a magic sentence to close the sale? There are so many promotions with deadlines people know they’ve got to act now. So it’s time-driven anyway.

Do you have any time management strategies? Over the years I’ve learned to stick to the daily schedule. I start each day with emails and calls. I don’t even keep a to-do list anymore!

What do you do to keep your clients loyal? We touch base with them throughout the year, so we send Christmas cards, birthday cards, send certain products we know are of interest to them. The best thing is knowing what they want before they ask.

If you had to spend six months in a destination, which one would you pick? Italy, because it’s one of my favourite destinations. It’s my family background and I could go back again and again.

What was your largest individual sale? I had two couples booked on a 14 day river cruise that was close to $70,000. I also had a client on a 90 day Holland America around the world cruise for about $40,000. You don’t get a lot of those big sales, but they’re nice when they come in!

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? Something travel related…perhaps in destination? To experience other destinations would be nice!

If you or someone you know is a front line travel agent in Canada and would like to be featured in Biting Questions, please email martha@openjaw.com





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