was your first job?
I was a tour guide and elevator operator at
the CN Tower when it first opened. I was….17? Obviously I have no fear of
long have you been in the business?
About 17 years. Between the CN Tower and this,
I worked from admin assistant up to accounts manager in the telecommunications
the switch to travel?
I had younger children and an
elderly mother and I realized I couldn’t do it any more, not the commute and 14
hour days. I saw an ad for a company
looking for home based agents, went to a meeting and decided then that I wanted
to get into the destination wedding business. My husband said I was absolutely
it worked out?
Yes – 85-90% of my business is destination weddings. I’ve probably
arranged some 300 of them – now I’m comfortable doing about 15 a year. My
largest group to date was 102.
can be quite stressful – even for you! Have you had any particularly difficult
ones that come to mind?
The worst was a group,
mainly from Alberta, who were supposed to go to Mexico. But the H1N1 swine flu intervened, shutting
all the resorts down just three weeks before the wedding. I managed to relocate
them all to Jamaica. The hotel wasn’t able to accommodate the wedding on “the
day” so I had to organize an off-site wedding as well. It was all pretty
you have favourite destinations you work with?
For the last seven years I have focused on
Jamaica. I’ve found that with, for
example, dealing with local paperwork it’s so much easier than the
Spanish-speaking countries, plus I love the people. I’m actually the number one seller of Jamaica
in Canada, and number 4 in all of North America.
often do you go to Jamaica?
Typically at least six
times a year.
has the destination wedding business changed since you got into it?
A lot! It used to be that the hotel groups departments handled the
weddings – wedding co-ordinators didn’t exist! Now there are wedding
departments with many coordinators. Back in the day, it was so simple: a
bouquet, a boutonniere, a casual ceremony on the beach. Now the brides are bringing their own table
decorations – even their own flowers! And way more lavish, with much larger
you could have any job in the business what would it be?
I’d love to be a Jamaica Tourist Board Rep. Or a BDM for Couples or
Jewel Resorts. But then as my husband says, I do like being my own boss!
was your best fam?
Honestly? St. Lucia a few years ago. I was new to the
industry and it really impressed me.
do you most admire in the industry?
Klint. She was my mentor. Just awesome.
drives you crazy?
Ones who boss me around. I’ve learned that the best way to get around it is to
tell the bride’s mother that you are the same generation as her and they’ll
treat you as an equal.
you have any time management strategies?
really. I’m a multi-tasker and do rely
on a written to do list in a notepad.
do you do to get referral business?
I do a
good job. I don’t do email blasts. My business is mainly word of mouth, but I
belong to a lot of forums and groups on Facebook and get business from that.
you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
Travelling (laughs). I’m dying to travel throughout
Canada. I’d love to be a gypsy and just
If you or someone you know is a front-line travel agent in Canada would like to be featured in Biting Questions, please contact us.