Biting Questions with Jill Fost, Travel Agent - Travel Society Toronto
Where were you born? In Burlington, ON
What was your 1st job? At a Tim
Horton's in Burlington.
How long have you been in the business? Just over 10
years – I love to travel myself and my parents always took me on adventurous
trips, touring and staying in B&Bs. My 1st travel job was as an
agent at Cruise Holidays.
Tell me about your 1st airplane ride.
I don't remember my 1st flight, but the 1st I do
remember, when I was 6, was quite something. I was travelling home from Jamaica
with my grandmother, who happens to be deaf, and we had to make an emergency
landing in Kingston where they put us up in a seedy hotel. But it didn't put me
How has the business changed since you got into it?
The whole electronic thing was happening when I started, and obviously that's
really grown. But airline tickets have changed for sure, e-tickets are much
Do you have a specialty? I try to do specialty
trips, custom designed itineraries and yoga group retreats.
If you could have any job in the business what would it
be? I'd love to be a safari guide in Africa – I think that would be
the coolest thing.
What was your best FAM? Hands down, Antarctica.
What drives you crazy? When you do a lot of
work on a custom itinerary and the customer never gets back to you. Not even a
What was your biggest individual sale? $40,000
for a couple doing back to back tours around the world for 4 months.
What's the 1st thing you do when you get into
a hotel room? I check the comfort of the bed!
Do you have a magic sentence to close the sale?
I usually correspond by e-mail and send the client the trip details and a credit
card authorization form with a note saying I am looking forward to receiving
What's the weirdest question you've ever been asked?
“Can I do a 1 day trip to Antarctica?" (Laughs) And they were
serious. And they couldn't believe that I couldn't pull it off.
What do you do to keep your clients loyal? I
always try and grab them when I know they're thinking about their next trip –
around 6 months after their return.
What's the best piece of advice you ever received? “It's
not the destination, it's the journey you take to get you there."
If you had to spend 6 months in a destination, which one
would you pick? Lucca, Italy – time stops there. You can sit in a
piazza and drink coffee (or wine!) and your day is complete.
If you weren't doing this, what would you be doing? I'd
get back to my other passion – grooming million dollar dressage horses.
It pays peanuts and it's hard on your body. But the horses sure are beautiful!
If you, or someone you know, who is a front line travel
agent in Canada, would like to be featured in Up Front, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org