Biting Questions With Krista Bates, The Travel Agent Next Door
Where were you born? In Thunder Bay.
What was your 1st job? Working at the Keg Restaurant here in Thunder Bay, in charge of the salad bar.
How long have you been in the business? Since 2000 – my 1st job being Sell Off Vacations here. I decided to go home-based 2 years ago and now that we have a daughter (5 month old Madeleine) it just so worked. I like the flexibility of not being in an office all day even though making the change was a true leap of faith! I love what I do.
Tell me about your 1st airplane ride. My grandparents had a vacation property in Florida and we used to go there for a month at time when I was very small
How has the business changed since you got into it? Everything is a lot more automated, and with automation comes people booking on the internet and becoming more self sufficient – until they have an issue! Then they head back to the travel agent.
Do you have a specialty? I do a lot of wedding groups. It’s the majority of the business. My largest group? 70 passengers.
If you could have any job in the business what would it be? I don’t think I’d like any other job. I like the constant change, the selling. I’m not all about managing people - I’m my own manager and that’s just fine! I love the direct relationship with my clients.
What was your best FAM? On a Jamaica Tourist Board/Sunquest FAM a few years back where we got to see all sides of the island, It was a great group of agents too.
What drives you crazy? Clients who think they know more than you!
What was your biggest individual sale? A 70 day round the world Holland America booking – close to $30,000.
What’s the 1st thing you do when you get into a hotel room? Usually check out the bathroom.
Do you have any time management strategies? Not right now with my daughter! Keeping my desk organized is my biggest thing.
What do you do to keep your clients loyal? Keep in contact. In the past couple of years social media has become huge. I’m finding the older generation are quite internet savvy and having my name out there, especially on Facebook, works. TAND has some great marketing tools too.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? “Be true to yourself.”
If you had to spend 6 months in a destination, which one would you pick? I haven’t been to the Maldives yet but I think that’s where I’d like to go – especially if I could be completely detached from the rest of the world!
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? I’d probably be in public health. I really enjoy assisting people.
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