Biting Questions with Rob Takimoto, Expedia CruiseShipCenters, Mississauga

Open Jaw

Where were you born? In Toronto.

What was your 1st job? I was a salesperson at Tip Top Tailors at Scarborough Town Centre.

How long have you been in the business? I bought this agency 4½ years ago – before that I was in human resources for several big box companies such as Ikea and Loews.

How has the business changed since you got into it? I’d say the consumer is definitely more knowledgeable about travel because there’s so much information, but at the same time people need consultants because there is too much information!

Do you have a specialty? 2/3 of our business is cruise – we deal with all aspects of the cruise business.

If you could have any job in the business what would it be? I’d love to design ships.

What was your best FAM? I’d have to say the one I did in Alaska on Holland America. I was so surprised about the land portion – it wasn’t even near the top of my list but now I understand why people love Alaska and go back time and again.

What drives you crazy? I wish customers who have decided not to travel would just tell us. Even if they’ve gone with another agency. Just let us know so we can close the file!

What’s the 1st thing you do when you get into a stateroom? Take pictures before it’s messy so I can share them with the other consultants.

Do you have a magic sentence to close the sale? “Can we put a deposit down on a cruise today for you?” I really believe in good questions to find out why the consumer wants to travel. That can make the selling part really easy. It’s more about magic questions than magic sentences I think.

Do you have any time management strategies?  I’m a big list person, and believe in a good client management system with clients’ birthdays, welcome home calls and other little things.

What do you do to keep your clients loyal? A couple of things. The little touches that have gone by the wayside like a handwritten thank you card or sending them an article on Bora Bora because they once mentioned it was on their bucket list.

If you had to spend 6 months in a destination, which one would you pick? Hmmm. There are so many places! Probably Spain, because there’s so much variety – history, beaches, vineyards, cities. 

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? Just cruising!

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





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