with Beth Gardner, Custom Travel, Calgary

Open Jaw

Where were you born? In Calgary.

What was your 1st job? As a file clerk for an oil and gas company; I was 16 at the time.

How long have you been in the business? Well over 30 years – I’ve had Custom Travel for just over 21 years.

Tell me about your 1st airplane ride. It was going up to Tuktoyaktuk. I was working for Dome Petroleum and was in the travel aviation department, so I’d work 2 weeks up there, a week in Calgary and have a week off. The air strip in Tuk was the minimum that the 737 could land on. Luckily I didn’t know that at the time!

How has the business changed since you got into it? It’s ever changing! The revenue streams are ever evolving. The 1st year I started my business was the year the airlines cut commissions. I was one of the 1st agencies in Canada to introduce service fees. The airlines hold a lot of power – sometimes too much!

Do you have a specialty? While we have some leisure business, Custom is 90% corporate including meetings and incentives. One of our divisions is Logistics which works with resource companies such as oil and gas or forestry to bring crews in to their job sites using a combination of transportation such as commercial flights, helicopters, buses and so on – seamlessly on one itinerary.

If you could have any job in the business what would it be? Right what I’m doing. I have such a great team!

What was your best FAM? I can honestly say I’ve never been on a FAM. I’ve been too busy building my business.

What drives you crazy? When I lose a client. It doesn’t happen very often but it drives me crazy when companies consolidate and I lose an account.

Do you have any time management strategies? It’s day by day knowing what you have to get done. I don’t leave the office until it’s done! What’s a typical work day for me? 10-12 hours.

If you had to spend 6 months in a destination, which one would you pick?  Australia. I’ve never been there but it’s definitely on my bucket list.

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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