with Joann McMillan

Open Jaw

Joann McMillan

Travel Specialist-The Travel Agent Next Door, Sherwood Park, Alberta

Where were you born? In Wetaskiwin, Alberta.  

What was your first job? I was an A&W car hop! I wore “hot pants” – a short short dress with the shorts underneath. Eons ago!

How long have you been in the business? Not really a long time. I was a stay at home mum and when my son got to high school I studied travel at Grant MacEwan Community College. I worked at Expedia for three years and have been with TAND a year now.

Tell me about your first airplane ride. To Vancouver with my husband – my fiancé at the time.  I remember the metal in my shoes setting off the metal detectors.  But it all worked out - he proposed on that trip!

How has the business changed since you got into it? It’s been challenging for sure, I see a lot of people booking online and coming to you when there is a problem! But I love the industry because of the constant change.

Do you have a specialty? Ocean and river cruising, group travel and escorted tours.

If you could have any job in the business what would it be? I’m happy doing what I’m doing. I should have been doing this years ago!

What was your best fam? My Jamaica fam was so much fun! I met a lot of agents and we still keep in touch.

Who do you most admire in the industry?  Dana Gain from NCL. So elegant and professional but also personable and a great role model.

What drives you crazy? When I’ve started the research and approached the client for the service fee and they decide to book it themselves.  

What’s the first thing you do when you get into a hotel room? Take pictures!

Do you have a magic sentence to close the sale? I let them know that if they have any questions they can call me or email me. I try to treat them as if they were a friend who came to me.  

What do you do to keep your clients loyal?  Touch base all the time, Christmas and birthday cards or a phone call.

What booking did you really love working on?  I did an Alaska group cruise for 12 and was able to coordinate their flights, hotels, and special requirements.  Escorting the group, meeting with them each day. That was fun!

If you had to spend six months in a destination, which one would you pick?  Something with a beach, warm weather. I’d live in a hut!

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.

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