Janet Jordan, travel advisor with Vision Travel in Waterloo, Ontario.

Open Jaw

Where were you born?In Wales – it’s so beautiful!  I’ve been in Canada 50 years now. We got married in Wales and emigrated right away. I remember missing the mountains terribly.

What was your first job?A home economics teacher, back in Wales.

How long have you been in the business?22 years. I consider this a helping profession and I’ve been doing that all my working life from teaching to crisis counselling.  I’ve always loved helping people!  

Tell me about your first airplane ride. When I was about 16 I flew to Jersey in the Channel Islands with my friend and her family.  Looking back, it was a rickety old plane in those days!  

How has the business changed since you got into it?Tremendously! People are more confident about booking online and it’s not “cool” to need an agent. Some find it almost an insult to suggest they aren’t competent enough to book their trips on their own, though there is a huge reason for them to use a travel agent. But once they have insight as to what we can do for them, at no cost, it’s easy to convert them.

Do you have a specialty?Adventure tours, which I have designed and led, and now I am more into cruising, both ocean and river cruises.   

If you could have any job in the business what would it be? Be a hotel inspector. Because when you go on fams you get a bit of a taste of what that’s like and I think it would be so interesting to get into that side. I’d love that.

What was your best fam? Tunisia!  It was amazing, it really was. And it paid off:  I took a group there the following year. 

Who do you most admire in the industry? Peter Vanderheyden (Vice-President of Customer Experience at Vision Travel and former owner of 12 Goliger’s locations in southwest Ontario).  He created an organization which has the feel of a family about it.

What drives you crazy?When somebody doesn’t get back to me! It really, really bothers me.    

What’s the first thing you do when you get into a hotel room? Let me see…Look around and decide if it’s acceptable! 

Do you have a magic sentence to close the sale? “I’m here for you. I’m always at the end of the phone.”

Do you have any time management strategies? Sadly no. I’m a workaholic, 24/7.

What do you do to keep your clients loyal?I keep in contact, forwarding emails that would interest them, or little stories. And circulate specials and sales that are targeted to specific clients.

If you had to spend six months in a destination, which one would you pick? Wales. (laughs) Yes, still. I try to go back every year. But my second choice would be Tunisia.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? Training others how to do it. I love training and have always been in a helping profession. I’m there for the client, not for the sale.

If you or someone you know is a front-line travel agent in Canada and would like to be featured in Biting Questions, please contact us.

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