Ian Elliott, Vice-President of Retail Sales and Business Development with TravelOnly

Open Jaw

Where were you born? In London, Ontario. I’ve always lived in Ontario except when I moved to Australia for a year.

How long have you been in the business? Coming up to three years. I was a part-time agent with TravelOnly for about two years when they approached me to work at head office in supplier relations and marketing.  

How many people work for you?  We are 15 in all at head office plus I have a small team. And we now have almost 625 travel advisors across Canada.

What’s the best part of the job? Honestly? Two things. The suppliers you build relationships with – people love this business! – and having the opportunity to go on amazing trips.   

What did you want to be as a kid? A doctor. I did become a physiotherapist - but I always wanted to travel the world.  

What was your first ever job? At a snack bar in a baseball diamond. Ugh. I absolutely hated it.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? Quitting my full-time job to start my own company in physiotherapy. 

Any guilty pleasures? Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. My partner and I are both stuck into the drama. It’s like a train wreck. Totally addictive!

What’s on your tablet? The Crown. Chrisley Knows Best, which is another reality show.

What do people not know about you? That I’m a physiotherapist by training and had a whole life before travel.

Any hobbies or interests?  I love running – I did a half-marathon last year. Fitness is really a hobby of mine.

What was the last thing you bought (apart from something to eat)? A bottle of red wine!

When are you happiest?  When I’m in the sun, on a beach.

What would you tell your 20-year-old self? “Follow your heart. Do what you want to do and not what others expect you to do.”

Who do you most admire in the industry? This might sound self-serving, but Patrick Luciani (founder of TravelOnly) – I so respect him and the way he treats other people. He cares so much about people. You can’t fake that.

What skill or talent do you admire in someone? Anyone who can add large numbers in their head.

What’s at the top of your bucket list? There are so many! But I’d have to say that Thailand and Cambodia are right up there.

Ever had a brush with fame? We met some of the stars of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills when we were in Beverly Hills. It was really neat!

What keeps you awake at night? Not much, actually. But I’m one of those green people and I worry about climate change and the environment.

How do you spend your frequent flyer points?Travelling to California, Florida – anywhere we can go!

How do you stay fit when you travel? I scope out the gym at the hotel, and I go running, which is interesting at the same time.

What is your greatest extravagance? We bought a Mercedes Benz GLE. I was never a car guy before but I’ll never give it up now!   

If you could sit next to anyone on a long-haul flight, who would it be? Oprah.

Do you have a favourite charity? Save the Children. 

If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be? Commission levels. Increase them!

What will be the biggest challenge for the industry in the next 12 months?  The weak Canadian dollar and safety around the world.

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years? Sitting on a beach, retired, with a mimosa in my hand!    

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