Zoë Allen of Flight Centre Weddings & Groups West End YVR
Zoë in Namibia
Where were you born? In Leicester, in England. We came to Nova Scotia when I was three, and I’ve been in BC for six years now. I find the west coast is a lot like the UK – perhaps because of the rain!
What was your first job? Delivering the Nova Scotia Daily Mail. I earned pennies!
How long have you been in the business? For 3 ½ years. Before that I was a server. I’ve always loved travel, all my life, and had applied several times to Flight Centre and the last time I applied I got the call!
What surprised me about coming into the industry? What clients are looking for: I had sort of imagined they’d all want to go to say, Mexico, but they ask for the remotest places in China you’ve never heard of. It’s opened the world to me more than I had imagined possible. The range of people you talk to is fantastic!
Tell me about your first airplane ride. I was under two, sitting on my Mum’s lap, on the way to Spain. Unfortunately, not too many memories!
How has the business changed since you got into it? There’s constant change. You have to be learning all the time.
Do you have a specialty? Destination Weddings and groups. Does it take a lot of patience? Let’s say you have to be a special kind of person (laughs).
If you could have any job in the business what would it be? I’d like to be a tour operator rep because they have such a diversity in their product range and you get to talk to agents every day – we’re cool to talk to!
What was your best fam? Last March I went with On the Go to South Africa and Namibia. The culture and scenery in Namibia was amazing -- I really recommend it and am now obsessed with Africa! I’m actually pushing honeymoons in Africa.
What drives you crazy? Unrealistic expectations. When the clients think we control everything from pricing to sked changes. As an agent you often have to be the bearer of bad news.
Do you have a magic sentence to close the sale? For weddings, I point out that it’s super cost-effective for the bride and groom. I must be doing something right - in the last month alone I had six weddings!
Do you have any time management strategies? Prioritizing. Take your top six of 30 things to do and do nothing until those six are done. And do the stuff you’re dreading first. Or as we say at Flight Centre, “Eat your frog first.”
What do you do to keep your clients loyal? We make sure everyone who travels with us knows we don’t do just destination weddings. And we offer a $100 referral fee which people love!
If you had to spend six months in a destination, which one would you pick? Southeast Asia. No specific destination but I’m absolutely dying to get there.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? Something else in travel, I’d hope! Maybe working for the airlines.
If you or someone you know who is a front-line travel agent in Canada would like to be featured in Biting Questions, please contact us.