Hymie Lebowitz, YYZ Travel, Toronto

Open Jaw

Where were you born? Toronto.  

What was your first job? I was a counsellor at Camp Eitan, a day camp, and worked for my dad at his clothing store in downtown.  

How long have you been in the business? 35 years? 36 years? I loved the industry so much even as a teen that I volunteered to work at an agency, stamping brochures, answering the phones. I eventually opened up Tayar Travel, which I operated for over 24 years.

Tell me about your first airplane ride. To Israel, when I was five. I actually also went to Miami, on my own, when I was 12. They put me in charge of another kid who was on the flight who was 8-years-old! Hilarious!

How has the business changed since you got into it? It’s not the same business! Clients seem to “know more” and not always trust us. But yesterday I did have a client with an issue and he complimented me on my calmness.

Do you have a specialty? I think there’s no such thing. There are things that you know more about – in my case I really know the Caribbean and Israel. But I don’t think you can specialize these days.

If you could have any job in the business what would it be? I’d love to be a BDM.

What was your best fam? That’s a tough one, because I’m lucky to have been exposed to so many different types of educational experiences.

Who do you most admire in the industry? People like Brent Carnegie, Dan Prior, Todd Kirlik, Denise Graham. What a doll! A doll! These people are incredible. 

What drives you crazy? People who don’t get back to you.    

What’s the first thing you do when you get into a hotel room? I check the bathroom for cleanliness.

Do you have a magic sentence to close the sale? “It’s going to be amazing!”

Do you have any time management strategies? I try…but there are different pressures at different times.

What do you do to keep your clients loyal? I stay in touch with them. 

If you had to spend six months in a destination, which one would you pick? Wow. If money’s no object? Switzerland. Or Aruba.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? Trying to share the knowledge of the experiences I’ve had, as a teacher or facilitator.

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

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