What was your first job? I had a delivery route for the Oshawa Times Gazette when I was eight. I don’t remember what I earned, but I do remember buying a hassock for my dad to put his feet up on when he came home for work, on the “layaway plan.” I had to pay the furniture store 25¢ a week.
How long have you been in the business? 46 years. I started at Hanover Travel as a customs broker as the agency was a brokerage at the time.
Tell me about your first airplane ride. In 1966 I was in a horrible car accident and broke my back. After a couple of operations, I flew to Miami with my sister to convalesce, staying with our great aunt.
How has the business changed since you got into it? I think for the better, primarily through technology, and especially for the consumer as far as consumer protection goes. Also the professionalism. We needed integrity back then. The improved education aspect has been wonderful.
Do you have a specialty? FIT. Love it! I sell the UK and Europe with my eyes closed. Right now I’m working on a file for an Irish fly-drive. It’s a bit tricky as they don’t want to driver more than 30 miles a day! I also enjoy selling Canada and the South Pacific.
If you could have any job in the business what would it be? Right where I’m sitting. I love the contact of one-on-one. I wouldn’t want to be a tour director and babysit people, and I’d be a poor BDM because I can’t public speak.
What was your best fam? I’d go back to Greece in a heartbeat. That was seven years ago. I had no idea how rugged and big that country is.
What drives you crazy? Sked changes. But I’m a good fixer and usually can cover it before the client knows! And I hate working Saturdays.
What’s the first thing you do when you get into a hotel room? (laughs) I check for towels and cleanliness.
Do you have a magic sentence to close the sale? I’m always polite with people…what would I say to close the sale? I actually don’t sell. I’m not an order taker, I’m a counsellor, so I leave it with people for consideration.
Do you have any time management strategies? I do. I’m old-fashioned and keep a daytimer and use it religiously. I also pace myself. I always take my hour for lunch and leave the office, unless there’s a crisis that needs fixing.
What do you do to keep your clients loyal? I give them absolutely the best service I can on every occasion. I’m polite and, luckily, I can remember what I’ve done for them in the past.
If you had to spend six months in a destination, which one would you pick? North Wales. Without hesitation. I was born on the wrong side of the Atlantic for sure!
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? I’d have no trouble keeping busy in the summer, since at home I have an acre of grass to mow and a huge veggie garden. But during the winter? I have no hobbies so I’d be flapping in the wind and mumbling to myself. Where I am now, I just look forward to every day!
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.