with Patricia Miner, TPI

Open Jaw

The independent life is just perfect for this Ottawa agent who doesn’t miss having to hand-write air tickets! 

Where were you born? In Toronto.  

What was your first job? My parents owned a coffee shop in Killaloe, in the Ottawa Valley – where we did everything! Then I worked for a while as a long distance operator for Bell. I have some great stories from those days!

How long have you been in the business? I’ve been with TPI over 11 years. I did a couple of years in a call centre with CWT, then had a five-year break. I wanted to come back to retail travel because I like it – and I like my independent business.    

Tell me about your first airplane ride. I went from Toronto to Vancouver when I was 22 or something. When you dressed up a bit. Unlike my children who have flown so much!  

How has the business changed since you got into it? Well...when I went to travel school I learned how to handwrite tickets (which of course was immediately discontinued). It’s definitely now all on line, so the days of clients knowing only what’s in the brochure are over for sure.

Do you have a specialty? Luxury hotels and cruises. I’m selling a lot of river cruises, mostly in Europe and the luxury lines such as Seabourn and Regent.   

If you could have any job in the business what would it be? I’m happy having my independent agency.  

What was your best fam? I just came back from a fam on the Regent Seven Seas Explorer from Acapulco to Los Angeles. My first time on that line. I was extremely impressed: I couldn’t see any room for improvement and I’m pretty picky! 

Who do you most admire in the industry? Kristin Karst from AmaWaterways. I admire the way she treats everyone so well and is so very involved with people. If I have any concerns I can go right to her. What a great role model for women in business.

What drives you crazy? Many things, mostly technology. 

What’s the first thing you do when you get into a hotel room? (laughs) I look in the bathroom.

Do you have a magic sentence to close the sale? I don’t think I do!  I think I say “Would you like me to go ahead and book that?”  

Do you have any time management strategies? I search for them! It’s something that’s an on-going struggle. There are often so many little emergencies you have to take care of.

What do you do to keep your clients loyal? I don’t know if I’m just fortunate…I get a lot of word of mouth referrals. I don’t contact them all that much but they know that I’m accessible and will take care of them.  

If you had to spend six months in a destination, which one would you pick?I believe it would be somewhere in Italy? Where? (laughs) I’m not too particular. Probably Tuscany.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? Travelling a bit. I know I wouldn’t be working behind a desk anywhere, that’s for sure!

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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