Biting Questions with Spencer Clarke, Maritime Travel, Sarnia

Open Jaw

Spencer Clarke

Where were you born? In London, England. I came here when I was 5.

What was your 1st job? I had a paper route here in Sarnia. I spent all my money at the arcade! Packman was definitely held in higher regard than any new bike.

How long have you been in the business? Almost 20 years, starting with an internship at Qantas in their vacations department here in Canada – that was awesome.

Tell me about your 1st airplane ride. It was our flight to Canada. Apparently I barfed bananas and milk all over my mum.

How has the business changed since you got into it? Everything is electronic – I remember handwriting tickets (conjunction tickets were the worst!) and we now have so much more information available. Research time has been cut in half.

Do you have a specialty? Australia and adventure travel in general. South America, the Cook Islands and Fiji are all very popular these days.

If you could have any job in the business what would it be? A product buyer. Or an adventure tour itinerary planner.

What was your best FAM? There were 2: Turkey with Imaginative Traveller and a self-directed FAM to Cayo Santa Maria in Cuba with my 4 year old who was in charge of site inspections of the kids’ club.

What drives you crazy? People – clients and suppliers – who don’t respond in a timely manner.

What was your biggest individual sale? $78,000, a big customized 5 star Africa trip.

What’s the 1st thing you do when you get into a hotel room? I read the hotel’s little info book.

Do you have a magic sentence to close the sale? “How would you like to pay for that?”

What’s the weirdest question you’ve ever been asked? “Is there a tunnel between Australia and New Zealand?”

Do you have any time management strategies? I go through all my e-mails 1st and always have a to-do folder on the go.

How do you cope with jetlag? I generally sleep on the plane, and stay awake to the local bed time. I’ve been to Australia 19 times!

What do you do to keep your clients loyal? Follow-up for sure and contact them throughout the year.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? “When you do anything, give it 100%.”

If you had to spend 6 months in a destination, which one would you pick? Nepal, because the people are incredible, the scenery is amazing. Great hiking.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? I’d probably be a chef – I love to cook!

If you or someone you know who is a front line travel agent in Canada would like to be featured in Up Front, please email

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