With Darlene McNally, Uniglobe Enterprise Travel, Newmarket, ON

Open Jaw

Here’s someone whose love affair with Jamaica led to a whole new career!

Where were you born? In Toronto.  

What was your first job? My first part-time job was at K-Mart, as a cashier.

How long have you been in the business? Since 2015, part-time. I also work full-time as a construction site coordinator. My eye for detail as site coordinator truly helps me in my travel world.

Tell me about your first airplane ride. With my boyfriend, to Jamaica when I was 18. I had just graduated high school and we went to Montego Bay. That’s when I fell in love with Jamaica. I’ve been back four times. 

Do you have a specialty? Jamaica, actually. I decided I wanted to be really good at one thing, so I took the Jamaica Specialist course. After asking around, I decided to specialize in one resort group, and chose Riu. I love their consistency and reliability. It works out fabulous. 

If you could have any job in the business what would it be? I would enjoy working in a resort and sending people on excursions.

What was your best fam? In 2016 I went on a 5-day mega-fam to Jamaica. It really gave me insight into many resorts. A lot of work, though!

Who do you most admire in the industry? The people in Customer Service at places like Sunwing and Air Canada who have to take the brunt of abuse from us and from the customers.

What drives you crazy? The customer who will give you a price range, date range, a destinations and when you supply it….they don’t book because they think there’s going to be a “better deal.”  

What’s the first thing you do when you get into a hotel room? I check out the bathroom, and then I check out the view!

Do you have a magic sentence to close the sale? “You’ve made a great choice – have a great holiday!”  

Do you have any time management strategies? I try to limit clients’ options to a maximum of five. And follow up with them to help them narrow it down.

What do you do to keep your clients loyal? About four months before their annual holiday I contact them to see if they are thinking about their next trip.

If you had to spend six months in a destination, which one would you pick? Negril, in Jamaica. It’s your cottage country of the Caribbean.  Laidback, relaxed, overlooking the cliffs at the blue ocean watching the dolphins go by.

How long will you be a travel advisor? ‘Til my 70s. This will be my retirement job!

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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