Biting Questions with Paula Ellis Hunt, Ixtapa Travel Winnipeg

Open Jaw

Paula Ellis

Where were you born? In Ipswich, England. We came here in 1970 when I was a toddler.

What was your 1st job? Working at McDonalds. I no longer go there since I saw the documentary Supersize Me!

How long have you been in the business? Since 1990 – almost 25 years!

How has the business changed since you got into it? In so many ways. We've had to re-invent ourselves since consumers now do their own research and a lot of what we used to book such as mass market travel they're now booking online. Agents have to find a niche and become good at that.

Do you have a specialty? Destination weddings and luxury travel – I love doing those and have the experience to do them well.

If you could have any job in the business what would it be? My dream is to retire so I can travel more! But I think as far as this industry goes this is the perfect job because you can pick and choose what you do.

What was your best FAM? To the Cook Islands. Amazing, So beautiful and so far removed from everything. And so much fun.

What drives you crazy? Unrealistic expectations. The more people know the more they expect. When you pay $500 for a 5 star all inclusive and complain that the service was a little slow in a restaurant? Drives me a bit batty.

What was your biggest individual sale? A trip to Africa and Europe, about 6 weeks in all, for a retirement trip. About $40,000.

What's the 1st thing you do when you get into a hotel room? Jump on the bed! (Laughs)

Do you have a magic sentence to close the sale? “Shall we go ahead and confirm that?"

What's the weirdest question you've ever been asked? There have been so many but… one lady had to know how much spinach would be available at the resort in Mexico. I felt a bit silly asking but I found out!

Do you have any time management strategies? I'm a list person. I always have a list of what has to be done on each file, both online and on paper.

What do you do to keep your clients loyal? It all comes down to good service. I care about them and they can sense that.

What's the best piece of advice you ever received? “Don't judge someone else by your own wallet."

If you had to spend 6 months in a destination, which one would you pick? That's tough. Either the Amalfi Coast or New Zealand.

If you, or someone you know, who is a front line travel agent in Canada would like to be featured in Biting Questions, please e-mail

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