Biting Questions with Kathy Wilton, Vision Travel, Kelowna B.C.
Where were you born?
What was your first
job? In my middle teens I worked in
a country store in Aldergrove, BC.
How long have you
been in the business? Coming up on
30 years. I took a course in Kelowna and volunteered in
a travel agency and was very soon offered a job there. I’ve done it all with passion!
Tell me about your first
airplane ride. With Qantas, to Hawaii on a FAM. It was awesome!
How has the business
changed since you got into it? By leaps
and bounds - the technology grows and grows.
I remember old Reservec, with teletype style keys, reading the OAG and
writing out airplane tickets. I’m still old school in that I do take part in my
clients’ lives and they stay with me because of who I am.
Do you have a
specialty? I tend to sell a lot of
cruises and destination weddings.
If you could have any
job in the business what would it be? This one! I wouldn’t change it for anything!
What was your best FAM?
Costa Rica. We stayed in the jungle for a couple of days, visited the hot
springs and went ziplining – it was very cool. Also a Crystal Cruise FAM through the Panama
Canal. I can’t say enough about them.
What drives you
crazy? When I do a lot of work and the client says “Oh well I saw it on the
internet so I’ll book it there.” People don’t realize that travel agents are a
vital part of their holiday or business trip. And when they have an issue, who are they
going to call? The computer? Plus, we are here after your return.
What was your biggest
individual sale? I say, for example, that I can usually put a
complimentary hold on a cabin for this cruise and you can think about it for a
day or so before your deposit is due. If it’s a package, then I ensure I
say that all is based on availability, subject to change.
What’s the first
thing you do when you get into a hotel room? I judge it.
Do you have a magic
sentence to close the sale? I
actually do not. I feel out the
conversation – if for example it’s a cruise, I say, “How be if I give you a day
to think about it.” And I always say that everything is based on availability
and subject to change.
What’s the weirdest
question you’ve ever been asked? They wanted to know if the lowest category
cabin on the ship was under the water line!
Do you have any time
management strategies? Most of my clients are in Calgary, where I
lived or fifteen years, so my office hours are 8 am to 4 pm Calgary time. And I
always have a list!
How do you cope with
jetlag? I do not go to bed on
arrival – even if I’m dropping dead on my feet.
I wait til my regular bedtime.
What do you do to
keep your clients loyal? It’s your
service, your personality, the job you do and you must always be there for
them. And some of my clients have become my friends.
What’s the best piece
of advice you ever received? “Be
If you had to spend
six months in a destination, which one would you pick? The Caribbean – probably St. Lucia.
If you weren’t doing
this, what would you be doing? I
don’t have an answer to that because I can’t even picture doing anything else! I just love my job and am totally
passionate about it. I need the people
and the personalities!
If you’d or someone
you know who is a front line travel agent in Canada would like to be featured
in Up Front, please email firstname.lastname@example.org