Biting Questions with Kelly Neonakis-Morash of Travel Bug by TravelOnly (and Sunshine Vows by TravelOnly) Dartmouth
Where were you born? In Cape Breton.
What was your 1st job? Working at
Woolco in the menswear department. It was fun – I loved dealing with the people
and learned that I loved working with the public.
How long have you been in the business? 6
years. Before that I worked 20 years in international logistics, working for
Clearwater, shipping lobster all over the world.
Tell me about your 1st airplane ride. I
was terrified! (
laughs) It was from Halifax to Michigan via Toronto with
my mom and uncle, going to a wedding. I pretty much prayed the whole flight.
I’m still not 100% happy flying.
How has the business changed since you got into it?
For me – I’m getting more and more people who understand the value of a travel
agent because they’ve not gotten the support from an OTA. And they are so busy
because they don’t have the time to do the research. And for those who love to
do the research, have us do the booking.
Do you have a specialty? Yes, weddings and leisure
groups. My husband’s also looking to build an incentive travel business.
Is the Bridezilla thing true? Yes it is. And the
Groomzilla too. I had one of those.
If you could have any job in the business what would it
I’d like to lead tours in Italy, Greece or Cuba. Yes, I’d like that.
What was your best FAM? Hard Rock in the
Riviera Maya. I was just blown away with the reception, and I came back very
enthused about selling the product. And they did build in some free time which
was great – some FAMs are exhausting.
What drives you crazy? (laughs long and loud) How
much time do you have? The people who want the 5 star property in peak season
but refuse to pay more than $1,200. People have unrealistic expectations,
particularly when it comes to travelling in peak periods. It’s an education
What was your biggest individual sale? $12,000 for a
family to Disney in Orlando.
What’s the 1st thing you do when you get into
a hotel room?
I check the view and then the washroom.
What’s the weirdest question you’ve ever been asked? “Will
I have to remove my leg when I go through customs?” I had no idea he had a
Do you have any time management strategies? I get up
at 6:30 in the morning and do much of my paperwork before 10. Then once the
tour operators open up in Toronto I start contacting people. I work ‘til about
8 in the evening, because I have a lot of clients out west.
What do you do to keep your clients loyal? We
give them all future travel gift certificates; I send Christmas cards and tree
ornaments; little reminders throughout the year; perhaps a postcard or birthday
card. We’ll give gift certificates on their birthday to a local Italian
restaurant with a card suggesting they might like Italy for their next
holiday. When we have an event we tell our clients bring 2 people and
we’ll give you a gift certificate to a restaurant, Tims, whatever. And we keep
a spreadsheet with all their wish list destinations.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? “Put
yourself in that consumer’s shoes.” You must train yourself to be patient.
If you had to spend 6 months in a destination, which one
would you pick?
Italy. We recently bought a house there. Or Greece, I have
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? I’d
be doing event planning. I love doing our own wedding shows.
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