Biting Questions with Henry Wiseberg, Talk of the Town Travel, Toronto

Open Jaw

Where were you born?  Montreal –  in TMR (the Town of Mount Royal).

What was your 1st job?  In high school I worked as a cashier at Steinberg’s supermarket.

How long have you been in the business?  Since 1984 – 42 years! I had a scrapbook of newspaper clippings of places I wanted to go to. I walked into the office of Wally Crowter Travel here in Toronto and they’d just let someone go, and the only resume I had was the scrapbook but they still hired me. And I was manager of a new location within 3 months! Later I went out on my own and opened Talk of the Town Travel in 1976.

Tell me about your 1st airplane ride. To New York from Montreal on Victoria Day Weekend when I was in high school – using my Steinberg’s money! 

How has the business changed since you got into it? A 360° circle. Clients who left to book on the internet are now coming back, because they want and need service.  There’s absolutely too much on the internet.

Do you have a specialty? Several:  gay and lesbian, seniors and families. Plus weddings and wedding vow renewals.

If you could have any job in the business what would it be? You’ll laugh. When I retire I want to work at the volunteer meet and greet desk at Toronto airport. This business is in my blood.

What was your best FAM? With Aerolinas Argentina to Rio – it was a long time ago but the airline rep Eli was outstanding.

What drives you crazy? Indecisive people and those who aren’t motivated.

What was your biggest individual sale? A world cruise on Cunard for $67,000 per person. And yes, I did drink champagne that night!

Do you have a magic sentence to close the sale? “It’s all about you. It’s all about your dream, so let’s go for it.”

Do you have any time management strategies? No - I work 24/7. I feel I have to know what’s happening in the industry.

What do you do to keep your clients loyal?  We always send birthday and anniversary e-cards, and paper thank you’s and welcome home cards by mail. People still like to get that snail mail.

If you had to spend 6 months in a destination, which one would you pick?  Florida – it’s so diverse. It’s got theme parks, beaches, golfing on the Panhandle, Miami, the Keys… It’s got it all.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?  I would have loved to be a flight attendant, to start with and move up through the ranks.

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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