It’s hard to believe that I’ve been with the Globus family of brands for 35 years – how time flies! And how times have changed in our industry!
Globus and Cosmos, as it was back then, was already well established, but the Toronto office near Eglinton and Dufferin was quite small, with less than 10 employees (and yes there was smoking in office). Our boss was a great guy called Ed Rogers, who opened up the Canadian office in 1975. The product was mainly Europe, but we had Exotics to Asia and the South Pacific even then. I’ve always loved the family atmosphere, which we still maintain today, and the high level of service we strive to provide to our valued travel agents. I am fortunate to have worked with Ed Rogers and now with Stephanie Bishop and a great team.
My first job was as a res agent, and 1980 was crazy busy because it was an Oberammergau Passion Play year (they take place only every 10 years.)
All bookings were made by phone, and we wrote down the details on large envelopes, one envelope per booking. We all multi-tasked and one of my additional responsibilities was taking care of the allotments – again, all done on paper with pencil, crossing off available seats as the bookings came in.
I was also responsible for sending the telexes requesting additional tour space, extra nights and other communication to head office at the end of the working day. That machine was a nightmare – you had to type the message in before you were “online” with Europe, creating a tape looking like a ticker tape, which you fed through the machine once you were connected to Europe. The tape would get stuck or even worse tear and that was awful!
Early on we had just one computer, which we all shared (Ed remembers it costing $25,000). We didn’t trust it at first and ran parallel paper reservations “just in case.” A photocopier and typewriters were our other “technology” (when we got our first fax machine it was incredibly exciting). Come summer we’d hire summer students to help with the overflow of typing – all the cheques were typed too. It all sounds very clunky and old fashioned but there were surprisingly few errors.
What was also different back then was that all prices were fixed – pretty fixed in the industry, actually. You’d never dream of offering an early booking bonus or a discount!
Of course there are tons of memories, but one of the funniest dates back to my early days. I was working on the cancelled tour desk, calling agents to advise of tours they had booked but would not be operating and one travel agent complained that I was too pleasant!