The 'Monday Minute' is a new weekly feature at PAX dedicated to highlighting the movers, shakers, leaders and rule-breakers in Canada's travel agent community. Wanna be profiled? Wanna nominate someone? Email firstname.lastname@example.org!
Name: Lynda Harlos
Company: Orion Travel
Location: Courtice, Ontario
Years of travel agent experience: 8
Speciality: I know more about the Caribbean and Europe than anything, but I love and sell it all. My clientele mostly includes singles, couples, families and small groups.
What do you love most about being a travel agent?
One of the main reasons I became a travel agent was my love of travel and the memories I have from each trip. Those memories are engraved in my mind forever and I treasure each of them. We never had a travel agent when we travelled, and I realized after our first cruise that having a travel agent who took care of details to ensure I wasn't stressed before the trip allowed me to have positive memories. Helping others have a stress-free trip is one of my main goals.
What's one travel trend you've noticed as of late?
Due to the internet, information is at the client's fingertips and they are realizing there is much, much more to see, do, experience and taste. For those wishing to see more of this amazing world, they are inspired to do so now. They aren't just going to the Caribbean; they're also experiencing the world.
Over the years, how have you had to adapt to changes taking place in the industry?
Accessibility to the masses on product, pricing, and booking online is the biggest change. I am now spending more time educating people on why using a travel agent is still the best way to book travel, as the benefits are not always obvious to anyone who hasn't ever had an issue, or needs to make a change to their booking. I would rather spend that time talking about their dreams and exploring what it is they want to see, do and experience.
Of all the bookings you’ve made, which itinerary and/or travel package are you most proud of?
Recently, a retired lady came to me and said she wanted to see as much of Asia in a month as possible, within a certain budget. She had a few other things that were on her wish list to do while there, which made fitting in the tours around her special requests challenging. Still, it was satisfying that we accomplished it all without going over what she was willing to spend. Watching her post her dream vacation on her Facebook and seeing the smiles was heart-melting and I had a huge feeling of accomplishment in giving this woman her dream.
What's your number one piece of advice to other travel agents?
Every person who desires to travel deserves to do so and have the best experience possible. Our treatment of a client should stay consistent no matter the cost of the trip. Treating them all the same will give you great referrals.
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