When and why did you join the industry?
My first job in the travel industry was back in 2004. I completed my Bachelor of Tourism Management by doing my final two semesters at University in Washington DC, and upon returning home, landed a job with Contiki as a tour manager through their ‘People to People’ program.
What do you like most about your job?
I’m very fortunate to represent a premium and luxury brand that operates through the stunning Canadian Rockies, which really is the Holy Grail of Canadian Tourism. I love nothing more than speaking about the brand, and hearing stories from clients and the trade alike who have experienced the product and just rave about their experience. We are all lucky that we work in travel and get to talk about life changing journeys on a daily basis.
What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
I was humbled when I was the winner of the 2012 NTIA Awards for Best Sales Executive, but last year I completed my MBA which I believe has assisted my career development in securing a position with Rocky Mountaineer. I also believe that success comes from celebrating the small things too, so daily sales and watching accounts grow is something I take pride in.
What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it?
Haha. Ive got two quotes ringing in my ears. “Never shirk a journey” which is the motto of Brett Tollman, President of the Travel Corporation. Brett is a great guy who said to me once: “you have to do what others don’t, so you can achieve wont others wont”. That message rang very true to me and Ive always tried to follow that lead of never shirking a journey. The second was from John Borghetti of Virgin. ‘don’t ever think your more important that the guy who gives you your ticket into the carpark. Without him, you don’t have access to work, so be grateful and humble that he was there to help start your day’.
Who do you admire and see as a role model in the travel and tourism industry?
I love the Skroo Turner story. A vet that bought a double-decker bus, who has gone on to create one of the largest travel empires in the world. It’s a pretty cool story, and you just continue to see it grow and grow.
What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?
2015 is the brands 25th Anniversary, and we are driven by the vision of being the ‘creators of life changing experiences’. I honestly believe that we do this each and every time a guest steps on-board our train. The scenery, the food, the service and the social aspect of travelling on-board with Rocky Mountaineer leaves lasting memories for our guests. It’s the combination of the elements and the exceptional delivery from our staff that I believe makes the train journey so special.
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
I personally would love to go on safari in Africa. Ive recently had a friend who did this and it just sounded amazing.
What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
I was fortunate to have a white Christmas with my wife at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise once which was just sensational
What are three things you always take with you when travelling?
a) My own earphones for the plane
b) Party Mix lollies.
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
Nick Cummins from the Wallabies. A fishing trip to Broome would be awesome.
What direction do you see the industry heading in, in the next five to ten years?
As much as everyone keeps talking about on-line and the need to engage with clients through digital devices, I believe the real success stories will come from the traditional bricks and mortar travel agencies. These are vital for our industry, and I see these as the future.
From a product perspective, I cant wait to see Branson’s Galactic Flight take off, but in the short term, its evident that the romance of travelling by rail is back, and cruising is here to stay!