The 'Monday Minute' is a 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: Amira Harris
Company: Aisle Travel
Location: Calgary, Alberta
How long have you been a travel agent? 10 years being an agent and 14 being a certified planner. Both essential to run a successful full-service romance travel agency.
What is your specially?
I’m a destination wedding specialist and we only do romance travel. Our specialty and most booked service is destination weddings, vow renewals, elopements and honeymoons.
What do you love most about being a travel agent?
I have always loved travel, well before I got into the industry. I love putting something custom together for clients based on their needs, interests and budget. I also love the strong relationships I have built with suppliers and our business development managers. They’re in constant contact with us to ensure we have that trust, support and knowledge and can stand behind the product for our end client.
What's one travel trend you've noticed as of late?
I’m finding couples want us to create custom honeymoon itineraries based not only on that particular countries offerings, but based on their personal interests too. Honeymoons are moving towards multiple locations and couples are maximizing their travel experience by going this route.
Over the years, how have you had to adapt to changes taking place in the industry?
I spend a lot of time educating clients on why it’s so important to use an agent that’s specialized in romance travel verses doing it all yourself via the internet. There’s so much information out there. It's not all accurate and it can be very overwhelming for couples. Not to mention, it’s a lot of work and stress to take on. With our clients, we discuss in depth of what they are wanting to experience, the needs of their group and their budget. We narrow down what they are looking for and provide them choices based on their wish list. We take all of the guess work out, hours of research and walk them through the process on making an informed decision. We’re very involved with our clients and work together on ensuring the most seamless and best experience. Our clients know the value of working with us and we always have their best interest in mind.
Of all the bookings you’ve made, which itinerary or travel package are you most proud of?
There are several, however, one recently stood out - we put together a surprise vow renewal. The couple was put in charge of organizing a family reunion. We planned a wedding for them while they were all going to be in Mexico together for it. We had to ensure one of the days was for the wedding, so we had to tell them a family excursion was planned well in advance, so everyone would attend. There were a lot of logistics involved, but so much fun to put together for this couple since they originally eloped 10 years ago. It was a great surprise to keep for 15 months and the perfect opportunity for them to be all together and to be able to finally celebrate.
What's your number one piece of advice to other travel agents?
Pick one thing and be the best at it. Find your niche and specialize in it. Whether that means knowing a handful of destinations or even a travel type. (Solo travel, group travel, weddings etc.) Even a brand you really like and their client offerings. If you specialize, are passionate about your offerings, provide a personalized service, you will be the go-to expert and clients will come to you. It’s better to know a lot about one thing, then a little about everything!
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