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: Kyla Coe
Company: The Travel Agent Next Door
Location: Rural Alberta, near Camrose
How long have you been a travel agent? 22 years
What is your specialty?
I specialize in river cruises, international travel, all-inclusive, cruises and FIT all over the world
What do you love most about being a travel agent?
I enjoy dealing with people the most. I take a lot of time listening to my clients and hope to always meet their needs in their trip planning. Not everyone has the same budget, style, or adventure level. Being able to tap into this is so important. The biggest reward is getting feedback after their trip that you nailed what they were hoping for!
What's one travel trend you've noticed as of late?
I am not always the first to know things, but I certainly work with a company who helps me keep up! The consumer is much more informed than they used to be years ago. I don’t know if I’m always one up, but I always say if I don’t know the answer, I know where to find it! This industry changes rapidly, and it is so important that we keep our finger on the pulse. What was important five years ago may not be today.
Over the years, how have you had to adapt to changes taking place in the industry?
I came into the industry at a time where the internet was just budding. The days of the OAG were phasing out, there was still Canadian Airlines and if you made a mistake you could put a yellow sticker on a bsp ticket! Lots has changed. I immediately dove into the wholesale market for airfare, and use one whenever I can. I put myself on as many FAMs as I could, and took personal trips. I have not been everywhere, but I have taken a bite out of the world and have been very fortunate with the companies I’ve worked for to have been sent on amazing learning opportunities. This has served me well and paid me back time and time again. Clients want someone with experience and it takes years to build that.
I’ve tried to stay open-minded to new systems and processes, although that gets harder as time goes by. However, most agents are quick learners, and if you just make yourself do something, usually in a while it will be fine and work out.
Of all the bookings you’ve made, which itinerary or travel package are you most proud of?
I am always very pleased and proud when I work on something custom for someone and they return with a smile. I am proud of the sheer volume that I can process in a busy season. I’m proud of sticking to it all these years. I am proud say I am a travel agent, that travel agents are not a dying breed. I know agents all across this country that I’ve been fortunate to work with, travel with and network with who have more time in this industry than me, who are wonderful at their jobs and still go to work everyday and eat this up. So, I am most proud to be one of those people still thriving in an industry that has changed so much.
What's your number one piece of advice to other travel agents?
Listen to your clients, be a chameleon, never assume anything, be kind, be on time or early, wow people, tell them something they don’t know, don’t be offended by a question, flaunt your knowledge, and know the difference between an opportunity and tire kicker. Give examples and tell stories. It brings credibility to what you do.
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