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Name: Heidi Pivnick
Company: Voyages Anne Travel
Location: Ottawa, ON
How long have you been a travel agent? 12 years
What is your specialty? I specialize in Sandals Resorts, cruise, international travel and groups.
What do you love most about being a travel agent?
What I love most about being a travel agent is the learning, exploring and dream building. The learning and exploring is ongoing. This is such a fluid industry, you cannot be sedentary. The dream building gives me my ah-ha moments as I watch my clients anticipation and delight as their travel becomes a reality no matter what the trip is, big or small.
What's one travel trend you've noticed as of late?
Groups, groups and more groups! Friends that play together, stay together. I would have to say that 75 per cent of my business is now friends travelling together [and] not necessarily in large numbers either.
Over the years, how have you had to adapt to changes taking place in the industry?
I find clients very savvy and informed. I have to make sure my knowledge and experience will have the extra value added. I try to maintain a strong relationship with resort GMs and tour operators as they are essential to my own credibility. I do not presume to know what my client's budgets are ever! I have learned to listen for clues as to what their expectations are before we get to pricing. Sticker shock is not so much a thing anymore.
Of all the bookings you’ve made, which itinerary and/or travel package are you most proud of?
This is a tough one to answer. There are so many, but what I am most proud of is what I can do for my honeymooners. For the most part, they are young and possibly travelling for the first time. It has to be perfect. Their stories and circumstances are so different, I have to adapt to each one in order to make sure it is epic. I assume the responsibility of making sure it does falls within their budget. The mom in me comes out strong as I need to ensure that they are not overreaching as well. It has been years in the building, but I am most proud of not giving up on the Sandals brand and supporting them as much as they support me.
What's your number one piece of advice to other travel agents?
Spend your time and money wisely. Invest both in those areas that you appear to excel in, let your niche find you...not the other way around. I have to be honest, I am not a resort person. I love my cruises, but Sandals found me at the same time that I realized I had to book all-inclusives and now they are home to me.
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