For Palace Resorts’ Sharon Wilson, travel has been a life-long calling.
Working in the industry since 1987, Wilson has held roles at a variety of companies ranging from Canadian Airlines to Transat, Sunwing, RBC Travel Insurance and, most recently, Palace Resorts, where she has worked as business development manager for Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba since 2013.
There was, however, a brief time when her career path led her to focus on one of her other passions.
“I left the business for a few years where my official title was Director of Sales and Marketing for a board game company,” Wilson recalled. “My husband, myself and our friends developed a board game about music – which is my other great love – called BANDthology. I wore many hats while turning an idea into an actual product and bringing that product to market, including research and design, sales and marketing, accounting, web development and everything in between! It was a great adventure and I learned tons.”
Based in Calgary, Wilson works closely with Palace’s travel agent partners, “helping them to understand, experience and articulate the value proposition offered by Palace Resorts and Le Blanc Spa Resorts for both them and their clients.”
This week, PAX checks in with Wilson on that first beach vacation, jewellery shopping in St. Maarten and a memorable meal above the trees in Thailand.
PAX: What are three essential items you always travel with?
Sharon Wilson (SW): A sweater for the plane, my Nexus card and whatever book I happen to be reading.
PAX: What are some of your favourite vacation spots?
SW: Anywhere that you can find a Palace Resort, because when I travel there it is like visiting with my family. Anywhere really that has great food and music and where music is an important part of the daily scene and the culture. Some of my absolute faves have been Ireland, Italy and Thailand.
PAX: What’s your favourite airport and why?
SW: YYC - it's my home base, I just feel really comfortable there and I know where everything is, which I love. Travelling always brings a small element of anxiety around the unknown which is a love/hate thing for me.
PAX: What do you love about your job? The travel industry?
SW: I love that I work for an incredible company, where the product is absolutely fantastic and that I get to introduce agents and their clients to Palace Resorts for the first or the 20th time. The travel industry is the best! There is always something new to learn and experience. Travel is a close-knit community where our customers and our competitors are also our good friends. I love that no matter where you travel in the world, you can run into people that you know in the strangest places. When you work in travel, it really is a small world!
PAX: What was the first vacation you ever took?
SW: My first vacation traveling solo was to Club Med Paradise Island, which was a gift from my parents for graduating from college. It was my first beach vacation, I loved the experience and met lots of people from all over. I was like "well, this was pretty awesome – can't wait to do it again!”
PAX: What’s the biggest splurge you’ve ever made on a trip?
SW: I am a simple girl really - I would rather spend on experiences than things. That said, one time while on a cruise with my in-laws in St. Maarten, we spent the day meandering through the jewelry stores and drinking Heineken and I bought a beautiful pink sapphire ring. I love it and still pretty much wear it every day.
PAX: Most memorable food/meal you ever ate while travelling and where you ate it?
SW: At Palace Resorts and Le Blanc I get spoiled regularly - the dining is absolutely amazing and always memorable. I would have to say though that it was in Phuket, Thailand at this gorgeous treehouse restaurant located high up on the mountainside overlooking the ocean. The meal was excellent and the setting was incredible!
PAX: What’s your biggest travel pet peeve?
SW: People who are rude to flight attendants and service staff. Also, when someone boards the plane in the seat in front of you and immediately reclines their seat right into your lap!
PAX: What are your hidden talents?
SW: I am a fairly decent singer and I love to cook. Gotta say I love the food and cooking shows on TV. I learn lots from these shows and get great ideas on what to make.
PAX: When flying, window shade up or down?
SW: Shade down - but I like to peek every once and awhile.
PAX: What's your funniest travel anecdote?
SW: When I worked at Canadian Airlines we had really incredible travel benefits which allowed me to experience many fabulous places around the world – but we had to wear nylons and a skirt as the dress code when we travelled in business class. I went to Rome for a long weekend with my girlfriends and met a very handsome guy. I was supposed to return home a couple of days before the rest of the girls and wanted to stay but was worried that I might get in serious trouble for not making it back as planned. I sat on the edge of the bed and put on, then took off, then put on the nylons about five times and finally started singing "Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now" with the girls just laughing at me.
Also, no matter where I go, people always ask me for directions... Must be something about my face - they seem to think I look like I know where I am going. Ummm NOT!
PAX: What should travel agents be aware of right now in regards to Palace Resorts?
SW: Palace Resorts loves agents! When you book your clients at Palace Resorts and Le Blanc Spa Resorts, you earn bonus commission plus a free night to come and experience The Palace Life for yourself. You need to sign up on the Palace PRO Agent website and log your bookings to take advantage of these and many other perks.
Not selling Palace yet? Palace Resorts offer luxurious accommodations and in-room amenities, top-notch gastronomy, premium brand drinks, 24-hour included room service and wi-fi everywhere. With kids & teens 17 and under stay free, a $1,500 US resort credit for your clients’ seven night stay and the best groups perks in the business, it's tough to beat the value proposition offered by #ThePalaceLife!
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