Pax Global Media
The Monday Minute is a weekly feature in PAX that highlights the movers, shakers, leaders and rule breakers in Canada's travel advisor community. Wanna be profiled? Wanna nominate someone? Email email@example.com!
Name: Autumn Fiske
Business: TravelOnly with Autumn
Where do you live? Halifax, N.S. until the fall. Moving to B.C. to do my Master’s in Tourism Management in Victoria!
How long have you been a travel advisor? Since 2015
What is your specialty? Small groups and solo travel.
What is your current state of mind?
Excited! Last year I was offered a part-time position teaching business and tourism at a university here in Halifax. It is a privilege to work with the professionals of tomorrow and share my experiences in the classroom with students. I am thrilled to start my Master’s degree in Tourism Management in September. I am certain I will learn more about the ever-changing industry and network with faculty and fellow students during the two-year program.
What inspired you to become a travel advisor?
A year abroad in Spain. I fell in love with travel while exploring multiple regions of Spain and various countries in Europe. The plan changed when I moved back to Canada in 2014 and switched my career from Hotel Management to Travel Consulting.
What’s the first trip you ever took?
When I was 21, I took a solo trip to London, England. I was scared to be alone but no one could go with me at the time and I really wanted to travel. So, I got on a plane and saw some of the major sites with some Italians I met while staying at a backpacker’s hostel. We still stay in touch today!
What travel trends are you seeing these days?
Since travel has been open after the pandemic, clients are asking for longer trips. The average trip length is about 16 days with at least two or three countries on their itinerary.
Of all the bookings you’ve made, which itinerary are you most proud of?
In February, I had a client who was going to explore South America for a month – Peru for two weeks, and afterwards, to Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. Unfortunately, Peru was cancelled due to the unstable situation in the country at that time. I suggested to her if she would consider a nearby country to start her trip. I pitched Colombia and she agreed. I sent her to the Lost City as well as some of the top places to see in the country and she had a fantastic time. Once she finished her two weeks in Colombia, she continued to Bolivia. She was grateful that I was on top of everything and helped her through the process of changing some of her plans. She has booked two more trips with me since then for this year, and next year, has me helping her plan her long-awaited journey to Peru. Crisis management isn’t always fun, but clients are grateful for your dedication to them and will book with you in the future, knowing you have their back.
What’s the most memorable trip you ever took?
My first time in Costa Rica in 2017! I’ve been there multiple times since! Costa Rica has it all: nature, wildlife, hiking, good food, friendly people, beaches. And it’s very safe.
Where do you see your business one year from now?
Around this time next year, I will have completed a couple of semesters into my Master’s of Tourism Management program. I expect I will have more education on various aspects of tourism, and new connections which I can utilize for my travel consulting business as well as in the classroom.
What’s one thing you would change about the travel industry?
Oh, for sure, it’s leakage. I think suppliers need to work better with locals to support the economy. There should be a stronger emphasis on supporting social enterprises to have an everlasting positive social, environmental, and economical impact.
What’s the secret to being successful in this business?
When you travel with your suppliers, consider yourself an ambassador. I feature my travels on social media and tag my suppliers. Your supplier could re-post your content, which gives you a lot of exposure or existing and possible future clients can see your experiences and believe they need what you offer.
What is your motto?
Work hard and be grateful.
What is your number one piece of advice to other travel advisors?
Establish your niche. When clients come to me, they know I am an expert within my specialization. Don’t be afraid to admit when you aren’t an expert on a certain request. People will appreciate your honesty and dedication when you do research for their trip.
Where are you travelling next?
Going to Jordan in May 2023 for an active adventure of hiking, cycling, and canyoning! I am anxious to see Petra and float in the Dead Sea.
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