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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
Name: Heather Clifton
Business: Heather Clifton, Cruise CEO
Where do you live? West Kelowna, B.C.
How long have you been a travel advisor? Since 1997
What is your specialty?
I specialize in cruises – ocean, river, expedition. Wherever there is a body of water that a passenger ship can travel.
What is your current state of mind?
I am very optimistic about the future of the cruise travel industry. I feel that it is starting to rebound with more guests wanting to get out there and see the world.
What inspired you to become a travel advisor?
I was inspired to become a travel advisor after I took my first cruise in 1984. I could not imagine a better way to see the world and I wanted to help others see it that way as well.
What’s the first trip you ever took?
The first cruise that I ever took was in 1984 aboard the Tropicale, a Carnival ship, to the Mexican Riviera.
What travel trends are you seeing these days?
I see that people are more interested in longer cruises and destinations that would be considered ‘bucket list’ destinations. After the two-year pause in travel, my guests seem to have more money to spend on their vacations as they didn’t travel during those pandemic years. When travel started to return, we were seeing more and more guests book World Cruises!
How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way you do business?
I had been working remotely for several years before the pandemic, so I did not experience much of a change in how I do my business.
Of all the bookings you’ve made, which itinerary are you most proud of?
When a client books a World Cruise, that is the best accomplishment! That they trust me with that purchase makes me very proud.
What’s the most memorable trip you ever took?
My most memorable trip was to the Baltics where we had two nights and three days in St. Petersburg. I’m glad that I was able to visit there then because I don’t see the travel industry going back there any time soon.
Where do you see your business one year from now?
In the next year, I hope to see my business grow as more and more of my clients return to the world of cruising. One of my future goals is to move into a new niche market – the solo traveller! There are so many cruise lines that are starting to accommodate the solo traveller without making it unaffordable for them to travel. I want to be the one to spread the word.
What’s one thing you would change about the travel industry?
How it handles pricing for solo travellers. As more and more people are finding themselves in a position to travel on their own, whether by choice or by circumstance, most of the travel suppliers are not offering attractive rates to encourage business from this niche.
What’s the secret to being successful in this business?
The secret to being successful is to offer the best service so that your clients come back to you time and again and then refer you to their friends and family.
What is your motto?
I make your dream vacations come true.
What is your number one piece of advice to other travel advisors?
My advice to other travel advisors is to not be afraid to ask for the business and to try not sell out of your own pocketbook! By that I mean, just because you think that a particular luxury cruise is expensive, you might be surprised that your client might just go for it!
Where are you travelling next?
My next cruise will be aboard the Silver Muse, sailing from Vancouver, BC to Seward, Alaska.
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