Brad Ford has been working for The Travel Corporation for almost a decade.
But it wasn't always like that. Prior to touring the globe, Brad had a whole other life in dance and theatre, and he also dabbled in finance, account management, business development, and sales and marketing.
"I made travel a priority in my life early on, and 20 years ago, a travel agent friend suggested I get a job in the industry to facilitate my wanderlust," Ford told us. "It's some of the best advice I have ever received."
Now living in Toronto, Ford considers himself a proud citizen of the world, noting that he's been lucky enough to live in some of the world’s greatest cities. Two years ago, he joined the Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold brands as the president, where he oversees the Canadian business for both, as well as the strategy, teams, sales, marketing and offerings across their portfolio of remarkable luxury and premium journeys.
"I am in my element when coaching and collaborating with our dynamic teams to set business development and growth plans with our travel advisor partners, and am genuinely inspired to establish and nurture our important relationships," Ford said.
This week, we checked in with him to learn more about the one cocktail he's mastered, that time a giant bee attacked on the Mekong, and where he first got a taste for travelling.
PAX: What are three essential items you always travel with?
Brad Ford (BF): Good, noise-cancelling ear phones, my iPhone or iPad if I need to stay connected on projects, and a positive, friendly, caring Canadian attitude.
PAX: What are some of your favourite vacation spots?
BF: There are way too many destinations to love! It’s really best if I say I have been blessed to experience some fantastic journeys across all seven continents, and my travel list keeps growing.
PAX: What’s your favourite airport and why?
BF: Nothing beats the romance of arriving in an open-air water taxi at Venice VCE.
PAX: What do you love about your job? The travel industry?
BF: I really think I have the best job in the world. I am fortunate that I have a hand in working with travel advisors to send travellers on journeys that they will remember forever. I work with treasured colleagues in an organization that promotes caring, ethics, integrity, sustainable tourism and personal growth. I have had a lot of fun learning, feeding my curiosity, and expanding my competencies – and I have been supported by generous mentors and colleagues over the years to reach for even more.
PAX: What was the first vacation you ever took?
BF: My first real vacation outside of our family cottage in Muskoka was a roadtrip across Canada’s East Coast. I was eight years old, and I travelled with my parents, two older brothers and my sister. I was quite enthralled by the natural beauty and the generous, warm locals, and how each member of my family magnified my appreciation of our travels through their excitement and energy. You could say it was my first look at travelling in a small group, and the benefits of shared cultural experiences.
PAX: What’s the biggest splurge you’ve ever made on a trip?
BF: I tend to make most of my typical purchases in Canada, and instead spend on unique experiences when I am away. I’m the guy in the helicopter, at the exclusive event, on the yacht or in that special restaurant.
PAX: Most memorable food/meal you ever ate while travelling and where you ate it?
BF: There have been so many wonderful meals (I am an avid foodie), in fine dining restaurants in Europe to humble local homes high in the Altiplano.
There is a Luxury Gold Michelin Star restaurant on the Island of Capri that has breathtaking views of the cliffside village, down to the stunningly vivid blue ocean, that left an indelible impression. An eight-course, lavish meal with prosecco and wine pairings, wonderfully charming team of attentive serving staff, and even a bit of guitar and song. One of those occasions where the food, wine, company and setting came together perfectly for an extraordinary, memorable experience.
PAX: What’s your biggest travel pet peeve?
BF: Waiting at airports.
PAX: What are your hidden talents?
BF: I make a great martini.
PAX: Checked bag or carry-on?
BF: Checked. Always. I need room for my suits and size 10s.
PAX: What's your funniest travel anecdote?
BF: So many. I was once floating down the Mekong River on a river boat in Cambodia with several of my colleagues and important guests, when the biggest, most massive bee descended and started chasing us around the deck. We must have presented quite the scene to the locals on their fishing boats floating close by and in their homes dotted along the river, our gesticulating and whelps drawing their attention for a good five minutes. We all had a collective community belly laugh once the massive creature kindly left the scene, and we could see and hear all of the locals playfully imitating us and laughing at our expense.
PAX: What are one or two things travel agents should be aware of right now in regards to Luxury Gold?
BF: First and foremost, we are truly grateful for their kind support. Travel advisors have embraced our Luxury Gold offering, and we are 100 per cent there to support them in their business development.
Our Luxury Gold worldwide collection of small group travel experiences is unlike any other, personally curated by the Travel Corporation Chairman, Stanley Tollman. We explore distinctive destinations via planes, trains, safari-mobiles, uniquely designed luxury coaches, private yachts and boutique river cruises, taking our guests on a journey beyond the ordinary.
There are 55 journeys in our exceptional collection, and each one features extraordinary VIP experiences, from meeting legendary people, to visiting iconic sites when not open to the public.
We have thoughtfully selected elevated dining, the finest properties with impeccable service and luxurious surroundings, and every detail including our Travelling Concierge, who travels along with you, and goes the extra mile to truly tailor the journey to individual preferences, and several of our spectacular journeys will include “The Chairman’s Collection”. Hand-picked by Stanley Tollman, the collection showcases our most exclusive VIP experiences, and offers a rare opportunity to meet, and spend time with, local celebrities and legends.
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