Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and DailyXtra.ca. Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.
A familiar face in the Canadian travel industry has begun a new adventure.
Susan Kooiman, who worked at Transat for 19 years – most recently, as a senior business development representative of key accounts – has joined the team at Spoiled Agent, PAX has learned.
Kooiman, whose last day at Transat was on Feb. 24, is now Spoiled Agent’s director of sales and agent engagement for the Canadian market.
Speaking to PAX, Kooiman expressed her excitement about learning new things, with a new team.
“After two decades at Transat, I’m grateful for that experience, which I will never forget. It’s time to switch gears, hit the reset button and take on a different opportunity for myself,” said Kooiman, who is based in the Greater Toronto Area.
READ MORE: Susan Kooiman departs Transat, Justin Clarey hired to rep Eastern Ontario
Spoiled Agent is a one-stop shop for travel agent incentives, promotions and virtual training opportunities.
The company allows its members to access and track all of the offers that are available to them, in one convenient location.
As the company’s director of sales and agent engagement for Canada, Kooiman will work directly with suppliers to promote their messages, assist with training and keep Canadian travel advisors in the loop with regular updates and initiatives.
The move makes sense. After all, if there’s anyone who understands the needs and wants of travel agents, it’s Kooiman.
The travel pro started her career as a travel advisor more than two decades ago after graduating from Seneca College’s travel and tourism program.
The years that followed in Transat’s sales department allowed her to build a robust rolodex of industry relationships and key contacts.
“I have all the connections, I’m friends with many suppliers. We’re not strangers, which is why this new role is a great fit,” Kooiman explained.
“We’re so fortunate she said yes”
Kelly Schmitt, co-founder of Spoiled Agent, told PAX that she is “thrilled” to have Kooiman in her corner.
Schmitt said it was important for her to find “a dynamo” (like Susan) who could step into the role with experience and confidence.
The ladies know each other well – back in the day, they often crossed paths as travelling BDMs on the road.
“Susan has that infectious laugh, a great outlook on life, is always upbeat and just loved by everyone,” Schmitt said. “We’re so fortunate she said yes.”
Kooiman joins a small but mighty team at Spoiled Agent, which consists of Schmitt, who is also president, Executive Assistant Sophia Leahong and Sabrina Filatow (formally of Karisma Hotels and Resorts), who is vice-president of sales and marketing.
Kooiman’s hiring comes at an important time for Spoiled Agent as the Canadian brand expands into global markets.
The company is already growing its presence in the United States (“Which is four times the size of Canada,” Schmitt noted) and the goal, this spring, is to launch in Latin America.
Schmitt, who incorporated Spoiled Agent in 2012, will undoubtedly appreciate/need the extra hands.
And for Kooiman, in today’s new world of travel, there has never been a better time to engage with industry professionals.
“Travel agents have never been more important,” Kooiman said. “They’re putting time aside to learn and keep themselves up to date with hotels, tourism boards…their clients are counting on them to have the latest information. The pandemic has taught us all to stay sharp on everything.”
“I want to thank Kelly Schmitt for giving me this opportunity.”
Susan can now be reached at email@example.com.
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