The 'Monday Minute' is a weekly feature at PAX dedicated to highlighting the movers, shakers, leaders and rule-breakers in Canada's travel agent community. Wanna be profiled? Wanna nominate someone? Email email@example.com!
Name: Andrea Mulder
Company: Carlson Wagonlit Travel
Location: Ingersoll, ON
How long have you been a travel agent? Since September 2010
What is your specialty?
I love to advise on cruises to Europe and beyond. Ocean cruising, river cruising, large ship or small, I love them all.
What do you love most about being a travel agent?
Every day is a new adventure! In the average week I can “travel” from Alaska to Arequipa and everywhere in between. Being able to simplify the travel experience for my customers brings me the most satisfaction.
What's one travel trend you've noticed as of late?
Sadly, too many people wait too long to book their trip. This means they miss out on many of the perks of booking early. Far too often I find travellers settle because what they really wanted is no longer available. That is sad fact.
Over the years, how have you had to adapt to changes taking place in the industry?
Not much has changed since I began in 2010. Of course I still have people coming in telling us about the great deal they saw online. However, more often than not, I am able to show them the same if not better product for the same price or lower. Trying to convince the general population that they are better off booking with a travel advisor they know and trust in their local community will continue to be part of my daily routine.
Of all the bookings you’ve made, which itinerary and/or travel package are you most proud of?
I have three that come to mind. Two are FITs in Italy. In 2014, I spent 10 days in Tuscany, including a visit to Isla de Elba. Not long after my return I had two couples wanting to do a similar tour; one couple would focus on Italy and Tuscany while the other would journey from the south of Italy to England. Being able to suggest quaint little towns and villages for them to stop in based on my own experience was so valuable.
The other is a honeymoon that had to include “golfing in a unique destination”. This became one of the most memorable trips ever, an island all-inclusive stay in Mauritius, an African safari combined with golfing at Leopard Creek where “sightings of crocodile, hippo, antelope, buffalo and elephant are commonplace, on the course or in the Kruger Park bordering the course.” This is one that left one honeymoon couple in awe.
What's your number one piece of advice to other travel agents?
I learned this early on: listen more and talk less. By listening to our customers and asking the right questions we are able to qualify them to ensure the vacation is exactly what they had hoped for.
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