In the lead-up to joining the travel industry, Trafalgar’s Jodine Clement has many different careers over the years.
“The first job I ever worked,” Clement recalls, “was at the Calgary Stampede, at my parent’s Chinese food booth in the Food Fair – they had the business for more than 30 years and you could say I started there as a baby. I would work there every Stampede, running it with my parents until I was 30! I worked in many different jobs before finally working in my dream industry – a clerk in a drug store, a bank teller, a cart girl at a golf course, receptionist at an oilfield supply company, job placement advisor, and as a server at one of my favorite Japanese restaurants. I must admit, I was probably the worst server ever!”
While Clement will celebrate her one-year anniversary as Trafalgar’s Alberta sales manager on Jan. 7, her time in the travel industry stretches back to 1992, joining Vancouver’s Fiesta West after completing a travel counsellor program.
It wasn’t long after, Clement recalls, that she landed her dream job: in 1996, she moved back to Calgary and became a flight attendant with a brand-new airline called WestJet.
“It’s hard to believe that my employee number was 137!” Clement jokes. “I still remember climbing into the overhead bins to greet passengers. Oh, the fun we had back then!”
When a back injury forced Clement to stop flying, she had a brief stint as a home-based agent with TPI (“working with my mom as my partner,” she adds). From there, Clement moved into sales, working for Sunquest (2000 – 2003), Transat (2003 – 2007), ACV (2007 – 2012), and the Barcelo Hotel Group (2012 – 2019).
A “born Calgarian,” Clement says that her day-to-day activities “revolve around increasing the sales of Trafalgar and CostSaver, of course. Much of my time is spent on building and nurturing relationships within the travel agent community, by ensuring that the agents are kept informed through sales calls and agent trainings.
“I will also go over sales figures with the managers to thank them for their business and figure out ways to increase their business with us. What I love about working for Trafalgar, is that I get to share my travel stories. This can be with the travel agents or consumers at our Travel Talks, which are consumer based events, where agents invite their clients to attend.”
This week, PAX checks in with Clement on the destination she considers “authentic Mexico,” where to find the world’s best cheese and shopping for questionably-advertised body wraps while on vacation…
PAX: What are three essential items you always travel with?
Jodine Clement (JC): Besides the usual necessities, I always travel with my Pandora locket necklace (to remind me of my kids), antibacterial wipes (I am a bit of a germophobe and have to wipe down my hotel room as soon as I check in), and my Starbucks reusable cup.
PAX: What are some of your favourite vacation spots?
JC: One of my favorite destinations is Huatulco because it was authentic Mexico. The people are so welcoming and I loved the little town of La Crucecita. I love the fact that it is not overly developed and Americanized as well. I was recently in Northern Ireland and absolutely fell in love with the destination. Northern Ireland has so much to see and do (Giant’s Causeway, Carrick a Rede Bridge, Bushmills, Belfast, the beaches, I could go on), and the food was absolutely delicious, and the people are truly some of the nicest, proud and amazing characters that I have ever met abroad. My most favorite vacation spot, however, would be wherever I travel to with my kids. I am so fortunate to be in this great industry, allowing me to travel to so many wonderful places with my family (even if they are getting too old to want to go away with their boring parents). Family is everything!
PAX: What’s your favourite airport and why?
JC: People are going to think I am crazy, but I really like George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). Mainly because I have had several layovers there and, with it being so large with access to each of the terminals, I have never been bored there.
PAX: What do you love about your job? The travel industry?
JC: I love the fact that every day is different. While the actual day-to-day tasks are technically the same, I am speaking with different people every day, and handling different situations every day. I am loving my move to Trafalgar because it has given me new life. In this past year, I have had a lot to learn about guided travel and the world in general, as my world mainly revolved around Mexico, DR and Cuba.
We have so many amazing trips to some countries and cities that I have to google to see how to pronounce or even to locate, but it has made my job exciting again. The team at Trafalgar is also amazing to work with, which ultimately makes my job easier. One of my favorite things is conducting presentations, whether it is a training, presentation or webinar. I love getting up there and talking about the one thing I love to do which is travel. I have changed companies several times in 27 years, but the one thing that has remained constant, are the people. I have met some wonderful people (co-workers, travel agents, fellow sales managers), and have had several work husbands (you know who you are). It is these relationships, that I love about this industry.
PAX: What was the first vacation you ever took?
JC: My first vacation was probably driving to Vancouver to visit family or to Disneyland when I was three years old. Unfortunately, sometimes I can’t even remember why I went downstairs for something, let alone, remember something from almost 50 years ago! When my daughter was three, we decided to bring her to Disneyland. Friends and family told us that it was a waste of money because she wouldn’t remember anything. That trip was one of my most memorable trips, because you can’t put a price tag on the way she looked when she met Belle – she had this look of awe and enchantment. My second memorable trip is when we brought my son to Disneyland with us a few years after (when he was 2) and he couldn’t stop waving at all the Disney characters during the parade. He was mesmerized, but wouldn’t stop waving, even when his arm got tired, he used his other arm to hold his tired arm up.
PAX: What’s the biggest splurge you’ve ever made on a trip?
JC: I tend not to spend a lot of money when I travel, because my splurge is on the travelling, but I can tell you my one purchase that was a big waste of money. When I was in Maui, I bought one of those wraps that you can “wear over 100 different ways!” To this day, I have only been able to figure out two ways - as a sarong and as a wrap over my shoulders! I have never worn it to this day! Gotta love impulse shopping on vacation – but they made it look so easy!
PAX: Most memorable food/meal you ever ate while travelling and where you ate it?
JC: I’ve been fortunate to enjoy so many delicious meals. It sounds so simple but when I was in Switzerland, we went to Santis (a mountain) and I had the best cheese ever. Maybe it was the ambiance of being in Switzerland on top of a mountain, eating Swiss cheese, but at that moment, it was the best cheese I had even eaten. If you’re wondering, it is Appenzeller Cheese and I have found it in Calgary. It still is my favorite, but for some reason it just tasted better 8,200 feet up in the Swiss Alps.
PAX: What’s your biggest travel pet peeve?
JC: My biggest pet peeve when travelling would be how some people are inconsiderate of personal space, or maybe they are just oblivious, on an airplane – like hitting you with their purse or backpack when walking down the aisle, or grabbing the headrest of your seat while also grabbing your hair in the process, or turning off your personal TV while they are leaning on the armrest.
PAX: What are your hidden talents?
JC: I used to play the piano, sing and dance. I was in a choir as a child for many years and participated in many competitions. A few of us (choir members) were cast on a TV Christmas special with Glen Campbell and Tanya Tucker as well as a few operas with The Calgary Opera. I took jazz, tap and ballet for eight years and piano for 10 years. The only thing I still do is plunk around on the piano every now and then, and the only singing I do is on my road trips in my car, where no one else can hear me - oh, and our annual Christmas carolling!
PAX: When flying, window shade up or down?
JC: I like the shade up for take off and landing as I like to look down and see the city I am flying from or flying into, but down during the flight, especially if it is daytime flight, so I can either sleep or watch a movie.
PAX: What's your funniest travel anecdote?
JC: As a sales manager, we are constantly travelling, but also travelling within our own country, in our territory. When I was with one of the tour operators, I was doing joint sales calls with Carlos Peralta (of Melia Hotels at the time). I was driving and stopped at an intersection. About 30 seconds later, Carlos asked me “what are you waiting for?” and I told him that I was waiting for the light to change, since it was red. Then Carlos said to me, “but you are at a stop sign and the red light is two blocks ahead of us!”
PAX: What should travel agents be aware of right now in regards to Trafalgar?
JC: Trafalgar’s Acclaim 2020 Rewards Program is back and better than ever, and this year’s Acclaim trip will take agents to Ireland! Supporting the brand’s deep-seated and ongoing commitment to making a positive impact in the places they visit, 2020’s Acclaim itinerary will focus on experiencing the brand’s JoinTrafalgar initiatives in the magical Emerald Isle. Loyal Canadian travel agents are encouraged to get their bookings in quickly and secure their spot on the world’s greatest travel incentive! To learn more about how Canadian travel agents can achieve a spot on Trafalgar’s Acclaim 2020 trip and stay updated on trip details and dates check out the following link: bit.ly/Acclaim2020.
For a limited time only, loyal Canadian travel agents can secure savings on their clients’ 2020 holiday dreams! From now until Feb. 27, agents can lock in their clients 2020 travel adventures with Trafalgar’s 7.5 per cent Early Payment Discount (EPD) on Europe and Britain, USA and Canada, Asia, Latin America and Australia and New Zealand trips.
Additionally, after the overwhelming success of the inaugural Costsaver Top Achievers trip to Asia this year, the brand is proud to announce that it’s back again for a second year, with plans to make it even bigger and better. Now labelled, ‘Crew,’ in 2020, the trip will see Costsaver’s top selling agents switch to relaxation mode and experience the sandy shores, lush jungles and volcanoes of Costa Rica. For more information about Costsaver and the Crew Top Achievers trip including being the first to know when dates are released, please visit: bit.ly/CSCrew2020.
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