“There is no industry that compares to travel’s positive impact on humanity,” says Tim Morgan, Canada's director of business strategy for Virtuoso, a global luxury travel agency network.
Morgan, who is originally from Winnipeg and now lives in Toronto, has worked in the travel business for 15 years. Prior to travel he worked in marketing and technology and, years ago, he was even a choir boy.
In his current role at Virtuoso, Morgan oversees the network’s strategy for Canada and, on an interim basis, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).
“Always different and always fascinating!” is how Morgan describes his day-to-day duties. “You cannot be successful in this business if you don’t, first and foremost, love travel and all the good that it brings to this world.”
Morgan's main objective is to work with Virtuoso’s regional and global teams to “ensure that our members (and their advisors) in Canada and EMEA have what they need from the market, our partners, and us at Virtuoso to be continually successful in building their businesses into all they dream it to be and more,” he says.
A bona fide jet-setter, Morgan divides his time between his home Toronto and London, UK, where he spends the first week of each month.
Here, PAX Checks In with Morgan to chat about the three things he always travels with, the first vacation he ever took, and that time he ate scorpions in Cambodia.
PAX: What are three essential items you always travel with?
Tim Morgan (TM): Patience, positivity, and noise-canceling headphones.
PAX: What are some of your favourite vacation spots?
TM: Anywhere with loved ones; particularly if it involves sunshine, food, and wine – from Winnipeg (my hometown) to South Africa to Vietnam.
PAX: What’s your favourite airport and why?
TM: Toronto Pearson. It means I’m either off on another adventure or I’m coming home from one.
PAX: What was the first vacation you ever took?
TM: My first vacation was to England with my family. I was quite young but I remember the grey skies, green fields, and seeing how our British relatives lived. But most of all I remember the feeling of exploring something new with my family. Funny how life goes that, many years later, outside of being home in Toronto, I spend most of my time in London.
PAX: What’s the biggest splurge you’ve ever made on a trip?
TM: I’m not much of a shopper when I travel. I spend more on experiences than on any particular personal item and my biggest indulgences, by far, tend to be anything with an incredible view – aerial tours, hotel suites, and dinner tables.
PAX: What’s the most memorable meal you’ve ever eaten while travelling?
TM: Everyone either knows themselves or can imagine some of the regional delicacies people get offered to eat in their travels that would likely never make it on a restaurant menu in Canada. However, a few that are more fit for print are cockroaches and scorpions in Cambodia.
PAX: What’s your biggest travel pet peeve?
TM: As in all of my life, I have zero patience for unnecessary selfishness. Travel can be complicated and unfamiliar for most people and I try to do my part to make it a better experience for everyone.
PAX: What are your hidden talents?
TM: I’m always surprised that many people don’t think I’d either enjoy dancing or that I’m fairly good at it! (Probably my 6’4, gangly frame doesn’t help with this one.)
PAX: When flying – window shade up or down?
TM: Up for takeoff and landing – gotta enjoy the views. Down 3/4 during the flight to keep just the right amount of natural light flowing in.
PAX: What's your most adventurous trip to date?
TM: I've climbed to the top of active and dormant volcanoes on half a dozen islands throughout the South Pacific.
PAX: What should travel agents know right now about Virtuoso?
TM: Two things that we’re really excited about our members and their advisors having success with are Virtuoso Wanderlist and Virtuoso Communities.
Virtuoso Wanderlist offers clients a process to create a customized travel wish list. They rate their interests, preferred experiences and dream destinations online, then receive access to a personalized portal with information such as articles, videos, books and even music playlists. The Wanderlist advisor reviews the online results and creates a plan for future travels that takes into account the desires of all travel companions. It’s really cool! Clients love it because it’s fun and interactive and advisors love it because it helps them plan out a lifetime of travel for their clients rather than just one trip at a time.
Virtuoso Communities is exactly what it sounds like – a community for like-minded advisors focusing on a specific travel product category. Advisors receive additional training, networking and marketing tools, such as themed travel catalogs and Virtuoso.com profile enhancements. Advisors who are engaged in Communities are outpacing their non-participating peers with a 19 percent increase in travel sales production.
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