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This piece originally published in the Key Notes on Travel spring 2020 issue. In this column, we take pause to recognize and profile the many dedicated professionals who work to support Canadian travel advisors every day. Selling travel involves wrangling a lot of moving pieces and we tip our hats to those who help bring it all together.
     

Kory Sterling

Kory Sterling


Title: Sales manager
Location: Toronto
Years in travel: 12

What attracted you to a career in travel?
I love the feeling I get when exploring a new destination and connecting with the locals within that region. I’m always excited to uncover the area’s hidden gems and indulge in some unique cuisine. Getting the opportunity to learn about various cultures around the world really attracted me to pursue a career in travel. Travel is such a life-changing experience and I feel very blessed to have made this my career.

What trends in travel get you fired up?
The trend that gets me fired up the most is that millennials are now spending more money on experiences than things.

What excites you most about working for TL Network?
The most exciting thing about working for TL Network is the opportunity to work closely with our preferred supplier partners. Our preferred supplier partners are amazing! They are very knowledgeable about their products; I always look forward to connecting with them at one of our 24 mixer events around Toronto or at our regional events in Eastern and Western Canada.

Can you share an example of a fun campaign visit you’ve done in the past?
A company that I worked for once did a feature on Ireland. We really wanted to show our agent partners and consumers that Ireland was the destination everyone needed to be visiting. I joined one of our BDMs on the road to help with the push. We walked into agencies with a bottle of Baileys, offering agents a small sample and an Irish dessert. Not only did the agents love the goodies, but they really enjoyed the fact that we made our visit so memorable.

Do you have any advice for travel advisors in 2020?
Always remember to ask your clients for a review after their trip and then post that positive review on a social media platform. I always enjoy reading product and experience reviews from another buyer’s perspective prior to making my own purchase decision – and the exact same thing goes for travel.
  

In praise of Kory Sterling: 

"We are excited about the tremendous value and opportunity that Kory has brought to the TL Network family. We are thrilled that his talent of adding new, world-class travel advisors to our network has helped us expand and grow across Canada, impacting our business in a positive way." 
- TL Network

   

Melissa Wheaton

Melissa Wheaton

Title: Business Solutions Manager - Eastern Canada
Location: Woodstock, ON
Years in travel: 20+

What attracted you to a career in travel?
I have always loved to travel. We would go on family trips every year when I was a kid and I would create a journal of what we did that day with postcards and the ticket stubs from attractions. It’s just such an amazing industry and once it’s in your blood there is no getting out!

What trends in travel get you fired up?
Nothing in travel stays the same. It is always changing and evolving, and I love that about this industry. You don’t get bored and you’re always overcoming new challenges.

What excites you most about working for TL Network?
We have such amazing, cutting-edge products such as Agent Profiler, CruisePRO, SELECT Hotels and AgentMate – to name a few – that our members can use to increase their business.

What’s something you do in the background that might not be visible to travel advisors?
With our ever-changing industry, I am constantly learning new skills and enhancing old ones. It is important to stay up to date with product information and learn about our preferred supplier partners – this helps me properly advise our members of what would work best for their business.

How can a travel advisor best use their BDM?
We are here to help, so reach out to us. Let’s work together on ways to help grow your business and your preferred supplier sales.
  

In praise of Melissa Wheaton: 

"Melissa’s knowledge, along with her extensive experience and industry insights in all areas of travel, makes her a valuable addition to the TL Network family. We are very fortunate to have someone of Melissa’s caliber to propel us towards further growth.." 
- TL Network

   

Sue Urie

sue urie

Title: Business Solutions Manager - Western Canada
Location: Richmond, BC
Years in travel: 40+

What attracted you to a career in travel?
My love of art and art history prompted me to want to visit The Louvre in Paris and I fell in love with the culture and travelling.

What trends in travel get you fired up?
Decreasing commissions and suppliers that don’t pay commission in a timely fashion, schedule changes, natural disasters and aircraft safety issues tend to fire me up. On the positive side, new trends are always emerging: wellness, multi-generational travel, soft adventure, solo travel and exciting new ships and itineraries.

In your opinion, what qualities make a standout BDM?
FOLLOWING UP, offering solutions when things go sideways, and ensuring events are both educational and enjoyable for attendees.

What’s the most interesting or creative business solution you’ve thought up?
How to deal with fraudulent files and lessening their financial impacts on business. What’s something you do in the background that might not be visible to travel advisors? I tend to worry about their business as much as they do and make suggestions on a regular basis to support our preferred partners.

How can a travel advisor best use their BDM?
Put together a viable marketing plan to take advantage of promos, specials and new destinations.
  

In praise of Sue Urie: 

"Sue’s dedication to the travel professionals she works with and their consistent recognition of her work is testimony to the appreciation and affection shown for her in Western Canada. Sue is a valuable member of our team who supports her agents with passion and impacts our overall growth immensely." 
- TL Network

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