This piece originally published in the Key Notes on Travel summer issue. In this special section, 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.
Brand Development Manager, Western USA and Canada
YEARS IN TRAVEL: 20
Tell us how you got into the travel industry.
It was almost 20 years ago today that my journey began at a store in a Hostelling International office. We sold everything from guidebooks and backpacks to rail passes and HI membership cards. There was an adventure travel agency in that same shop, so I got to know the staff well. The manager asked if I would like to come work for their agency. I accepted within a heartbeat and worked there for five years. I was fortunate to enjoy many incredible travel experiences around the world during my time there and I haven’t stopped yet!
What does the role of BDM look like at Exodus?
Get up, drink lots of coffee and listen to some great motivational tunes to start my day. I respond to e-mails, set up agent training and consumer speaking events, prepare presentations, catch up on new tours and emerging destinations, and connect with our marketing team. I also visit agencies to drop off brochures and give Exodus Travels updates. The best part of the day is just talking about travel with agents, consumers and colleagues. Adventure, whether my own or someone else’s, is what keeps me going.
What are your values as a travel professional?
My values include respect for other cultures, people and the environment in the places Exodus travels to. I’m always motivated to learn more about the history and culture of the places I visit. I believe it’s important to understand people’s attitudes and how their society and way of life differs from ours. Otherwise, I continue to educate myself and others on the importance of sustainable, low-impact travel. I share these values with everyone I surround myself with.
Where do you see the future of the travel industry heading?
I see specialized and niche market holidays as the future of travel. Also of importance: small group, active and off-the-beaten-path travel. Exodus will continue to focus on giving back to local communities and practicing sustainability relating to wildlife and natural habitats, all while ensuring we are welcome in the places we visit. Travel operators have a responsibility to them leave them in a beneficial way, rather than detrimental. I personally hope I’ll be travelling within North America and across the globe as a public speaker, spreading the inspirational and motivating experiences of Exodus Travels.
We asked Exodus Travels, why Kent?
Kent is a BDM superhero who lives and breathes Exodus. He is passionate, proactive and truly dedicates every waking moment to furthering our brand in North America. Plus, Kent’s nickname is “party pants” because he has an amazing collection of crazy pants, which look even crazier on his six-foot-tall frame.