My Interview with Open Jaw

with Sheila Gallant-Halloran of Travel Counsellors in Ottawa

How long have you been in the business? About three years – I was an actuary for 20 years so while the financial background comes in handy, this is a heck of a lot more fun!

And now you’re the top selling agent for Travel Counsellors in Canada. Yes, I was very thrilled to receive that award, but the one that matters more is that my colleagues voted me Most Helpful Travel Counsellor.  

Do you have a specialty? Disney World – I’ve been there at least 15 times, including on my honeymoon. I provide my clients with a customized spread sheet of activities and events – they find it really useful.

What drives you crazy? Not closing a sale – I know no one has 100 % closure but it nags me if I don’t close the sale.

If you could have a secret weapon what would be it be? Video phoning with clients. You can tell so much by someone’s expression!

How do you keep up on industry affairs? Industry sites – certainly Open Jaw – as well as consumer publications. And we really rely on our colleagues around the world.

What was your biggest individual sale? A $50,000 African safari. I relied a lot on my Travel Counsellor colleagues in South Africa – they even advised which side of Victoria Falls to stand on for the best view!

Do you have a magic sentence to close the sale? “Can I go ahead and book that for you today?”

If you could have any job in the business what would it be? Taking people on tours of Disney World.

Any time management strategies? Just a to-do list every day and reminding myself to not let the urgent take over what’s more important.  

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? Lynda Sinclair (Travel Counsellors General Manager for Canada) reminds us that if you keep throwing spaghetti against the wall, some of it’s bound to stick – and if you throw lots, you won’t be upset with the ones that don’t.

If you had to spend six months in a destination, which one would it be?  Hawaii – fabulous weather and fantastic beaches!