She may be one of the most positive, calmest and spiritually grounded Travel Advisors you ever meet, but even Samantha Smith wishes she could change one thing about the industry.
While most pray for a pay rise, title change, shift in responsibilities or change in management, the Travel Advisor from Duck Creek Mountain Travel wishes fellow consultants would join her in using less waste.
In a Q&A with KARRYON, Samantha said it makes her sad to see how much paper and plastic the travel sector goes through from brochures to travel documents.
Smith explained that much of the waste was unnecessary, and she was glad to see brands such as Chimu Adventures and Tucan Travel leading a shift away from current wastage loads.
“Maybe in a few years these will be a thing of the past.”
Samantha Smith, Duck Creek Mountain Travel Advisor
Read on for more of our chat with Samantha:
How long have you been a Travel Advisor?
I’ve been a Travel Advisor for 10 years on and off. I got my ‘Trainee Consultant’ job at TUI fresh out of college! I’ve had a few little breaks but always come back for more!
What made you want to become a consultant?
I’ve always been obsessed with travel and from the age of about 10, I’d write and design my own travel brochures (mostly on Disneyland). I’d watch every travel TV program going and drive my parents mad by ordering all the free holiday planning DVDs!
I used to cry on the last day of every trip and look forward to going back to the travel agency to book the next one. I just wanted to be like that nice lady who made holiday dreams come true.
How does the job compare to what you pictured it to be?
It’s way more diverse than I had ever imagined; which I love! You need to be constantly adapting and growing within your role.
What are some of your favourite things about being a Travel Advisor?
Meeting people from all walks of life and finding that common ground… travel! I love getting my clients excited for their trip and seeing the sparkle in their eyes when they come back to tell me about their experience.
I love to recommend secret spots from my experience and I love working in my team. I also adore exploring new destinations and learning about interesting new cultures first hand.
What are some aspects of being an Advisor that you’d like to change?
I’d change the fact we use so much paper and plastic! Brochures, travel wallets, pages of printed docs etc. It all makes me so sad! However, it is nice to see there is a shift happening and maybe in a few years these will be a thing of the past.
What do you think are some of the biggest challenges Travel Advisors face?
Aside from the obvious ones: online booking sites, the paradox of choice, using us as a free information service etc, I personally struggle with the ethical balance between selling the client the product they want and what I feel is right in my heart.
This may not be a struggle for all Advisors, but it’s one I face as an environmentalist. I like to minimise our collective carbon footprint and help all travellers become responsible travellers. Again, many companies are doing amazing work with this, and I’m excited for the eco-tourism movement.
Are you scared of how technology has reshaped the role of Travel Advisors? And how have you embraced technological changes to your role?
I wouldn’t say I’m scared, we just have to be aware of everything going on around us and learn to adapt very quickly. I focus on what I am better at vs technology, for instance, service, specialist knowledge and building rapport with my clients.
I like to look at technology as a good thing; making our lives easier with marketing/booking/ticketing and allowing us more time to focus our energy on our people.
We have the entire world at our fingertips, so I try to embrace technology as much as possible! I educate myself with destinations I’m unfamiliar with, advertise my store, send out personalised client communications and use it to work smartly and seamlessly.
What’s next on your bucket list?
I’ve recently booked flights to Albania as I’ve recently discovered I’m 17% Albanian (definitely a Gypsy!). So I’d like to check it out and meet some of the locals. It seems to be relatively untouched, so I’m looking forward to the adventure.
- READ: How Jo Patton booked 400 travellers on her Crafty Adventures
- READ: Meet Travel Counsellor’s Jake Cassar
- READ: 5 things Advisors can do to ensure clients keep coming back
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