Today we sit down and talk the big questions with Lee Evanson, State Manager WA at Insight Vacations. And as it turns out, he held up very well under questioning.
The challenge for the industry is… The challenge for the industry as a whole is innovation. Guests are more savvy and travel aware than ever before. Many of our guests have travelled globally to a significant amount of destinations.
It is crucial we keep evolving and pushing the boundaries to what we can offer and where we travel to without losing the qualities and experiences which make us unique.
The things I like about my job… The daily interactions with the trade showcasing a first class product, having the opportunity to speak with potential guests and opening their eyes to what Insight Vacations is all about.
I also love learning about new places and being inspired to travel.
And the frustrations are… Not many frustrations, probably my only one is peoples misconceived perceptions of what we offer. Guests and sometimes the odd agent undervalue what an escorted journey is really like.
The term coach tour is stigmatised and it isn’t until guests and agents experience a journey with us then they really realise the method of transportation is a small portion of what Insight Vacations is about.
Looking back on my personal experiences, I have a heap of memories from roasting s’mores over a fire overlooking Emerald Lake in the Rockies or being lucky enough to hear live raw blues music in BB Kings bar in Memphis to finally all the friends I have made along the way.
It’s the shared experiences which make the journey so special, they become addictive…no wonder guests come back and do seven, eight or nine itineraries.
If I didn’t work in travel I would be… A geography teacher. That’s still technically travel but I would love to teach and maybe pass on some of my experiences when I am older.
When I was studying back in England one of my lecturers was previously an air hostess and she had travelled the world extensively. Her stories and experiences were pretty inspirational and it gave me the travel bug to seek new frontiers.
Favourite airline? Qatar Airways. I’ve flown with them a number of times and once was able to enjoy their business class offerings. The service and attention to detail was second to none.
My proudest moment was… Personally – being with my wife to witness the births of our beautiful children Henry & Isla and professionally – being awarded Global Sales Manager of the year in Venice in 2015.
The naughtiest thing I ever did was… Probably best to keep it travel related, I was on Hollywood Boulevard a number of years ago and following an awards evening and a few too many drinks I persuaded the taxi driver to take me up into the hills to find David Beckham’s house.
I claimed I knew him from back home, we didn’t get too far when the driver admitted he wasn’t sure who he was and where he lived. Looking back now it was pretty dumb but it seemed a good idea at the time.
I try to relax by… Mainly by spending time with my family, I work sometimes multiple weekends during our peak selling periods so time with them is precious.
I also love listening to music, any genre but house music is my passion and I love watching documentaries and going the movies!
The last time I feared for my life was… Probably quite a few years ago in Egypt, I was snorkelling over the reef and I got caught in a ripe tide, it was a struggle to get back.
If I can, I always try to avoid… Ikea. Without a doubt that place could break up the strongest relationship and I have had a fair few disasters at home too…I could tell you a funny story but maybe another time.
I really wish I had… The ability to time travel. Maybe I would do one or two things differently or the ability to teleport myself anywhere.
Meaning no more long haul flights and I could alternate between the UK and Australia in an instant.
The best advice I’ve ever received was… I have had lots over the years but maybe a simple one is “Always see it through to the solution.”
Especially in my role, I think our partners think more of you if you stick with issues or problems all the way to the end. I believe a phonecall or a visit is worth a lot more than an email.
I don’t understand why people… Believe belittling others will make themselves feel good. Don’t worry about anyone else concentrate on yourself.
My greatest weakness is… Lack of self appreciation. I am very self critical and I think sometimes I should be happy with what I have achieved. Also I find it hard to say no…
And my greatest strength is… Hardwork, I give everything and more to my role and if I am not working flat out I feel like I am not contributing as much as I should, so I just keep pushing.
If I won a $1 million lottery (aside from travelling), I would… Look after my family here and back home in England. They mean the world to me and it is what I value most.
If I was prime minister I would… Try to re-establish a better balance in society, work hard on social intergration espcially within multicultural societies. I would invest heavily in education and healthcare, look more at renewable energy and definitely give a few more public holidays.
If I could be someone else for one day I would be a… Manchester United Football Player. I have idolised the team since a young boy and it would be my ultimate dream to step out onto Old Trafford infront of the Stretford end.
I’ve always wanted to travel to… Peru, it’s the one destination which has captured my imagination since I started in travel. The mysterious Lost City and the Inca people, I actually try to avoid watching videos of it so I don’t spoilt it for myself.
Our Luxury Gold itinerary Treasures of the Incas would be the perfect way to see it too!
My favourite holiday was… I have enjoyed many amazing holidays in Devon & Cornwall as a child but maybe my favourite was a family holiday to the French Riveria.
It has an incredible coastline and a little town called Mandelieu-La Napoule outside of Cannes was a hidden gem. Check it out!