Travel Agents

“Personal experiences are the best sales tool”: MTA advisor on how she achieved work/TRAVEL/life balance

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

We all know the importance of achieving a good work/life balance.

To keep your head in the right place, you’ve got to find that sweet spot of satisfaction in your work and having the freedom to make time for the things that matter to you, whether it be family, friends, hobbies or a side hustle.

But for travel advisors, this often looks a little different: to stay ahead of your game, you’ve got to be well travelled enough to provide your clients with sound advice which often means having a calendar bursting with famil trips, conferences, roadshows and brochure launches.

Jet-setting around the globe is a fantastic job perk, but it tends to throw a spanner in the works when it comes to maintaining that all important work/life balance, which tends to become work/TRAVEL/life balance.

To get some tips on the best way to keep your balance, we had a chat with an agent who has been on more international trips this year than many people achieve in their lifetime. Kathy Thomaidis, a home-based advisor for Mobile Travel Agents (MTA), travelled overseas a whopping eight times in 2018, but with the support of her agency, she didn’t have to sweat the small stuff.

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Here’s what she had to say.

Travel Weekly: How has your agency helped to facilitate a good work/travel/life balance?

Kathy Thomaidis: I have been a part of MTA for three years now and being a home-based agent allows me the flexibility to create my own working hours.

I could never go back to working 9 to 5 in an office, I love the freedom it gives me to plan my working day around what I have on. I never have to miss out on a lunch with friends or an event. I catch up on work when it suits me.

When I go away, the MTA Assistance team is there to look after my clients, it is a relief to know they are in good hands.

TW: What made you decide to become a home-based agent?  

KT: Having been in the industry for over 17 years, I was looking for the next step in my career.  I knew I wanted to run my own business, choose my own hours and increase my earnings. Having done my research, the MTA business model was a perfect fit

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TW: You went on a lot of trips last year, how were you able to balance this with your work requirements?

KT: Yes, it was a big travel year for me in 2018. Eight international trips.  I had to make sure I was super organised before I went away. My laptop usually comes with me, as I like to keep on top of things and check emails.

I call on the MTA Assistance team when required and they are fantastic. It also enables me to switch off completely if I need to.

TW: Eight trips is huge! Where did you go and how did you come by so many great opportunities? 

KT: The trips I took last year were made up of famils, conferences, personal holidays and prizes I had won at various roadshows, brochure launches and travel functions.

I do a lot of the online training that is available to agents through the National Tourism offices for various countries, they have great training platforms. As a result, I got invited to Japan, New Zealand, Austria and Canada. I was also invited to attend the Japan Luxury Showcase by the JNTO and took part in a wonderful fam trip prior to attending the event in Tokyo, ANTO invited me to the Austrian Destination Summit in Vienna, I took part in the 100% Pure New Zealand Specialist Fam of the North Island, I attended Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas and took part in a post-conference fam trip to Mexico. From there I took the opportunity to add Cuba on as a personal holiday.

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On top of all that, I attended an exclusive MTA luxury fam trip to Los Angeles and I was invited on the Canada Specialist Program Winter Fam!

After all those trips I needed a personal holiday, so I went to Cyprus to visit family and got to travel to Malaysia with my mum thanks to winning a prize at the Shangri la Sales mission.

TW: Jealous! Why do you think travelling is such an integral part of your job? 

KT: It’s a common question asked by clients, “Have you been there?” and I love it when I can say yes! It gives my clients the confidence to put their trust in me.

Sharing my personal travel experiences is the best sales tool. I am in this industry for my love of travel, and I want to keep learning and experiencing new places.

TW: What sets MTA apart from other home-based agencies?

It’s been said before, MTA is a family and I have felt that from day one. We have a wonderful support and assistance team at head office, with afterhours support and IT support included.

I love the fact that there are no surprises when it comes to fees and charges. It’s all very transparent and you get to choose your own GDS, which makes life much easier!

There is training readily available via the MTA Professional Plus platform which was released last year.

I feel I am part of an elite group of agents, with so much knowledge that is shared through our closed Facebook Group, there is never a question that can’t be answered.

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