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Sharing Her Love of TravelOctober 1, 2007 By: Debbie Strong Home-Based Travel Agent
Staying visible in the community and treating everyone like family helps Becky Hunt run a successful business
This past September marked two years since she's been running a travel agency out of her home, but Rebecca—or Becky, as she's known to her friends and clients—Hunt has been in the industry for 21 years. In that time, she's become an Italy specialist and a Hawaii expert, visiting the Aloha State at least twice a year for the past 20 years. Agent BIO
"I love selling travel. It's such a great place to be doing what you love and enjoying the travel experience as well," she says.
Hunt was first attracted to the profession after seeing a television commercial for an agent certification course. "It was literally a spur of the moment decision," she recalls, "but the timing was perfect. The idea of an exciting career in travel appealed to me, so I signed myself up." Upon completion, she got a lead for a job with Voyager, a small agency that was later bought by Protravel, the luxury agency where she is now and has been since 2004.
Hunt, works out of a room in her home that contains her client files and a computer with access to up-to-the-minute airline information. She visits the main office of ProTravel Inc. at least once a week, and has her e-mail accessible at all times.
"My Blackberry is always with me. It's absolutely necessary for a home-based agent to have one. I was in Tahiti last September, and my clients had no idea that I wasn't in the office. I never stopped working or was ever out of reach," she says.
A self-proclaimed "early bird," Hunt is working by 6 a.m. every day and usually stops around 3 or 4 p.m. The home-based lifestyle allows her to spend time with her husband and twin stepdaughters, age 17.
"They are happy with my career," she says of her family. "We love to travel. Once a year we take a family vacation, and my husband and I will take another trip each year." Family favorites, she says, include cruises, Europe, and—of course—Hawaii. "People often think I will eventually move to Hawaii. I just love visiting all the islands for different reasons. There is no better way to sell than to sell what you know," she says. "That's another benefit of using an agent: our connections. It's not only what you know but who you know that makes the difference." For Hunt, being successful also comes from being visible in the community; she's a well-known member of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and is active in the area's fitness scene. Her clients are always referring their friends. Perhaps most importantly, "I plan every vacation as if it were my own or a family member's," says Hunt. "I'm able to build trust right from the start."
One more helpful secret: "I owe my continued success to getting right back to clients after they first notify me. I usually impress the client at how quickly I get back to them. I let them know what I am working on and how long it will take me to get back to them, and stick to it. It's all part of the first impression."
— Debbie Strong