Have you ever seen screaming kids on a plane, their flushed red faces looking absolutely terrified?
Janice Brice was one of them. However, this did not deter her from choosing a career in travel. The office manager and travel consultant for TravelSmiths, Inc., based in Point Pleasant, NJ, first got a taste of travel at two years old, “That is when I took my first airplane flight with my parents, from New York to California, to see my grandfather and step-grandmother,” she says. By the time she was 10, Brice had been to 16 states.
Janice Brice, a NASCAR enthusiast, takes her work on the road
In 1997, Brice was in between jobs. As luck would have it, her friend Sally Jane Smith, a home-based agent affiliated with a local agency, asked Brice to help her organize her home office. “I started out helping with her accounting, writing letters, setting up invoices and documents for her clients," she remembers. "From there, I was helping her book hotel rooms and rental cars.” Eleven years later, the pair is still working together.
When it comes to dealing with suppliers, Brice admits that she is old-fashioned. “I still like to speak with people on the phone,” she says. However, she does see the benefits of new technology. “With the creation of the Internet, I find it is a valuable research tool for the detailed information, which I might not find in other places.” Other resources include brochures, hotel directories and any other form of information she can get her hands on.
As far as specialties are concerned, Brice’s list of credentials runs the gamut. She is a Master Graduate from the College of Disney Knowledge, Certified Sandals & Beaches Specialist/Gold Status, Las Vegas Certified Specialist, Hawaii Destination Specialist and Bermuda Specialist, as well as a specialist with Club Med, Norwegian Cruise Line, Universal Studios, Marriott Hotels, Hyatt Hotels and the Cayman Islands, to name a few.
To keep educated about the industry, Brice has been a member of the Association of Central Jersey Travel Professionals since 1997. The local organization in Monmouth & Ocean counties, NJ has more than 250 members that meet once per month. “We network with other agents in our area, and also have a vendor product presentation each month,” she says. “We also have smaller educational seminars in between the monthly meetings.” Besides local networking, Brice subscribes to trade publications, attends vendors’ seminars, trade shows, fam trips, ship inspections and conventions.
Brice has also done extensive traveling since that initial trip at two years old. Currently on the agenda, she is planning trips to Sandals Dunn’s River, Disney World and a Disney cruise. She puts St. Lucia up there as one of her favorite destinations, but says that now that she has been to 31 states, “pretty much any of the 19 states I have not yet been to,” are her potential favorites.