Top Supplier Sales Reps of 2013

A travel advisor’s job would be even more challenging than it already is without the insight and support of sales representatives from the various industry companies that you use when booking a trip. We asked you, our readers, to pick the ones you feel are the best in the business. All nominees were written in; all we supplied were the categories. Here, gleaned from the hundreds of responses we received, are your choices for top supplier sales reps of 2013.

Ocean Cruising 

FIRST PLACE

Robert Tolster

Royal Caribbean International

Business Development Manager,

Long Island, NY, and New England

 

Robert Tolster
Robert Tolster

Robert Tolster took his first cruise in 2002 and vowed that if he ever had the opportunity to work for a cruise line, he would “jump at it.” Such an opportunity presented itself two years later and he joined the team at Royal Caribbean. “Seeing everything from the inside and learning about the industry and market segment from the ground up…made it clear for me what I wanted my future role to be.” For Tolster, success comes with drive and commitment. “I want my agents to succeed, and I take personal satisfaction and pride when together we find new ways to make my product work for them and their clients,” he says. As for the negative impression the cruise industry has received of late in light of unique and isolated incidents, Tolster says, “Remaining confident about my superior product and the key position it has in the marketplace, and being creative about how to market and sell it, will be paramount in moving past these temporary challenges.”

SECOND PLACE

Kelly Corbett

Royal Caribbean International

Business Development Manager, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts

 

Kelly Corbett
Kelly Corbett

 

From a young age, Kelly Corbett spent her time taking exotic vacations with her family, and because of this, she knew that a career in the industry was for her. “Once you work in the travel industry, it’s very hard to do anything else,” she says. “It’s exciting, romantic, fun and educational.” Corbett attributes her success to passion for the Royal Caribbean brand. “It also helps that I personally love to cruise and never tire of it,” she says. She tells us that visibility in the industry and responsiveness fosters important, solid relationships in helping to grow business. One of the biggest challenges in this business, according to Corbett, is being afraid of change. “You have to keep an open mind and adapt to an ever-changing marketplace. This is one of the reasons I love this industry. There is never a dull moment.”

THIRD PLACE

Tamara Matulonis

Norwegian Cruise Line

Business Development Specialist, 

New Jersey, Virginia

 

Tamara Matulonis
Tamara Matulonis

After graduating college in 2004, Tamara Matulonis began her travel career working outbound sales for Carnival Cruise Lines. “It was an amazing experience being able to work directly with clients and plan their once-in-a-lifetime vacation.” Now with Norwegian, she emphasizes that “providing the most accurate and detailed information will in the end make the clients’ vacation the best experience they ever had. I have traveled on over 15 cruises and have experienced many amazing destinations. To be able to pass this information on from personal experience is a great pleasure.” She adds, “I will never settle for what I already know, I am always looking for more education and experience.”  Toward that end, she also notes that these days, “It’s very important to keep up with current sales tools, such as Twitter, Facebook and other social media.” She advises all sellers of travel to “be positive, manage your time effectively, and have a strong ‘I can do it’ attitude at all times.”

 

Click through for Smaller Ship Cruises

 

SMALLER SHIP CRUISES

FIRST PLACE (tie)

Kris Emery

Silversea

Regional Sales Director, Eastern U.S.

 

Kris Emery
Kris Emery

Kris Emery has worked in the travel industry as a sales rep for more than 15 years, beginning with Royal Caribbean where she managed the New York/New Jersey region. After that, Emery joined Silversea in 2011 as an area sales director. She was recently promoted to regional sales director, Eastern U.S., and manages a team of five area sales directors. “I truly believe that in order to achieve success, you have to care about the travel agent community and become an advocate for them, whether it is helping them to solve a problem or to drive revenue through an idea,” Emery says. “You have to be visible, accessible and responsive. Going the extra mile is critical.”  You also have to love what your doing: “I’m passionate about my product and about making my clients successful which I hope creates…inspiration that leaves my [agents] selling Silversea long after I and my team has left the office.”

FIRST PLACE (tie)

Dottie Veneto

Crystal Cruises

District Sales Manager, Northeast U.S.

Dottie Veneto
Dottie Veneto

 

Dottie Veneto entered the travel industry as a motor coach operator for Collette Vacations in R.I., offering tours to Pennsylvania Dutch landmarks, New York City, Washington DC and Nova Scotia. Veneto went on to work in sales management for Collette, and later Norwegian Cruise Line, Delta Queen Steamboat and ultimately Crystal Cruises, where she maintains her current position developing new accounts for the Crystal brand. Veneto is quick to thank her team at Crystal Cruises for her success. “My current position at Crystal Cruises has afforded me the opportunity to work for what I believe to be the finest cruise product in the industry. I have enjoyed success at meeting goals, and developing new accounts for Crystal’s luxury brand,” she says, emphasizing that her successes “would not have been possible without my exceptional Crystal team.”

THIRD PLACE

Alan Baker

Seabourn Cruise Line and Holland America Line

Business Development Manager

 

Alan Baker
Alan Baker

Alan Baker has been involved in the travel industry for over 30 years, working with Holland America Line for 12 years and representing sister brand Seabourn Cruise Line for the past two years. Baker previously worked with travel agencies throughout the Southeast United States, and is now bringing his expertise to the Carolinas. Baker believes that agents should continue to adapt to changes in order to succeed, including embracing new technologies and using tools available to them from their vendors. According to Baker, using social media and specialist training programs can help provide more resources for agents to reach travelers. “I want to continue to share ideas on marketing and selling my products so my agencies and agents not only survive, but thrive in this terrific industry,” he says. 

 

Click through for River Cruises

 

 

RIVER CRUISES

FIRST PLACE

Donna Nightingale

Viking River Cruises

Director of Business Development, Northeast/New England

Donna Nightingale
Donna Nightingale

 

Donna Nightingale joined Viking River Cruises at the end of 2011 after working at Norwegian Cruise Line for 20 years as district sales manager. The switch was prompted after Nightingale fell in love with river cruising, and while she wasn’t looking to change careers, Viking River Cruises offered her the chance to promote something new. “When I was offered the position, I knew I had to be involved with promoting this beautiful product,” Nightingale says. Though her travel career began aboard the Norway, Nightingale grew to appreciate the intimacy of small ships and river cruising. “My success is a combination of a great product, a great company and great partners.”

 

Ken Cohen
Ken Cohen

SECOND PLACE (tie) 

Ken Cohen

Uniworld River Cruises

Sales Manager

Ken Cohen started out in the travel industry working with Avis Rent A Car, then moved on to focus on airlines and hotels before landing positions aboard cruise lines such as Dolphin/Majesty, Commodore/Crown, Cunard and Royal Olympic (formerly Sun Line). Cohen’s director of sales accepted a position as vice president of sales at Uniworld River Cruises in February 2001, and asked him to come along. Since then, Cohen has been with Uniworld with the exception of one year with Intrav/Clipper and six months with Uniworld’s sister company, Brendan Vacations. Cohen says he has become “completely” immersed in all things river cruising, adding that, “I’ve been very lucky to love what I do.”

SECOND PLACE (tie)

Elyse Reilly

Uniworld River Cruises

Sales Manager, New York/New England

 

Elyse Reilly
Elyse Reilly

Elyse Reilly began her career in the travel industry working on ships for Norwegian Cruise Line back in the late 1990s, before becoming an agent for Liberty Travel and then moving on as a regional customer service manager with Travelsavers in Oyster Bay, NY. In 2001, Reilly became a sales manager for Uniworld, covering primarily New York. Over time, she inherited six more states and now covers New England as well. Reilly attributes her background as a travel agent as the source of her drive to offer the best service possible to the agent community. “They are the greatest supporters of our product, upon which our success hinges upon,” Reilly says.

SECOND PLACE (tie)

Patricia Riley

AmaWaterways

Business Development Manager, Northeast U.S.

Patricia Riley has spent more than 30 years in the hospitality industry, first as a travel agent and then as regional sales manager for Royal Caribbean, Cunard Line and Seabourn. Most recently, she served as AmaWaterways’ business development manager for the New York/North East region. Riley believes that the key to making a cruise line successful lies in working with and empowering travel agents. “Agents are always so welcoming when I drop into their office,” Riley says. “They know I will represent a great product that they can sell with confidence.”

Patricia Riley
Patricia Riley

 

Click through for Hotels and Resorts

 

 

Hotels and Resorts 

FIRST PLACE

Daniel Scheiman 

El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels, 

Azul Hotels, by Karisma

Regional Sales and Marketing Manager

After studying international relations in college, Mexico City-born Daniel Scheiman felt that the travel industry offered an excellent opportunity for him to become an ambassador for Mexico, a role he says he is fulfilling at Karisma Hotels. “My primary job is to help the travel industry grow their business to Mexico,” he says. “As a bonus, I get to meet new people and create lasting relationships, all the while sharing my love of Mexico and its culture. I have met many wonderful travel agents, several of whom I consider life-long friends and mentors.” Scheiman advises sales representatives to focus on perseverance and relationships. “You never know what the tide will bring next...so always be positive and trust yourself,” he says. On June 1 he is being promoted to senior director of sales and marketing for Northern America.

 

Daniel Scheiman
Daniel Scheiman

 

SECOND PLACE

Ellyn Gerstel

Hard Rock Hotels & Resorts 

Business Development Manager

 

Ellyn Gerstel
Ellyn Gerstel

Ellyn Gerstel began her career in the travel industry in 1991 after graduating from college and has worked for various wholesalers and resorts. In addition to her work with Hard Rock Hotels & Resorts, she has held positions with the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Travel Agents of Nassau and Queens and Travel Agents of Suffolk County. “My advice is to be true to your word and make sure you always follow up,” she says. “Never make a promise you cannot fulfill. Make sure you know your product and always listen to what the customer is saying.” Gerstel also preaches turning the Internet from an enemy into an ally. “I see it as a way for travel professionals to enhance their strength,” she says. “The knowledge that a travel professional can offer is priceless; the Internet can educate consumers and agents, but it cannot, on its own, define the travel needs for the consumer in an intelligent manner.”

THIRD PLACE

Carl Grupp

Destination Hotels & Resorts Royal Palms Resort and Spa and Miramonte Resort & Spa

Director of Leisure and Corporate Sales

Carl Grupp realized early on that the travel industry could offer far more than just a paycheck and a career-path. “It has offered me an opportunity to see the world and build friendships that will last a lifetime,” he says. “One of the best parts of this industry to me is its varied and fast-paced nature,” he adds. “With such a lively environment, it’s imperative that you develop a structured schedule that is right for you. Each day is different, but it can quickly control you without thoughtful design.” Grupp also stresses the importance of balancing technologies with personal interaction, which he says can be a challenge in the industry. Regarding Destination Hotels & Resorts, he says, “We have a great story to tell. As our company grows, it will be vital for us to continue to spread the word.”

 

Carl Grupp
Carl Grupp

Click through for All-Inclusives

 

 

ALL-INCLUSIVES

FIRST PLACE

Graeme Laudenslager 

Club Med

Business Development Manager, 

Los Angeles and Ventura Counties

 

Graeme Laudenslager
Graeme Laudenslager

Graeme Laudenslager started his career with Japan & Orient Tours as a tour guide, then created J&O Air and ended as the company’s marketing manager. Qantas Vacations called and the next few years were all about helping create Air Tickets and representing a great product, he says. Brendan Tours purchased Air Tickets, so a few years were again spent helping a prominent company sell its product. His next venture was ownership of a successful meetings and incentive agency, followed by six “wonderful years,” and counting, with Club Med. “My passion for travel started with a Caribbean Cruise with a friend’s family,” he says. “I realized upon my return that travel was a new love.” By way of giving advice, he notes that, “My success has come from creating and maintaining relationships.” It helps, he adds, to “have a great product.” 

SECOND PLACE

Eva Wajda

Karisma Hotels + Resorts

Regional Sales & Marketing Manager, Midwest U.S.

Eva Wajda started in the hotel industry seven years ago. From a very young age, she says, “I have always loved to travel and learn about different cultures. Being part of a company such as Karisma really opened the door to do what I like to do best and I became very passionate about it. I love the hotels—and what better way to live than promoting them and also being an ambassador of my lovely Mexico.” She enjoys seeing her travel agent friends and notes, “I will always remember their hospitality, the way we became friends, and even went to a football game together.” In that vein, Wajda’s advice to her fellow sales reps is to “get to know your agents, learn about their needs and always be straight with them, so we can grow together.”

Eva Wajda
Eva Wajda

THIRD PLACE

Kelly Stanton Endres 

Club Med

Business Development Manager, 

Washington, D.C., Mid-Atlantic Region

Kelly Stanton Endres had a love for travel from a young age, probably because her parents were always taking her and her sister on vacation. It was some place different each time, from visiting relatives on the Jersey Shore and exploring New England to beach and Disney vacations in Florida to trips out west, to Canada and to the Caribbean. “My two loves were marketing and travel, which worked out perfectly for my career-path,” she says. She advises travel sellers to not be afraid to ask questions “and ask for help when you need it. I have found that most people in this industry are genuinely caring and are willing to lend a hand and offer any needed advice.” She points to increased numbers of consumers purchasing travel online, rather than through a travel consultant (especially the younger generation) as the main challenge facing the supplier industry, and that’s where such personal interaction is important. “I have always viewed myself as more of a consultant to my travel partners than a sales rep,” she says.

 

Kelly Stanton Enderes
Kelly Stanton Enderes

 

Click through for Tour Operators and Wholesalers

 

 

TOUR OPERATORS AND WHOLESALERS

FIRST PLACE

Jennifer Reynolds

Trafalgar Tours

District Sales Manager

Jennifer Reynolds is a repeat Top Supplier Sales Rep, having been recognized last year as well. She pursued travel and tourism in college and worked her way through school holding various positions at hotels. She continued working throughout the industry after graduation, traveling as often as possible. Now with Trafalgar, she works hard to maintain her relationships and reputation within the industry. “It is an honor to again be nominated and selected for a Top Sales Rep award,” she adds. “I believe the expression of confidence by the travel agent community is a reflection of my enthusiasm for travel and the product I represent, my demonstrated respect for our travel agent partners, and my personal acknowledgment for the agents’ efforts and sales.” Beyond that, she adds, “I have the best agents ever to work with.”

 

Jennifer Reynolds
Jennifer Reynolds

 

SECOND PLACE

Lil Musmanno 

Classic Vacations

Business Development Manager

 

Lil Musmanno
Lil Musmanno

Lil Musmanno is being recognized for the third time in her field, the culmination of more than 30 years in the industry. She has been with Classic Vacations for 14 years as business development manager covering New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, upstate New York and Bermuda. Her career in the industry began as a travel agent before she became a district sales manager for Carlson Wagonlit’s Associate Program, followed by national sales manager for Travel Impressions. Musmanno has remained on top over the years by staying focused on the latest trends and the ever-changing needs of travel advisors in her territory. “Lil is known for having a great energy and spirit that really connects her with her customers,” says Dave Ferran, senior director of sales at Classic Vacations. “Her dedication to the industry together with years of experience has earned her the trust and confidence of both existing and new agents she supports.”

THIRD PLACE (tie)

Kathie DeVincenzo

Central Holidays Travel Group

Regional Sales Manager, Mid Atlantic

 

Kathie DeVincenzo
Kathie DeVincenzo

Kathie DeVincenzo is also a repeat winner, having been listed as a 2012 Top Supplier Sales Rep for the same role when she was at Travelsavers last year. She began her career at Avis Rent a Car in 1978 and stayed there until 1984. “For the past 10 years I covered the northeast U.S. in field sales positions at Palace Resorts, SuperClubs Resorts and Travelsavers. In December, I was honored to represent the United States as a delegate at the International Travel Conference in Israel.” When asked why agents keep nominating her as a Top Supplier Sales Rep, she says, “I treat everyone with respect. Agents trust me, knowing I always keep their confidences and have their best interest at heart.” She is also a member of several industry organizations, including Eastern Travel Association, Professional Travel Agents of North America, Travel Agents of Brooklyn and Staten Island, and Association of Central Jersey Travel Professionals.

THIRD PLACE (tie)

Sue Sheehan   

Travel Impressions

Director of Sales, Northeast U.S.

 

Sue Sheehan
Sue Sheehan

Sue Sheehan holds the honor of having made our Top Supplier Sales Rep list every year that the magazine has held the awards. She has been with Travel Impressions for 15 years, and helped create American Express’ “cancel for any reason” waiver, one of the first in the travel protection plans. “I love my job and the people [I] work with in my area,” she says. “My agents are not only my colleagues, but they have become my friends and family.” Travel Impressions (recently acquired from Amex by Apple Leisure Group) is also her family, she adds, and is “always there” for her and her customers. “My visits with my agents are like a homecoming. Thanks to all of them for their votes.”

 

Click through for Car Rental

 

 

CAR RENTAL

Frank Salmonese

Auto Europe/Excellent Hotels/Fly International

Sales Manager, New York State (excluding New York City)

This is the third consecutive time Frank Salmonese has won top honors in the Car Rental category, and he attributes his success to his loyalty toward travel agents and ability to resolve a crisis quickly. “When I was with Royal Olympic Cruises, I had a large group departing from JFK Airport to Greece,” he says. “One of the group members thought she had her passport but had forgotten it at home. I had to make arrangements to fly her back home, which involved taking her to La Guardia and making a reservation at the Marriott hotel until she could fly the next morning. “The passenger was 82 and very worried about her stay alone without her group. I made arrangements with the hotel to have an early morning wake-up call and a staff member transfer her to the correct terminal. I told her son what flight number and airline she would be arriving on for him to pick her up.”

Frank Salmonese
Frank Salmonese

 

Click through for Consortia

 

 

CONSORTIA

FIRST PLACE

Pamela Irwin

Ensemble Travel Group

Business Development Director, 

Western U.S.

 

Pamela Irwin
Pamela Irwin

One of 10 children, Pamela Irwin was always taught to follow the Golden Rule—advice that she attributes to her success. “I truly care about helping others,” she says. “I gain as much knowledge as possible and share it freely with all of my colleagues.” Irwin began her career working for a variety of hotel companies, from International Hotel to Sheraton, ATI and Disney Destinations. But for her, it is the people she has met along the way that have really shaped her love for this industry. “The travel agents, the suppliers, the sales reps, the industry leaders—they are what makes this great industry what it is.” Irwin believes that education is the number one way to stay on top of your game in this industry. “There is so much information out there. We need to constantly educate ourselves and never stop learning. We can then better advise our agents and their customers [to] sort through everything that is available.”

SECOND PLACE

Ellen Harris

Ensemble Travel Group

Business Development Director, 

South and Southwest

Ellen Harris began working in the travel industry at the age of 18, first with National Car Rental and then American Airlines, before landing her gig with Ensemble. Success for Harris comes from a combination of knowing your product and problem-solving. “There’s a big difference between the two,” she says. “It has helped that I’ve been in a travel agent’s shoes during my career and can understand where our members are coming from.” Attracting young enthusiasts into the travel business is one of the challenges she faces. “We all have a personal obligation to serve as ambassadors of our future,” she says. This means interacting with the Gen-Ys to demystify the role of the travel professional for what it really is—“the business of creating experiences and dreams for your clients.”

Ellen Harris
Ellen Harris

 

THIRD PLACE

Michael Spinelli

Account Development Manager, Northeast

Michael Spinelli
Michael Spinelli

 

Michael Spinelli started in the business working summers during college in the 1980s for Vacation.com’s predecessor, ACTION 6. “By the third year, I had covered every one of my 700 New England accounts.” He later moved on to marketing and communications, working directly with the company’s artist. “I could give him how I wanted to phrase a message to our member agencies and he would bring it to life.” Spinelli also did some work on the vendor side. “We used to do a lot of vendor ‘road shows’ throughout New England and up and down the East Coast. I really enjoy public speaking.” Since Vacation.com took over ACTION 6 some 12 years ago, he says that things “simply keep getting more interesting in terms of what we can deliver for members.” His advice to sales reps just starting out: “Plan your work and work your plan. And never forget there is no substitute for sitting in an office with a travel agent.”

 

Click through for Travel Insurance

 

 

TRAVEL INSURANCE

FIRST PLACE

Joelle Goldman

National Account Executive 

CSA Travel Protection

Joelle Goldman
Joelle Goldman

 

Joelle Goldman has worked in the travel industry in various capacities for nearly 20 years now. “I started as a travel agent, then moved into management, working as a district sales manager, a retail sales and operations manager, regional director and finally VP of sales and product,” she recalls. “I moved into the travel insurance side of the business in 2011.” She credits her success to a combination of motivation and caring. “It’s more about caring about my clients and ensuring they have the right products and services than just making a sale,” she says. “I have also had some great mentors—professors and managers alike—who taught me well. I enjoy seeing other people succeed and have found that when you are helping others, you get lifted up as well.”

SECOND PLACE

Eric Andersen 

Travelex Insurance Services

Regional Sales Manager, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin

 

Eric Andersen
Eric Andersen

Eric Andersen, who has been based in his hometown of Chicago for the last two years of his 14-year career with Travelex, says, “My customers would say my greatest challenge is reaching 

things [I’m only five-feet tall] but professionally I think the greatest challenge is organizing my time to make sure I don’t lose the personal touches,” he says. “I’m a big fan of hand-written cards, making sure I acknowledge individual customer accomplishments and personal visits. Nothing replaces actually going out and visiting my clients.” Andersen feels that he owes his success to several things, including his parents’ advice to treat people as he wanted to be treated, the quality of his customers and the whole Travelex team. “I work with the best people in the industry, and if I need assistance there is always someone available to help out—our call center, marketing, IT, licensing, product support, sales support, management, an incredible director and the best coworkers you could ask for.”

THIRD PLACE

Dan Breen

Travel Guard

Director of Retail Sales 

 

Dan Breen
Dan Breen

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Dan Breen’s earliest memory of the allure of travel was laying on a beach in an island paradise. “But being one of six kids, that island was Coney,” he says. Breen has worked in the travel industry for almost 40 years, starting with Travelers Insurance and now for 12 years with Travel Guard, servicing agency accounts in New York and New Jersey. “We travel insurance reps don’t sell a tangible product…a ship, a resort, a tour,” he acknowledges, “but rather an ‘idea,’ one of safety, security, peace of mind. Sure, the customer gets a piece of paper with a policy number on it, but that paper is just a promise. I’ve always seen my challenge as making my travel agent partners comfortable with this idea and convinced that they’re bringing value to our customers’ travel experience. Once the “what-ifs” and worries are addressed, then the excitement of the trip can really begin. Happy customers equal return customers.” 

 

Click through for GDS Provider

 

 

GDS PROVIDER

Sarah A. Gann

Amadeus 

Business Development Manager, 

North America, Pacific Northwest, Hawaii and Alaska

 

Sarah A. Gann
Sarah A. Gann

Another returning winner, Sarah A. Gann took top honors in the GDS Provider category in 2010. The self-described puzzle lover has had a wild 2012 in which she had to juggle the Western Canada region in addition to her own territory. “During that time I established a relationship with many new customers, renewed ties with one of our larger Western Canadian customers and received an Amadeus Standing Ovation award for the most sales of our new product, Amadeus Offers,” Gann says. “Juggling two territories was quite a challenge, but very rewarding, and it gave me a lot of insight about what our customers needed and what worked for them.” Gann attributes her success to her ability to ask the right questions of a customer. Once, when working the front desk at a hotel, she had a customer who needed directions to an office 45 minutes away. With effective questioning, Gann was able to discover that there was a closer office that could meet the customer’s needs. 

 

Click through for International Tourist Board

 

 

INTERNATIONAL TOURIST BOARD

FIRST PLACE

Lorine Charles-St. Jules 

Saint Lucia Tourism Board

Regional Marketing Manager

 

Lorine Charles-St Jules
Lorine Charles-St Jules

Lorine Charles-St. Jules joined the industry while residing in her native island of Saint Lucia. After a short stint in the hotel industry, she quickly moved on to analyzing product development and planning of recreational sites, attractions and accommodations. “I love to share that I have visited most of the ‘main’ Caribbean islands as I am a former National Table Tennis Champion for Saint Lucia,” she says. “So even in this sports role I developed a quick passion for travel.” She eventually moved to the U.S., where she was posted to expand the market share for Saint Lucia. “The job requires a genuine love for the product you represent,” she says. “It doesn’t hurt at all to love people and interact with them since this is a people’s business.” Having also led under the same category last year, Charles-St. Jules says, “Winning a second time, I am honored by this endorsement. It confirms that the travel trade is seeking comprehensive knowledge, loyal partnerships and reliable experience to grow their business.”

SECOND PLACE

Harriette E. Smith 

Barbados Tourism Authority 

Business Development Manager, Quebec, Eastern Ontario and Atlantic Canada

 

Harriette E. Smith
Harriette E. Smith

Watching the movie The Sound of Music sparked Harriette E. Smith’s love of travel. “From the opening shot of Julie Andrews singing the theme song, I was hooked and it was my dream to travel to Salzburg,” she says, “a dream that was realized many years later when I attended the Institute of  Tourism and Hotel Management in Salzburg where I studied tourism management.” She then had short stints in Germany and Italy where she learned the languages. It was her knowledge of German that led her to apply for a position with the Barbados Tourism Authority. “Barbados is a fabulous island and as such enhances my efforts in selling the destination,” she says. “I maintain equanimity in all aspects of my responsibilities—dealing with consumers, travel partners, media, colleagues, etc. I approach all aspects of the job with sincerity and a love for my country.”

THIRD PLACE

John Woolcock

Jamaica Tourist Board

District Sales Manager, West, Southwest & Southeast USA

A love for his country, Jamaica, and an appreciation of travel led John Woolcock to the Jamaica Tourist Board in 1986. “It was really the merger of my passions that steered my career and I am constantly striving to demonstrate my enthusiasm for the destination, through my interaction in the market,” says Woolcock. He points to technology as the biggest challenge facing agents and suppliers. While the JTB continues to embrace technology, “We are always mindful of the interest of the retail travel agents who have been our biggest supporters throughout the years,” he says. “The key is to leverage technology to strengthen the relationships that we have.” He advises his fellow reps to “Take time to know your clients and understand their needs and the challenges they face. By approaching sales in this manner, we are best positioned to serve our clients and represent our company while creating a winning environment for all.” 

 

John Woolcock
John Woolcock