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Saturday,  July 13, 2024 1:27 PM 

Monday Minute: Faith Sproule of Niche Travel Group

  • Agency
  •   06-03-2024  8:01 am
  •   Pax Global Media

Monday Minute: Faith Sproule of Niche Travel Group
Faith Sproule of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia is owner of Niche Travel Group. (Supplied)
Pax Global Media

The Monday Minute is a weekly feature in PAX that highlights the movers, shakers, leaders and rule breakers in Canada's travel advisor community. Wanna be profiled? Wanna nominate someone? Email!

Name: Faith Sproule

Business: Niche Travel Group

Where do you live? Dartmouth, NS

How long have you been a travel advisor? Advisor for 19 years. Owner of the Niche Travel Group for eight years.

What is your specialty? River and luxury cruises.

What inspired you to become a travel advisor?

I finished my degree in Western Literature and Civilization, travelled the world for three years, and settled down in Nova Scotia where I opened a small fruit and flower stand. Flight Centre opened a storefront across from my little business, and a staff member mentioned that they were always looking for university-educated salespeople with extensive travel experience. I thought, "That's me.”

What’s the first trip you ever took?

As an adult, my first trip was to Nice, France during my last semester at university. It was a game changer and it set me on a completely different path.

What travel trends are you seeing these days?

Canadians had been taught to hold off and wait for a sale, but they are now ready to book 18 months in advance for their luxury experiences and a year ahead for sun destinations. The last-minute "deal" booking pattern is rapidly declining.

Clients of all ages are seeking exotic and adventure travel. Our hosted tours to Morocco, Peru, Italy, yoga retreats, and biking excursions are selling exceptionally well. In the luxury market, river cruises, yacht sailings, expedition and small-ship luxury cruises are booming!

Of all the bookings you’ve made, which itinerary are you most proud of?

We are about to launch our next full-ship river cruise charter with Canadian musician Alan Doyle. This was a passion project that has turned into the best week of my year. More than 60 per cent of the ship was filled instantly by past guests, and lifelong friendships have been created with guests from all over Canada and the United States. Alan Doyle is an incredible person and entertainer and AmaWaterways is a fabulous river cruise partner. I can't say enough about how valuable that relationship with AmaWaterways is to my business.

What’s the most memorable trip you ever took?

Spending four months in Nice for my last semester of university and then eight weeks travelling around Europe showed me that millions of people lead a much simpler life than we do here in Canada. I loved the daily routine of shopping for fresh groceries, lingering in a cafe for an hour and then spending evenings engaging with friends instead of being glued to the TV.

Where do you see your business one year from now?

We just opened an inbound Golf Division to bring clients here to Nova Scotia to experience some of the world's best courses. We are also expanding our river cruise charters and part charters, and our advisors will host more guided holidays and cruises. We aim for slow and steady growth and will only add additional travel advisors to the team if they are a perfect fit. Currently, we have a winning combination of personalities and niche expertise, and I am very grateful for the incredible advisors who trust me to steer this ship.

What’s one new skill you’ve acquired recently?

Using ChatGPT to create tips lists, travel guides and personalized suggestions for luxury clients.

What’s one thing you would change about the travel industry?

The competitive spirit among advisors, agencies, host agencies, and consortia. There is more than enough business to go around, especially considering that over 70 per cent of consumers still book travel online. With such a large market of prospects, we all have the opportunity to achieve high levels of success.

What’s the secret to being successful in this business?

A few things. Giving a sh*t is vital. If you no longer care about the client's experience, then please consider moving on to a new line of work. Everyone can be successful. Once you realize that their win is not your loss, you are free to soar.

Remember that the definition of success is highly personal. Is it a huge paycheck, receiving recognition and awards on stage, having eight weeks to travel a year, working six-hour days, or never missing a family dinner? There are multiple versions of success, and each person needs to figure out what they want out of this career.

What is your motto?

Fail forward. Don't pretend that you won't encounter failures, but learn from them and keep moving forward.

What is your number one piece of advice to other travel advisors?

Specialize in the type of travel that you love. Your joy, expertise, and knowledge will shine through to the customer, and they will help you build a business focused on that niche. It will take years to build, but it is well worth it.

Where are you travelling next?

I am hosting an AmaWaterways Paris and Normandy river cruise featuring Nova Scotia musician Hal Bruce. As a history student, I am beyond excited to finally visit the Normandy beaches during the 80th anniversary year of D-Day. It will be a truly special trip. 

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