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Saturday,  April 20, 2024 9:28 PM 

Monday Minute: Holly Slater of TravelOnly

  • Agency
  •   03-18-2024  10:47 am
  •   Pax Global Media

Monday Minute: Holly Slater of TravelOnly
Holly Slater of TravelOnly. (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: Holly Slater

Business: Holly Slater – TravelOnly

Where do you live? Bonnyville, AB (you will need to Google it!)

How long have you been a travel advisor? Since 2012

What is your specialty?

I wish I had a specialty, I am sort of a "Jill of all travel!" I sell a lot of South. Living where I do, we need to escape winter. However, I also sell Europe, the United States, wedding groups and small friends and family groups. Recently, I have seen a big uptick in cruise travel from my clients, which, although challenging, has been a fun and new experience for me.

Holly seen here in Tulum, Mexico. (Supplied)

What inspired you to become a travel advisor?

I have been a nomad my entire life. We moved a lot when I was a child, so I think my need to wander led me here. I was the go-to friend for advice on where to go and what to see, so it was a natural progression. I think a lot of us got to our travel career that way.

What’s the first trip you ever took?

Not sure how far back you want to go, but I will never forget being seven years old and getting on my first plane, seeing the cockpit (yes, that long ago!) and getting my wings. We were headed to Phoenix, Arizona. However, my first big trip as an adult on my own was to the Mayan Riviera in 2002. My real love for travel started there.

What travel trends are you seeing these days?

My clients are branching out as far as destination and durations. Also, as I mentioned, I’m seeing an uptick in cruise travel. I have clients that normally book a week south that are booking three, four-week trips to Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. As well, I have booked some great expeditions and extended river cruises, which is something I never sold pre-pandemic. People have realized life is short, so go live it!

Holly visits Spain with G Adventures. (Supplied)

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

This may be a bit of a downer, but honestly, it’s a Disney trip I sent a dying mother and her daughter and extended family on. I was actually moved to tears that she would come to me to plan this most important holiday. I bent over backwards and did everything possible to make this the most memorable holiday ever. It still chokes me up to think of it.

What’s the most memorable trip you ever took?

My first trip to Europe. It was a G Adventures FAM to Spain. I knew I would love the European culture and beauty, but to see it the way I did with local guides, having local experiences and the honour of getting to do so with other agents was very special. It reignited my love for travel as beach vacations were just not quite fulfilling anymore.

Where do you see your business one year from now? What are your future goals?

I am in my first year back to selling travel full-time, post-pandemic. I had gone to work in a local oilfield company, doing payroll, while trying to keep and build my travel business back up. For me, getting reorganized, prioritizing industry training and travel is number one. But building my team of agents and being there for them is the main goal. I have three amazing affiliates on my team, all in different stages of the business, so they are my top priority.

Holly celebrating her 50th birthday in Cortona, Italy. (Supplied)

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

Definitely how to research and sell cruises. This was always the most daunting of travel styles for me. Living where I do, my clients were traditionally not into cruise travel. But that has changed, and boy, what a learning curve!

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

This is a hard one, but it seems like so many larger industry partners are pushing very hard away from using travel advisors. We are here as partners and advocates for their products, and for them to so aggressively, in some cases rudely, push us aside after years of being faithful to their brands just feels like a slap in the face. I get they need to make money too. However, I think they underestimate the power of our industry and how we can actually help them.

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

This obviously varies from person to person, but in general, I would say put in the time. Time for training, time for networking, time for learning new products and exploring possible niche opportunities. As well, expand your business through local clubs, organizations or your local chamber of commerce.

What is your motto?

Don't wait! No one knows when ‘later’ just won't happen.

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

Manage your expectations. This is not a get-rich-quick industry. It takes training, networking and time to become a reputable travel advisor.

Where are you travelling next? 

I will be going to Houston at the end of the month to take one of our grandsons to watch the Blue Jays and visit the Space Centre!

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