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Sunday,  May 26, 2024 10:26 PM 

Monday Minute: Katharine Lewis, The Travelista with Independent by Flight Centre

  • Agency
  •   04-15-2024  7:08 am
  •   Pax Global Media

Monday Minute: Katharine Lewis, The Travelista with Independent by Flight Centre
Katharine Lewis, The Travelista with Independent by Flight Centre, seen here in Rio de Janiero. (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: Katharine Lewis

Business: Katharine Lewis, The Travelista with Independent by Flight Centre

Where do you live? Guelph, ON

How long have you been a travel advisor?

It’s my 21st year with the Flight Centre Travel Group. In January, I celebrated 10 years of operating my own business with Independent by Flight Centre.

What is your specialty?

I love to sell luxury beach packages, river and ocean cruises, and small group adventures off the beaten track.

What’s the first trip you ever took?

The first trip on a plane that I remember was when I was 14. I went to Banff with my Granny to stay with family. I tried mountain climbing for the first time, hiked to the Tea House at Lake Louise, and fell in love with Alberta. Adventure travel was in my blood, and I dreamt of working at G Adventures one day.

What inspired you to become a travel advisor?

I spent a summer living in Banff and working for a heli-hiking lodge in B.C. right before graduating with a degree in Criminology and Sociology from the University of Guelph. I was hooked!

What travel trends are you seeing these days?

I am so happy people are taking the trips they always put off due to money or time. This past January felt as crazy as pre-pandemic levels of inquiry. With each passing month, it seems people are requesting destinations farther afield and they can stay longer. Thank goodness they are giving more lead time before travel. Room and cabin upgrades are now the norm, not the exception. Many of those objections we heard in the past are no longer relevant. It’s an exciting time to be an advisor!

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

I made an FIT for a mature couple to self drive through Tuscany’s wine country, staying at many off-the-beaten-path agriturismos with the help of GOGO Vacations. They loved me, and I was so proud of pulling together so many little details. I was hooked.

What’s the most memorable trip you ever took?

I don’t think I could pick just one – they are like children, after all – but my early trips to London and Paris in my 20s. My G Adventures Island Hopping tour in Thailand with my husband 16 odd years ago is up there! Flight Centre’s Global Ball in Hawaii in 2006 showed me what hard work can bring. My wild card spot with Intrepid’s FAM to Argentina and Brazil in 2019, where I went not knowing anyone in my tour group and came home with so many wonderful friends. And lastly, the Avalon ACTA River Cruise Summit on the Romantic Rhine last fall was also epic. I enjoyed time with the best group of colleagues, served with such warm hospitality.

Where do you see your business one year from now?

I’m planning on growing my team of sub-contractors (two so far), as it’s busier than I ever imagined. I want to lead some groups in the coming years. River cruising for sure, and a family tour to Iceland or Japan.

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

I’ve got my brand-new arsenal of acrylic paints after an Avalon excursion in Amsterdam, learning how to paint like Van Gogh. I’m good enough to want to keep going, and it really gets you out of your head.

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

I wish more advisors would charge accordingly for our time and be seen as the true professionals we are. We need more new advisors and I feel this is a sure-fire way to get their buy-in.

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

Travel often! Never stop learning about new destinations and what’s new with your favourite suppliers. I’ve met some of the best people working in this industry.

What is your motto?

Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.

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

Protect your peace and create boundaries so you can truly rest and be the best you can be when in work mode. If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no.

Where are you travelling next?

I’m heading to the Majestic Elegance Costa Mujeres with my husband in April. And my sons (14 and 11) are begging for a Club Med ski trip to Europe! I can’t really disagree with them.

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