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Saturday,  April 20, 2024 11:04 PM 

Monday Minute: Scott Waldron of Gravitate Travel

  • Agency
  •   03-11-2024  9:42 am
  •   Pax Global Media

Monday Minute: Scott Waldron of Gravitate Travel
Scott Waldron of Gravitate Travel, seen here during AmaWaterways' Christmas Markets of Europe cruise, sailing past the Parliament building in Budapest while aboard the AmaVerde. (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: Scott Waldron

Business: Gravitate Travel (The Travel Agent Next Door)

Where do you live? Kemptville, ON

How long have you been a travel advisor? 28 years

What is your specialty?

My speciality is luxury travel, anything and everything 5 Star. Private Jets, unique experiences, the best of the best.

What inspired you to become a travel advisor?

I worked for a theme park in Florida in 1995. The hospitality training provided is known worldwide and I just loved it. Making people happy, thinking of the little things they may not think of when they travel. I wanted to show the world to clients using my experiences and connections to enhance their travels.

What’s the first trip you ever took?

To Europe with Contiki. I did a 14-day trip from London to Venice and back to the United Kingdom, exploring all countries in between.

What travel trends are you seeing these days?

Fifty per cent of clients are booking closer to departure and the remainder are planning well ahead. Each has its own advantages. I’m seeing an uptake in requests for Asia (Japan, Thailand, Singapore (some well-known partners like Celebrity and Disney are using Singapore more and more lately). And places far off the beaten path, such as Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Antarctica and northern Scandinavia) – mainly from our clients that have been there/done that with the Caribbean/Europe and the U.S. I was just in Bangkok, Bhutan and Singapore on a self-guided FAM to explore some of these countries first hand.

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

This was years ago. It was a seven-night stay at the Rosewood Le Crillion in Paris in a Junior Suite for two gentlemen. They had a love for Michelin-star food, and shopping (specifically Louis Vuitton). It was Business Class air to Paris, then the hotel, private cars for the entire stay, and I remember working for six months to get a reservation at Le Jules Verne at the Eiffel Tower for dinner, which is very hard to get.

But before this they asked for what I thought was an unattainable request: they wanted a private shopping experience for three hours with a private shopper at, you guessed it, Louis Vuitton on the Champs-Élysées. Well after two months, I got it done. When the store closed early for them, a Mercedes Maybach picked them up and took them to their shopping extravaganza. 

Then it happened. Two weeks prior, they request tickets to see Madonna, on Bastille Day, within the first 10 rows of the concert. I was sweating bullets, but after one week, I managed to score two tickets from a connection of a the sixth row, centre! Then they said, ‘Well, it’s right after the shopping experience….’ They wanted to go directly to the concert in their new outfits. So we hired another car to take the shopping items back to the hotel and their new car took them to the concert. After this request, I honestly sat back and said to myself, ‘Look at what you did,’ and had a stiff gin and tonic.

What’s the most memorable trip you ever took?

India. We travelled with Insight Vacations’ Luxury Gold product and there was only 12 of us. A nice small group so we could immerse ourselves in the experience and not follow a lollipop guide. The people where great – not at all what the media portrays it to be on the news. So much beauty and the food was amazing. We have very mild Indian food here in Canada compared to the flavours there in my opinion. The colour-washed buildings, sunsets and the Taj Mahal were some of the fondest memories.

Where do you see your business one year from now? 

I see us even further streamlined, with each associate focused on their niche of travel they love and becoming experts in their own right. Future goal? Planning more “me” time and therefore balancing work and home life.

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

Quilting…I know. I took it up during COVID while my business, like many others, was hemorrhaging cash. I needed a creative outlet that had nothing to do with travel or the news.

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

Penalties for lack of commission payments, to agents/agencies as agreed.

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

Focus, find your niche and niche hard. Travel to conferences that focus on your niche, invest in yourself. Without you, there is no business. Plan, plan, plan for the next year. Finally, talk to your colleagues and ask questions. Learn from each other.

What is your motto?

It is what it is. Taking time to try and change things is wasted time.

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

Try something new with your marketing. Don’t always rely on radio, print and social media. I mean, if it works, great, but take a risk and get creative. Shake things up and stand out.

Where are you travelling next?

I will be travelling on the Silver Nova at the beginning of May from San Francisco to Vancouver to check out the ship. Then the Formula 1 in Monte Carlo at the end of May to see how Roadtrips runs their sports programs.

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