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Sunday,  July 14, 2024 3:41 AM 

#ThrowbackThursday with Cris David, Insight Vacations

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  •   05-22-2015  8:48 am

#ThrowbackThursday with Cris David, Insight Vacations

Cris David, president, Insight VacationsMy career in the travel industry started shortly after I moved to Canada 17 years ago. In the fall of 1998 I was hired on as the national sales manager of a new company that had just been established by The Travel Corporation. The idea had been to leverage Travcorp’s experience with motor coaching to create a flexible travel network in Europe that could rival Eurail, providing a more structured and less expensive product alternative for independent travellers. The fledgling company was called Busabout and I was its sole Canadian employee.

For my first couple of years, I traversed the country from coast to coast trying to create a foothold in the market for my ultra-niche product. In the process, I got a crash course in Canadian geography and an introduction to the wonderful world of travel sales. As I worked the circuit of BTA shows and Holiday Huddles I was seldom seen without my purple shirt sporting the bright orange BUSABOUT logo and I soon developed the nickname, “BusBoy."  Even after all these years I am often greeted by fellow suppliers with a rowdy, “hello BusBoy,” as we fondly recall our shenanigans on the road in Halifax, Regina or Edmonton back in the days when we all flew Canadian Airlines on AD75s.  

As a newcomer to Canada and the travel industry, I received an enormous amount of encouragement, support and help from my colleagues at The Travel Corporation. I was fortunate to be joining a team of talented and passionate sales professionals representing fantastic brands like Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Contiki and AAT Kings. Recognizing that I was rather naïve and clearly in need of guidance, many of these wonderful folks took me under their wing and I soon had friends in every province to show me the ropes.

Before long Busabout’s sales in Canada had exceeded expectations and new doors began to open for me within the company. By 2001, I had moved into a marketing role supporting the three main Travel Corporation brands: Trafalgar, Insight and Contiki. Part of my responsibility was to implement the very new idea of one-to-one marketing, using database technology to customize the interaction with every customer based on his or her unique needs and preferences. This miraculous new innovation was known as CRM.

Then one day, out of the blue, I was given the opportunity to take on the leadership of Contiki, which had been my dream job. My ultimate career aspiration had suddenly and unexpectedly been fulfilled, which was simultaneously terrifying and exhilarating! My boss at the time, the visionary Contiki CEO David Hosking, made it known that he was taking a chance on me and gave me the interim title 'Vice President.' Fortunately, I grew into the role and the 'Vice' dropped away after a few months.

I was privileged to spend eight wonderful years at the helm of Contiki Canada, representing one of the most dynamic and best loved brands in the travel industry. Aside from providing a world class education in business, my time at Contiki was punctuated by spectacular travel experiences, many adventures and a great deal of fun!

By 2009, I was a father of three and well beyond Contiki’s 18-35 age range. It was time for another career move, this time to a brand that fit me to a tee demographically, if not by its reputation as an icon of style and quality! For the past six years I have had the tremendous privilege of representing Insight Vacations in Canada. What a blast it has been working for a company that consistently delivers spectacular experiences and changes the way people see the world.