Ray Surette of New Wave Travel in Toronto

How long have you been in the business? 30 years this month!  While attending Humber College and got a part time job as a receptionist at Eaton’s Travel. Then when I graduated I went to full-time agent.

How has the business changed? People talk about the good old days when the airlines were your friends and now they’re just…there.  I find they want you to sell them but they don’t want to help you with any favours.  On the other hand, technology has helped – I don’t miss handwritten tickets and fare construction ladders!

How do you keep up on industry affairs?  I read Open Jaw every day – it’s part of my routine. It gives me all I need in an easy manner. 

Do you have a specialty? Disney – it’s absolutely one of my favourite places to go.  It’s an escape from reality, where everything is so picture perfect. I’ve been 26 times to Disney World, a couple of times to Disneyland and five times on a Disney cruise.  

What was your best fam? To South Africa – that was spectacular.

What drives you crazy? The stickiness of airlines/tour operators when they don’t have any give and take. Aren’t we all partners in travel?

What was your biggest individual sale? I’ve got one client who has gone around the world on a Crystal Cruise – twice.  About $65,000 per booking. She’s an older, single lady, very classy with impeccable taste.  

Do you have a magic sentence to close the sale? I do thank every person whether they’re coming in for a VIA rail ticket or a round the world tour.

How do you cope with jetlag?  I hit the ground running and try to get into the time zone.

If you had to spend six months in a destination, which one would you pick? Orlando.

What’s your take on the Conquest failure?  Personally I didn’t have anyone on them, but I never had any problems with them.  I feel bad for the people who have been affected – the employees. 

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? I don’t even know!  Travel has been my life and I can’t picture myself doing anything else!

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