with Ineke Brinkman of Brinkman Travel in St. Catharines, Ontario

How long have you been in the business? 30 years, since I came to Canada from Holland in 1979. I opened my own business 16 years ago. I love to be in control and take charge!

How has the business changed since you got into it? Clients are more demanding – they want more custom tailored travel.

Do you have a specialty? Absolutely!  Faith-based tours and pilgrimages worldwide. It’s been very rewarding and satisfying.  Our clients come mainly from the Niagara Peninsula but also from across Canada and even Europe.  We specialize in life-changing experiences.

What was your best FAM? Oh my gosh! I seldom go on FAMs. Perhaps the first time I went to Asia?  It opened a new world for me

What drives you crazy? (laughs) Not having enough hours in the day!

What was your biggest individual sale?  A 108-day round the world cruise on Holland America. I’d probably remember the commission amount better than the sale – I always know my bottom line – but I think it came to about $70,000.

I hope you took the rest of the day off!  Not on my agenda!

Do you have a magic sentence to close the sale? It’s more a case of ‘converting’ sales. For example, I had two people in today wanting to book the Oberammergau Passion Play. By the time they left I’d booked a full tour and a beautiful river cruise too.  It’s about trust and excitement and opening their eyes.

What do you do to keep your clients loyal? Always staying in touch.  We are only two people but very busy so we try to make it like family. 

If you had to spend six months in a destination, which one would you pick? Oh! Doing some kind of mission work or charitable work, perhaps in India.  We are very blessed to live in Canada.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? At this stage in my life I want to give back, so I’m increasing my charitable efforts.  But I’m not quitting what I’m doing.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? ‘Work hard, have fun and make some money.’


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