Introducing Corporate Travel Agent, Anita Fraess
Anita is originally from Alberta where she grew up as a farm girl, and studied Business Management at Medicine Hat College. Anita has had the opportunity to travel around Europe including Amsterdam, Paris and Germany. She has taken many family vacations as well to different areas of Mexico, the US and cruises to the Caribbean.
In 2004, she relocated to Vancouver where she began her 12 year career in the hospitality industry. She managed a hotel for many years before making the move to corporate travel. She is an expert at finding the best itinerary for her clients at the most economical rates.
We sat down with Anita to understand more about her role, to get some tips and learn more about where she likes to travel.
Worldgo: For our first question, I’m wondering if you can tell us what it is that you do at Worldgo?
Anita: I am a Corporate Travel Manager, and I assist corporate (and at times, leisure) clients with their travel needs and requestes.
Worldgo: What’s your favorite thing about working at Worldgo?
Anita: First and foremost, we have a great team. Everyone is supportive. Most of our agents here are quite experienced. We work together, and share the same goal for our clients. Another thing I like about Worldgo is that we’re completely transparent. We don’t hide anything and we don’t markup. We charge a fair service fee for our services. A client is then able to go onto an airline’s website and see the exact same fare that we’re charging them – we’re don’t hide anything and that’s very refreshing.
Worldgo: As an individual, what is the one thing that you do differently that makes your clients’ lives easier?
Anita: I try to put myself in their shoes. Again, it’s basically having a conversation with them to find out what they are going to be doing in the destination, and how much time they’re going to have. People want their trips to be as easy and convenient as possible. I will put myself in their shoes, and consider how I would like to travel, and what would work for me, and see if it would work for them.
I also like making the process as efficient as possible, this includes timing around connections or booking their hotels close to where there meetings are being held.
Worldgo: In your experience, what makes for a good travel management booking experience?
Anita: Quick responses. It’s important that our clients know that we’ve sourced out the best fares and the best options, and everything will fit into their time schedule. As well, I want to get a quote out to my clients as fast as possible. A lot of times travel is within the next week.
Worldgo: What travel management advice can you give a small business?
Anita: I’d say every small business should put a travel policy in place helping their employees with important guidelines and boundaries. Without a policy, companies tend to see an increase in their costs of travel. So, have a travel policy in effect for budgeting, for airfare, hotels, and transportation. I would also recommend to have one ‘approver’ to oversee what is being booked, so that they know who is booking flights, and why they’re booking them, and they can see if their employees are following that path properly.
Worldgo: What travel management advice can you give for someone who’s running a large business or a big department within a large business? What can you say that they should have in place?
Anita: Same thing, a travel policy definitely. If you have a large company with multiple departments, I would definitely do the same thing where we would have in place an approving manager for each department. I would also categorize each department with department codes so that when they have reporting sent to them each month, they know what departments and travellers are spending the most each month.
Worldgo: In your opinion, What’s more important for a corporate client? Is it saving time? Is it saving money? Is it having better reporting?
Anita: I would say each client is going to differ. Cost savings, time savings, reporting, all have a similar level of importance in most companies. It depends on each company, but if it’s a large organization, obviously time is money, and that is going to be a factor. They want to save as much as possible, and that’s where a travel policy comes in place, because we enforce all elements.
Reporting is also important, clients can see what they’ve been spending on each month, which gives a better understanding over their travel program. For the smaller companies, reporting might not be as important as savings, because they only have a small group of travellers. They don’t necessarily need the reporting, because they know exactly who is doing what.
Worldgo: Looking down the road ahead, where do you see the travel management industry going?
Anita: That’s a tough one, because I think as a travel management company, it’s important for us to spread the word on how important it is to have a Travel Management Company (TMC) in place for small and large companies. A lot of businesses don’t realize how much savings they could have if they had a TMC in place. So, I think it’s more important for TMC companies to build awareness about what we do and how we do it, and what a client’s benefit is for having someone like Worldgo on their team.
Everybody says, “Oh, I can just get this all online. I can buy this. I can buy that, all online, by myself. I don’t need a travel agent to do that for me.” Sure, but by doing this you lose visibility over what your employees are booking, spending a lot of valuable time arranging travel and are stuck making your own changes when something goes wrong.
3 Question Rapid Fire
Worldgo: What is your favorite leisure destination to recommend to your clients?
Anita: Okay. So, I have a son and my siblings all have kids as well. So, usually, when we travel we travel as a family to kid-friendly places. For me, if someone has children, obviously you want to go somewhere that the kids are going to enjoy. Mexico is a good place to go if you want a close getaway that doesn’t involve a lot of travel time. It’s still warm, it’s fun, and when you have children, there are lots of activities for children that give you some free time as well. You can drop your children off at a resort kid-zone and enjoy some free time yourself.
Worldgo: What’s your favorite destination that you’ve traveled to? Either with your kids or without your kids.
Anita: Europe. I traveled around France, Germany, and I spent some time in Amsterdam. Love it.
Worldgo: Now, if you only had 3 days, France or Germany is out of the cards – just too long to get there, where would you go right now?
Anita: A 3-day getaway? I would probably go to San Francisco. I went to San Francisco and I loved it. It was just fun, there was so much to see, there was a lot of nightlife, and it’s just a great vibe. It’s just a beautiful city overall, in general.