Family getaways are a priority for Jennifer Trofimuk. They are her niche, after all. So every time Trofimuk – who runs Planes, Trains & Kids Travel in Calgary – gets a chance to meet a supplier, she has two simple but telling questions for them.
“One of the first things I ask, is how does your product serve families? What attracts families to your product?” says Trofimuk. “I want to be able to sell the benefits and perks of travelling as a family, and how there are so many hotels, tour packages and cruises that do embrace families and can make travelling with kids so much easier.”
By her own admission, Trofimuk is “very new to the industry”. She’s also one of two Rising Stars recently recognized at Nexion’s 10th annual CoNexion conference at the Loews Coronado Bay Hotel in San Diego. Trofimuk was one of three Canadian travel agents recognized at the Nexion event (Jennifer Shantz and Jen Hardy were named to the host agency’s Circle of Excellence).
Like many home-based agents, Trofimuk – with two school-age children – was looking for a career that would allow her to balance work and family. “Before I had children I worked as a major gifts fundraiser in health care in Calgary. I didn’t go back to work after my kids were born, so once my children started school full time, I wanted to be able to find something new to do that matched my interests.”
She says she was fortunate “to really take the time to think about what I wanted to do in this new stage of my life.” Many of her friends turned to her as a planning and ideas resource for their vacations, so travel was a logical choice. “As a family we went to so many places. So I knew I had to focus on travel.”
Trofimuk completed a Travel Agent certificate program through Canadian Tourism College in 2015. Then the hunt for a host agency was on. “I interviewed a few different host agencies to see how I would fit in with them, and after talking with Mike Foster at Nexion Canada, I felt like I was joining a family, not just an organization. So, I signed up with them.”
Nexion embraced Trofimuk’s background with her completed travel certificate, and further enhanced her training and education so she could take full advantage of their tools and booking engines. She’s happy with her choice. “I feel I have so much support from not only from an administrative side, but from a mentoring perspective as well.”
Trofimuk says she stays plugged in to where families (like her own) want to go, and what they can do when they get there. “I’ve ‘Liked’ so many travel blogs, Facebook pages, and followed so many great travel enthusiasts on Twitter to give me ideas, and show my potential clients where they ‘could’ go,” she says, adding she tries to “very active” on social media, and in particular with her own business Facebook page. “My target audience uses Facebook primarily for so many things – it’s been a great tool and resource for me.”
For its part, Nexion is happy with Trofimuk’s choice too. “She approaches her business with enthusiasm and dedication. Her sales have soared as she focuses on supplier partners that help her promote her niche – family travel. She understands the value of our educational opportunities, which will build her business and provide her with a competitive edge. She is a regular contributor to NexionTown and not afraid to reach out to fellow colleagues for help. She is our shining star, and we love to watch her continue to develop,” says Nexion.