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Wow, and here we go!
Our guest today is Anne Gibbons, owner of Gibbons Travel Consulting.
Anne will talk about the pitfalls of online booking and planning your own travel. Anne’s business is a concierge travel service planning trips corporately and personally; around the world.
We’ve all been there; trying to book a trip and unsure about the accommodations or flights. Let this lady ensure your travel is flawless!
As an added bonus, our viewers can download Anne’s FREE Saskatchewan Flight Guide – everything you need to know, when Anne plans your next trip. You can find it here: https://www.gibbonstravel.ca/saskatchewan-flights-guide (this file is no longer available).
Barb McGrath 0:02
You are listening to a CJ tr podcast.
Welcome to The Secret Life of entrepreneurs on 91.3 FM CJ tr, Regina community radio. Stay tuned to meet today’s guest and hear their story of what makes them tick. What drives them to succeed and their role in growing a thriving business community. The Secret Life of entrepreneurs chronicles the success and secrets of locally owned businesses and owners. Listen in live as we discuss their secrets and learn how they are making a positive impact in their community. You’re listening to your host, Barb McGrath, business leader, entrepreneur, and founder of the get found on Google program. Let’s get started. Well, if these blustery temperatures outside, don’t have you thinking about getting away to someplace warm. I’m certain Our guest today will have you thinking along those lines. Just before I introduce her, I want to tell you about a special offer she’s made for the end of our show today. So be sure to stay tuned. Right until the very end, you’re going to be you’re going to be super excited about what she’s offered up. And just as a hint, it might help you get away to that someplace warm. Are we ready? Here we go. Our guest today is Anne Gibbons from Gibbons Travel Service or Gibbons Travel Consulting. And she’s the business owner where she helps both people and businesses plan their trips. Now I’m sure most of us have some sort of story to tell about what has happened on a trip. And I promised her during our show today. There’s a couple of stories that I’ll probably talk about. But he’s going to talk to us a little bit today about travel prep. She’s also going to talk about having been a seasoned traveler some of the lessons that she’s learned over the years. And I’ve specifically asked her to talk about the pitfalls of planning your travel on your own. It’s so easy nowadays to go online, pick a trip and off you go. But all too often what you bought is not in fact what you receive. So she’s going to talk about that. So welcome. And please tell us a little bit about yourself and Gibbons Travel Consulting.
Anne Gibbons 2:34
I have a little girl who is three, and a little boy who’s one. Now I like to say that I was born with the wanderlust gene. My parents were both travelers my mom originates from Laird, Saskatchewan, and then Saskatoon and my dad’s from Christchurch, New Zealand. So I have I grew up with travel in the house. My parents actually met while they were traveling in Europe, and I did my first big international trip. When I was just 12. We went down to New Zealand for four months of road trip around, and I just had an amazing time.
Barb McGrath 3:19
Wow, you don’t use Zealand that’s a place that not too many people have a chance to travel to so I bet that was an amazing experience for you.
Anne Gibbons 3:27
Yeah, as as a kid, I couldn’t imagine something a better place to go. We spent so much time outside exploring on the beach. There’s just so much to see. And it was just I can’t believe I’m seeing this jaw dropping views around each bend in the road.
Barb McGrath 3:48
How old Did you say you were when you went? I’m sorry? 1212? Any like crocodiles and alligators? Who do you get to see that kind of stuff? No, New Zealand actually doesn’t have any natural predators.
Oh, so there’s lots except for teenage men. Yeah. Okay. Just checking.
Anne Gibbons 4:04
Yeah, there’s actually lots of bird life. So there’s lots to see. There’s lots of sea life. You can see penguins and sea lions and whales and dolphins. There’s so much to see. But you actually don’t have to worry about hiking because there’s no bears.
Barb McGrath 4:26
Really? Yeah. Wow. Like that’s just that seems so unnatural because of course in North America, if we’ve got scenic environments, and I’ll say warm weather environments, well, then you’ve got a natural occurrence that tends to be predator. So that’s so interesting to me.
Anne Gibbons 4:40
Yeah, you’ve got the beauty in Canada, but you also have the dangers behind
Barb McGrath 4:44
Yes, exactly. Something about living, you know, near that. Canadian shield?
Anne Gibbons 4:48
Yep, definitely. So yeah, so I got exposed to travel really young. And then once I graduated high school, in my early 20s, I spent a lot of time traveling around I spent about a year, just about a year traveling and backpacking and working in New Zealand. And that’s actually where I met my husband.
Barb McGrath 5:09
Oh, I didn’t know Shane was from there. No, he’s not. He’s English.
Anne Gibbons 5:15
Barb McGrath 5:17
Anne Gibbons 5:18
Yeah. So when you’re traveling, you tend to actually connect a lot with other travelers. And we had the pleasure of meeting down there and I was it. Five years later, he was finally moving to Canada. So it was there’s definitely some ups and downs with international relationships. But it definitely worked out for the best at some that’s long distance relationship to me.
Barb McGrath 5:39
And how many years have you guys been married? Now?
Anne Gibbons 5:46
We’re coming on. Seven, I think.
Barb McGrath 5:49
Okay, and I guess I shouldn’t assume that you’re married because that’s not required. You have three kids to two kids.
Anne Gibbons 5:55
Okay. Yeah. I have a little girl who’s three and a little boy, three from Yep. And a little boy who just turned one. So handful right now. No kidding. Yeah. No. Yeah. So I did a lot of traveling and then I actually it kind of led me to a tourism industry. I studied tourism management as my degree out in Oh, Kamloops BC. And then I came back here and I did some work for tourism, Saskatchewan, which I loved. Yes. I thousand lakes in this province.
Yes. I think it’s somewhere everybody should see. I love our province, super proud. But actually, the genesis of Gibbons travel consulting, came from a visit with my mom. And it was, it was a moment where I was down there visiting, I think it was shortly after Ruby was born. And Ruby’s your daughter who’s three, okay, my daughter, who’s three, and I was down there. And she made some offhanded remark about how she’d love to see Scotland, she has to get there someday. And she’d been saying this for years. She’d been saying this over and over again. And I thought, okay, she doesn’t have kids at home, she has the opportunity. Now it’s stopping or what’s stopping her. So I spent the week doing some research, putting together some rough itineraries building out what the cost would be. And then I sat her down and I said, hey, look, this is what you can do. These are all the amazing things that you get to see doing it this way. This is what it would cost you. And what do you think? And she said, Great. When can I go? And really, I don’t know why I was shocked. But I was like, that’s all she needed. She just needed that little polish. And I learned something from that. And I learned that not everybody has the time, yeah, to dedicate to putting together a trip. And not everybody has the knowledge or skills to put together an itinerary. Absolutely, in a really sensible way. And I think I took from that, that I maybe have something that I could do to really help others get out and travel the way I have always loved to do right.
Barb McGrath 8:18
Yeah, you see the world from a whole new point of view, right?
Anne Gibbons 8:22
Definitely. And I’ve loved all my adventures. And I just want that for everybody. Because I know people talk about it so much that they want to get out and see things they they have all these destinations in the back of their mind. And my reaction is okay, let’s let’s do it. Let’s make it a reality.
Barb McGrath 8:38
Who’s What’s your dream destination? What’s the location you haven’t been to? But you dream of seeing so many?
Anne Gibbons 8:50
Good for you. Oh, my goodness, you can’t work in the travel industry without just your list. Always growing. Yeah. And it pretty much whoever’s holiday I’m planning at the moment becomes my next Big Sur destination. I did a trip to Poland. I planned a trip to Poland last year. And it never really sparked a lot of interest before. Okay. And then I saw all of the amazing things that I could do there the heritage, and it was instantly kind of top of my list. I have Polish heritage. Oh, you do? Yeah. And so now all of a sudden, it’s like, wow, there’s so much to see. A big one for me would be a safari experience. Oh, of course. Yeah. I’d love to be able to take the kids on something like that one day. So that might be down the line a little bit because I want it to be more practical. Exactly.
Barb McGrath 9:45
You know, let’s talk about that one. Right. So traveling with kids that brings that that introduces a whole new element. So do you find when you’re working with folks who are planning a family vacation, versus maybe a country vacation or even a single vacation? Is there quite a bit of difference in where people go and how they want to plan the trip?
Anne Gibbons 10:07
There’s definitely differences. But I do think that it’s, it comes down to your comfort level and what people are really feel comfortable doing. So a lot of people kind of default to the easy vacations during these tough years.
Barb McGrath 10:25
Yeah, the kid years, right? Yes, I understand that.
Anne Gibbons 10:29
Yeah. Where it’s a lot of all inclusive, just because it makes things easier. And there’s this, there’s this thinking that I don’t want to go somewhere amazing. I want to save that destination for them to be older, because they’re not going to enjoy it or appreciate it when they’re young. But I think that behind that there’s actually, there’s a lot that younger kids will actually get out of seeing different countries. They’re just the exposure alone to different ways of living. Yeah, it’s impacting your kids in ways that you don’t know. You don’t even know. Exactly, yeah.
The. For us, one of our early trips, as a family out was actually out to England to visit family Shane’s family. Sure, yeah. But I we traveled there with Ruby at nine months. Oh, good for you. And a lot of people are like, Oh, my goodness, I don’t know how you could do it. We had like three legged, like three legs of flights to get there and back with this young child, let me tell you flying is relaxing when you don’t have kids, compared to when you do compared to when you figure you don’t know until you try?
Barb McGrath 11:41
Yes. And you know that the challenge, especially when you’re flying with little ones, some of them are so enthralled by what’s going on in the plane that they’re perfectly fine. And others the pressure, things like that really disturbed them. So I do I really have compassion for parents who struggle when they’re their kids are small like that. We were very fortunate. Our kids were enthralled. We kept them so full of games and toys, that, that they always had something to do. And we traveled often enough not to exotic places, and not internationally. But we traveled often enough that they got very used to travel. And they took down they’d read they’d color, right? They do all of those sorts of things. But what I’ve discovered is that actually kind of bite you in the butt when they get a little bit older. Because now they’re so used to it that it’s not a novelty anymore. And so now you completely have to keep them engaged for you know, three hours or five hours or however long the flights are.
Anne Gibbons 12:42
Funny story when we were on that family trip to New Zealand back when I was a kid. So I’m the oldest of four. So okay, my youngest siblings were five, I believe at the time. And then I had another sister who would have been 10.
Barb McGrath 12:57
So you have twins in your family? We have twins. Hmm, yeah.
Anne Gibbons 13:00
And we were so used to Road Trips traveling around Saskatchewan. We’re live in small town. It was four hours in the road. No big deal. We pull out our books and we’ve read or parents were just like, look out the window. There are so many amazing things out the window. They had to pull us out of our books and our games because they’re like, we’re in New Zealand.
And you just want to read Archie. Yep, I can relate. Totally Yes. Or Betty and Veronica. Yes.
Barb McGrath 13:32
Good for you. Oh, that’s hilarious. You know, and my kids are kind of at that age now where they both really become bookworms. And of course, as a parent, it’s like, Yay, my kids read. But there’s so many times just like put your book down and like, go outside, go play, go do something. Right. Because you know, at the end of the day, the more fresh air they get better they’re gonna sleep.
Anne Gibbons 13:51
That was me as a kid. I was a total bookworm. I had to be pulled out of books because I read too much.
Barb McGrath 14:00
Yes, exactly. If there is such a thing. Yes. Okay, so Gibbons Travel Consulting, what do you actually do? And how can you help me avoid some of the nightmares I’ve experienced on my travels.
Anne Gibbons 14:13
So I actually help people I come in and walk them through the whole process. So I didn’t I didn’t want to start a travel business, right, just to book travel. Yeah, I didn’t want to be that order taker. In fact, I when I first started thinking about helping people with their vacations, my first thought wasn’t travel agent. Because I had that kind of that idea in the back of mind that it was dying out and that I pictured the bricks and mortar shops and like I didn’t book travel there, why would somebody else and then I stumbled upon this host agency model, which is how I my business was formed. And basically I work with a host agency that provides me The back end support that I need, the counting the affiliations, the accreditation, and all the partnerships that I need in the industry. But it’s my own business, okay. And I wanted to be able to come in and help people travel the way they wanted to travel. Yes, I heard a lot of stories of people going into travel agencies, and saying that they wanted to travel by themselves in Italy, and them kind of being sloughed off to the side, or they wouldn’t have their calls returned. Because they wanted to just kind of push them into an easy bus tour that they do a lot of work for. And so that was what I really got excited about, and was really interested in getting into I’ve since progressed to see that not everybody wants to handle all they’re getting from point A to B. So sometimes finding the right tour, but it’s making sure that what I’m finding for somebody really fits how they want to feel during their holiday. Right to they want things to be easy. Do they not have to want to worry about getting from point A to point raid? Yeah? Or do you really want to base yourself in a small little town in southern France? And just kind of slowly explore the area, right? Or do you really want to see the all the highlights traveling in the UK. So it’s really getting to the heart of why they’re going what’s pulling them to the destination, what the main priorities are for them being there, really narrowing down what’s important. And then I work with them to build out an itinerary. I work with them to figure out their accommodations, their flights, their trains, their activities, and then making sure I also build in this space into the itinerary so that they’re not jam packed. Yeah, so you can actually enjoy experience because when you’re running from place to place to place, you forget to stop and enjoy it becomes, okay, at one o’clock, we have to be at such and such a stop. And you can enjoy where what you’re doing and right. And I know that a lot of the special moments from their trip is going to come from those moments in between the places that they just stumble into, that was never written into an itinerary. Those are gonna be some of their most precious memories. Yes, absolutely. So you’ve got to build that in. So I take that we get everything booked. And then I help them start preparing for their trip. And I create a digital itinerary. I’ve got this great new app that I use. Okay, so it’s accessible on their phone. Yes, you need that nowadays. They have their information wherever they are everything from the phone number for their hotel, to their train times how to get to the train station. Wow, every little thing that they might feel like it’s a stumble along the way because I’m trying to build up their confidence, right? I love to help people who maybe haven’t started exploring their bucket list destinations. They’ve been doing their annual holidays, right down to Mexico, and they love it. But they’re ready to push themselves a little bit further. And it takes confidence to really feel like you can explore Yes, exactly. And trust yourself traveling internationally.
Barb McGrath 18:27
You know, isn’t it funny, it’s not that many years ago, where we would have a printed out itinerary for a trim. And if you had a good travel agent, when you booked, you’d be able to, you know, see your destination, you had some details along the way. But honest to goodness, I mean, if you were going on a big trip, it wasn’t uncommon to to be taking a book with you. Somewhere along the way. And so thinking now that this can all be digital, I mean, that’s huge, right?
Anne Gibbons 18:58
Yes, absolutely huge. Yeah, this is pretty recent for me. A year ago, I was doing up booklets. And they were my little pocket sized booklets it was meant to be able to fit into a purse or folded in half and tucked into a pocket. Okay. And it had it had all the same information. But this, this new service that I’ve recently created, it’s actually works within an app. And it just everybody has their phones with them. And all they do, and you can download it ahead of time. So you don’t need to use your data while you’re offline.
Barb McGrath 19:28
You know, and that’s, that’s still a big deal. If you’re traveling and you have to use data. Of course, every provider is a little bit different. But it’s a daily cost. And it can really add up if you’re taking a trip for any more than a few days.
Anne Gibbons 19:41
Right definitely can add up and some of the providers that we have here in Saskatchewan aren’t great in all countries.
No, no, not at all.
Barb McGrath 19:49
So you might be in Europe and you might be kind of out of luck. Or you’re just surviving on data from or surviving on Wi Fi from your hotel.
Right exactly. Okay, so let’s talk a little bit about your business. So, like, how do people find out about you? Of course, I’ve always got my marketing hat on. And I’m always thinking about, you know, how can you find more customers? And how can you serve more people? And, in fact, in some businesses, it’s not about more, but it’s among better service. So how do people learn about Gibbons travel consulting?
Anne Gibbons 20:25
Well, usually, in the travel industry, it’s a lot more about building relationships. Because if you’re wanting to book online, you’re not really wanting any kind of connection. If you’re wanting to book with a person, usually you want somebody that you can trust with your travel details. Okay, so there’s definitely a little bit more to that. There’s always just googling travel agent for giant?
Barb McGrath 20:48
Um, yes. Do you come up at the top of Google? I am one of the top back there. And, you know, I have to ask everyone that question.
Anne Gibbons 20:56
Yeah. And so there’s always that, but it’s a lot of networking in the city. And it’s also so a lot of referrals that I get from past clients and friends and family. And that’s somebody that’s been with me, they know, what the level of service I provide, and they want to tell their friends about that. So that’s a big part of it.
Barb McGrath 21:19
Good. Okay. So where do you envision your business in the industry going in the future? Where are we heading with travel?
Anne Gibbons 21:26
Well, I’d say for my business in particular, and travel agents, I’d say we’re on the rise again, I think people kind of thought we were down and out for a few years there. But we’re coming back and we’re adjusting to the new world of travel with online booking. Right, and we’re getting a lot more niche. We’re serving more specific markets. And we’re, we’re really focusing in on what our particular skill is, and how we can best serve people. As far as the world of travel, there’s always new things coming out. Is there Okay, well, yeah, yeah. There’s always new destinations, or sure do popular destinations, I should say, right? I’d say coming up. In the immediate future, we can see Japan 2020 Summer Olympics. I’ve seen some really exciting stuff there. If it’s always been your dream to go to an Olympic Games, that would be an amazing experience. Oh, wouldn’t it though? Yeah, kidding. We’re seeing river cruising is getting more and more popular.
Barb McGrath 22:36
Ah, like long river cruises, like multiple days.
Anne Gibbons 22:39
Yeah, Kate. Yep. So Europe is really popular for river cruising. And I think if you are maybe not as comfortable traveling, or it’s your first trip to Europe, it’s the perfect way to do it, I suppose. Yeah. Because you unpack once. You’re, it’s a slower version of travel. It’s not like the big ocean liner cruises. So it’s more of an intimate setting. And they take care of you so well. But you also have the freedom and flexibility to go out and explore on your own. Yes. And then they’re popping up around the world to you can do the Amazon, the Nile, the gungi. So there’s all kinds of different things there.
Barb McGrath 23:22
What about environmental sustainability? Is that something that you’re seeing as a real push in the industry, whether it’s eco tours, or simply tour operators that are managing their business in an environmentally friendly way?
Anne Gibbons 23:35
Definitely both. Okay. We’re definitely seeing more of a push on sustainable practices for tour operators. And they’re advertising it more, and it’s more kind of front and center. I am attending a conference at the end of the month. And the theme is sustainability. So I’m sure have lots to say that. But it’s definitely something we’re seeing going forward. Yeah, I bet. Another trend that we’re seeing is experiences are kind of the main focus for travel. Okay, instead of seeing sights, wanting to see the Eiffel Tower and the loove. And going and just seeing things people want to be really interactive with their travel. So you might go to Italy and to cooking. And you might go and eating Of course.
Barb McGrath 24:22
I’m sure there’s some wine in there somewhere.
Anne Gibbons 24:26
Definitely. There’s lots of tours, that focus on wine tasting these days. There are language tours that you can do where you focus on learning a language while you’re there. Okay. Um, there’s just pretty much do you dream it exists? It exists.
Barb McGrath 24:44
Yeah, exactly. And it’s hard to believe, but we are almost out of time today. Now, at the beginning of the show, we promised everyone that there was a special little gift, if they tuned in today. So I’m actually going to let you tell folks all about About the document that you’ve created, I don’t know what to call it. Sorry.
Anne Gibbons 25:06
Yeah, it’s a bit of a cheat sheet. There we go. Thank you cheat sheet. So I’ve created a Saskatchewan direct flights guide. So basically, it lists all of the flights from Regina and Saskatoon. Oh perfect. And the destinations they go to and which week of the week, they leave on because each day of the week they leave.
Most of them might be Cancun leaves on one day or two days from Regina and Saskatoon. And so if you’re thinking of a hot holiday this summer, or for this winter, not, you know, I was dreaming about a hot summer, but that never happened.
If you’re thinking about a hot holiday, then this way, you want to get down there faster, you don’t want to spend an entire day in the airport on your way down. And then on the way back, because then you’re losing your relaxed Mojo. Exactly.
So get there fast, it’s worth it. And this way, you can kind of take a glance at what’s leaving when and it’s a great way to kind of plan your vacation time.
Barb McGrath 26:07
You know, a that was super smart on your part to prepare that because lights are constantly changing. And I know when we travel as a family, that’s the first thing we look for is what’s direct? Where can we go? And how quickly can we get there. So please tell all of our listeners how they can find that document.
Anne Gibbons 26:25
Okay, well, there should be a link in the show notes. I’m told, but if not, we will share it on my Facebook page. And I can share that with you as well. So you can share it out. So my Facebook, you can find the ad at Gibbons Travel, same thing with Instagram. That’s where I’m gibbonstravel.
Perfect. And if you want to reach out, you have maybe a trip that you have in mind, and you want to get in touch, the best way to find me is to go to my website, which is gibbonstravel.ca. Okay, and I have a plan, a trip design form that you can fill out online, you send it to me and then we can set up a free consultation for you.
Barb McGrath 27:08
Perfect. Will that cheat sheet be on your website too?
Anne Gibbons 27:11
Yeah, I’ll have a link at the top of the page. That would be awesome.
Barb McGrath 27:14
Yeah, having that there would be super helpful. All right, well, we are just about out of time. So I want to thank everyone for tuning in today for the Secret Life of entrepreneurs on 91.3 FM CJ tr. Thank you so much, Anne. I didn’t even find time to tell my stories. They weren’t getters to maybe I’ll tell them in the show notes. I of course, if you tuned in the last little while you’ve heard me talk about the cheat sheet that’s available on her website. You can find her at Gibbons Travel sorry, given at Gibbons travel,
Anne Gibbons 27:46
www.Gibbonstravel.ca. And that’s gi BB o ns travel.ca.
Barb McGrath 27:54
Perfect. I will be back here on October 16. With author Denise Anderson, and she’s going to talk about the book that she recently released. All about her personal experience of divorce in a small town and in Saskatchewan. demore divorce in a small town is a common thing. So if you’d like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at email@example.com or reach out on Facebook and Instagram at Above the Fold Canada. Just a reminder, you can even submit questions in advance of the live show on our Facebook page. I’m your host, Barb McGrath, local business owner, Google girl. Remember, you worked hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.