Fiona Gent shares why 2020 is the year to join MTA

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As the role of the travel advisor evolves, it’s now more possible to create curated travel experiences on your own terms. Whether it’s flexible hours or simply the satisfaction of working for yourself, going mobile is what more and more travel advisors are turning to.

Gold Coast-based advisor Fiona Gent made the move to MTA – Mobile Travel Agents 12 years ago and says it has been the best decision for her career and family. As Fiona puts it, “the flexibility that comes with being your own boss and the satisfaction you gain from building your own successful travel business is wonderful. Earning what you deserve for your knowledge and hard work is even better!”

While 2020 has been an unprecedented year in the travel industry, Fiona was pleased to see MTA pivot towards increasing their domestic market. By launching a unique domestic collection through the Virtuoso network, MTA has been able to help advisors, like Fiona, continue to make sales, even with the borders closed.

Let’s find out why Fiona – and many other travel advisors across the country – are turning to MTA to get their business thriving.

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Tell us about yourself, Fiona – how long have you worked in travel? Were you store based or mobile?

I’ve been working in the travel industry for over 18 years and running my own business with MTA for 12.

I started my career onboard International Cruise Lines including Disney & Princess Cruises and after returning to Australia I wanted to share my knowledge, experiences, and passion for travelling the world, so began my career as a Travel Consultant in 2005 and have never looked back!

I worked in both retail and non-retail agencies including Flight Centre, My Holiday Centre and Travelworld.

What was it that made you make the leap over to MTA Travel?

I loved being a Travel Consultant but I had always envisaged working for myself and with 2 young children and the MTA business model was incredibly appealing. Not only does it offer the flexibility to work around my family commitments, it offers an opportunity to challenge myself in developing and growing my own successful business.

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How did you find the shift between your old advisor role and your new MTA role? 

It’s an exciting challenge to take on, to grow and build your own business. It is rewarding in ways I never imagined. I have always loved being a Travel Advisor but have found the level of relationship you develop with clients when it is your own business is really special.

Learning to market myself and my business and seeing it grow over the years to the level it is at today gives me a sense of satisfaction I could not achieve working for someone else.

Tell us more about the training and support MTA offered you when you started. Has the support continued?

MTA offers an incredible range of inhouse training from webinars on fares and ticketing to marketing and product updates. With MTA Professional Plus (our inhouse accreditation program) and our learning platform, we have access to a huge library of information we can use for our own professional development. Our fantastic relationships with our suppliers mean we also have great opportunities for ship and hotel inspections, and access to direct product updates with our industry partners.

In an ever-changing industry, it’s important to keep our knowledge and skills up to date and I have always felt incredibly fortunate for the level of training and support offered by MTA.

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How have you found the response from your clients? Have they found the exclusive offers on domestic travel with Virtuoso appealing?

Despite the unprecedented impacts on travel this year, I have found travellers are still wanting their holiday fix and with the majority of my clients being Queenslanders, they are still very happily exploring Queensland.

MTA Head Office quickly recognised that we’d need domestic travel experiences to offer our clients since international borders were closed. They launched ‘Our Australia – Revive Collection’ which is a unique collection of domestic offers many exclusive to MTA.

Being able to offer additional exclusive benefits and VIP upgrades through the Virtuoso network is definitely an added bonus and we are looking forward to being able to offer these benefits in other Aussie destinations as borders re-open.

Tell us about a recent trip you have planned for a client

2020 has thrown some crazy situations our way and I am grateful to find myself in a position where I have been able to successfully pivot to a domestic market and still continue to offer incredible holiday opportunities for my clients. I’ve planned everything from a 4-day 40th birthday celebration for 70 guests including a beachside dinner, drinks on a superyacht and a tennis tournament to adults-only escapes at the Beach Club on Hamilton Island and family getaways to the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort in Port Douglas.

People are still wanting to get away, spend time with their loved ones, explore and create memories through travel. We can still help them achieve that, just a little closer to home.

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What would you say to advisors looking to join MTA?

If you have a passion for working in the travel industry and are looking for a more rewarding work/life balance then MTA is the perfect fit. The flexibility that comes with being your own boss and the satisfaction you gain from building your own successful travel business is wonderful. Earning what you deserve for your knowledge and hard work is even better!

MTA has great resources, from our Marketing, Ticketing & Product departments to our Business Development Managers. Combined with the support you will receive from your MTA colleagues it’s the perfect business model to assist you in achieving your travel business goals.

What is on your Australia bucket list?

I guess the question should be what isn’t?! We love exploring and sharing our incredible travel journeys with our kids so, high on the list for us is One & Only Wolgan Valley. Their Wolgan Junior Rangers programme is a fantastic way for the kids to explore and learn about our native flora and fauna and their carefully curated restaurant menus and signature gin cocktails look like vacation perfection for the adults!

As much as I adore the idea of the kids getting back to nature in the Blue Mountains, I’m a beach vacay girl at heart so I am also currently dreaming of experiencing the Great Barrier Reef from the comfort of a luxury beachfront villa on the stunning Orpheus Island. Bliss!

For more information on MTA – Mobile Travel agents, call 1300 682 000.