Meet MTA – Mobile Travel Agents’ Member, Belinda Paul
Ask Belinda Paul to best describe her busy life as an MTA – Mobile Travel Agents’ Member while juggling a husband, two girls aged 10 and 12 yrs and a mischievous but loveable dog, and she will always respond with one word – “flexibility’.
Working from home in Tasmania’s beatific Huon Valley, Belinda has been an MTA Member since 2015, joining the company after a lengthy career working in both the leisure and corporate travel in her native Tasmania and Queensland.
The catalyst for the change – her then employer was closing the agency where she worked and while offered several options with other outlets, none of these offered her the flexibility she needed to balance her family life and assist with her husband’s business.
A co-worked suggested MTA, Belinda made an approach, was accepted and since then, has never looked back.
Today her client base is diverse and while Belinda purports to be a “bit of a Jack of all trades” and she can readily arrange any form of travel itinerary, she does tend to specialise in family friendly-style itineraries which she says stems from her own holiday experiences regularly shared via social media.
As a Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) cruising also forms a good percentage of her business along with some corporate travel activity.
“MTA gives me the freedom to run my business as I choose without pressure to sell certain products plus with MTA’s Virtuoso, Belmond and Cruisco memberships I can always provide my customers with the best in products and services,” she says.
“The Study Tour opportunities are amazing too, the most recent being a program to Mexico last year where we visited Flora Farms, and visited the old town of San Jose del Cabo for Day of the Dead’ celebrations which is just about as Mexican as it gets.
“Home based agents are definitely the way of the future and this sector will continue grow to accommodate and retain experienced staff members who may need to care for young families or aging relatives or who just want the flexibility.
“Technology has allowed us to be able to do the job from anywhere and I also think that already there is a strong swing back to using personalised services, in particular with young professionals who see the value in booking through a Travel Agent.”
The best piece of advice she has ever been given was provided by a former supervisor who suggested she get the “procrastinating monkey off her back” when deliberating over a difficult client’s booking.
“Once you have dealt with the problem at hand everything else becomes easier and more manageable. Procrastination is still my weakness but I’m a work in progress!”, she says.
Best personal achievement – completing the ‘Point to Pinnacle Run’ in 2014, a half marathon from the Wrest Point Casino in Hobart to the top of Mount Wellington.
Final words from Belinda who admits she harbours a desire to stay at George Clooney’s luxury Lake Como villa– never travel without a first aid kit, phone and a good book!