Part of what makes Tenon so great is our one-on-one mentality and desire to get to know our clients. We thought it was about time to return the favor and let you get to know us! Janet, one of our Travel Specialists, has been with us since 2013. Below she answered some questions about herself and her journey in the travel business!
As someone who has been in the travel industry for some time (over 27 years!), what would you say stands out about Tenon Tours over other companies you have worked for?
Tenon is small and nimble and most importantly – very flexible. We are willing to try new things and if they do not work out, we can change course quickly and fix things; larger tour operators just cannot do that — it’s like trying to change course on the Titanic! We are also not trying to be all things to all people. We truly specialize in our select destinations and that makes us unique. We are not diluted by trying to sell Antarctica and the Caribbean with the same sales team. We focus on a few things and do them very, very well.
What are you complimented on most in your work?
I like to think that my clients and I become friends as we work together booking their trips. Since I can’t travel as much as I would like (Gotta pay the bills somehow!), I like to travel vicariously with my clients. That means I want them to have the best trip they possibly can and come back with wonderful, life-changing memories. I also practice “tough love” in travel: If something, in my opinion, is not going to be practical or cost-effective or is not worth their time and effort, I will be very honest and let people know my thoughts so they can look at pros and cons and make the right decision for their trip.
You’ve traveled a lot over the years with your daughter, Julia. Any advice for those looking to travel with kids?
Traveling with kids is hands down the most fun and the most stressful thing you will ever do!
My advice is to have as much structure and safety as you can; which means automatic car, pre-booked itinerary, travel insurance and once you have that framework, the safety “net,” that frees you up to do all sorts of wonderful, goofy things that you would not likely do traveling as an adult. We’ve visited the Natural History Museum — Dubliners call it the “Dead Zoo” — and have seen a dodo skeleton. We’ve been to a donkey sanctuary in Liscarrol and petted some wonderful old souls. I’ve trekked through Connemara mud and gorse and bramble beside my daughter while she rode a Connemara pony-I got filthy, but we saw such beautiful hills and coastline that you’ll never see from a car window! I’ve let her pile into a teeny car with about 10 other kids (No seat belts!) and the B&B farmer/owner at the wheel to go into a field to pick stones before the plowing: She wept to leave that B&B, she had so much fun with all the local kids. Oh, and always, ALWAYS carry candy bars and crackers as emergency snacks!
Who is your ideal client and why should they connect with you?
My ideal client is someone who has never been to Ireland or the UK before and has some flexibility in their travel window (Season, length of the trip…) and has a sense of where they want to go but is also open to suggestions of places to see and stay. It’s also good if they have a budget that is realistic for the length of their trip and with a little bit of flexibility so that if there is something special that I think they would enjoy-like a castle stay-we can include some fun options and still stay within their general expectations of cost. I also love working with people who have never visited before since I know they are going to have a fantastic time and will want to go back again!
Name one city or sight that surprised you the most in terms of how much you enjoyed it and why.
Abbotsford in Scotland-Sir Walter Scott’s home. We were there three years ago as part of a scheduled Escorted Tour itinerary. Our visit was just after it reopened after a refurbishment-the Queen had even been there a few days before. Although I am an English major, I do not particularly care for Scott’s work, BUT the house and furnishings were wonderful! The library is incredible, as are the grounds. Well worth a visit, a completely enchanting stop!
Read more about what Janet’s clients have to say about her at our Traveler’s Stories HERE!