A New Name in Travel

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Toni Ni­cholas

With more than three decades of ex­pe­ri­ence be­tween them, two Saint Lu­cians are adding to that num­ber - great per­son­al­ized cus­tomer ser­vice, with a smile of course, as their recipe for suc­cess.

Meet Adrian Popo, Man­ager of Travel and Leisure Cen­tre and Ber­nice Jean, Op­er­a­tions Man­ager. Ac­cord­ing to Popo, who re­cently set up shop at Gable­woods Mall in Sunny Acres, he worked his way from the bot­tom of the ser­vice in­dus­try all the way up to now run­ning his own business. He gar­nered 16 years of ex­pe­ri­ence along the way.

“I started off as a cus­tomer ser­vice rep at Vigie air­port (now George FL Charles Air­port), be­fore mov­ing to He­wan­norra in Vieux Fort and later join­ing the San­dals team,” Popo told the STAR. “I later got back into the travel in­dus­try and worked with Air Ja­maica and then Caribbean Star Air­lines be­fore they ceased op­er­a­tions,” he went on. Popo later su­per­vised and man­aged some of the top travel agen­cies in Saint Lu­cia be­fore call­ing it a day some time last year.

De­scrib­ing his as a re­cent spir­i­tual jour­ney, he says it was God’s call­ing that took him to where he is right now. It is a joy­ful and sat­is­fy­ing place called “his own business.”

“I think this was sim­ply my call­ing to move on and gain the strength to open my own business and do what I am most pas­sion­ate about in an area I think I have the nat­u­ral God-given tal­ent for,” Popo says.

This he says, plus the in­spi­ra­tion and en­cour­age­ment he re­ceived from mem­bers of the pub­lic whom he had served pre­vi­ously, made the tran­si­tion eas­ier. “Go­ing into business on your own is not an easy thing, es­pe­cially in th­ese eco­nomic times. But I re­ceived so many calls from per­sons that I had served in the past and hav­ing all th­ese peo­ple call­ing and ex­press­ing dis­may that I was no longer in­volved and oth­ers en­cour­ag­ing me to get back in were quite a bit of in­spi­ra­tion. So start­ing this off know­ing that I had a client base helped too,” Popo says.

And so with the of­fer of a small of­fice space from some­one at Gable­woods Mall - some­thing which he also calls a small mir­a­cle - Adrian Popo opened the doors to the Travel and Leisure Cen­tre this June. The company of­fers air­line tick­et­ing, cruise pack­ages, US and Cana­dian visa ap­pli­ca­tion as­sis­tance and ap­point­ments, lo­cal and re­gional tours, ho­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion world­wide, recre­ational, sports and en­ter­tain­ment pack­ages as well as driv­ing class reg­is­tra­tion. Asked what sep­a­rates his business from other sim­i­lar ones around, he says that it is his wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence and go­ing the ex­tra mile to of­fer each cus­tomer that great per­son­al­ized ser­vice. “It is also about un­der­stand­ing the prod­uct that I am sell­ing and hav­ing made sev­eral con­tacts and worked within sev­eral net­works and cir­cles I am also able to se­cure some of the best prices around to our cus­tomers,” he adds.

Ber­nice Jean, who re­cently joined Travel and Leisure Cen­tre, de­scribes the move as quite nat­u­ral, since it was a dream she longed to share with Popo. She comes with 19 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the business and says her great­est sat­is­fac­tion is bring­ing a smile to her cus­tomers’ sat­is­fied faces.

She re­counts her jour­ney in the field: “I en­tered the business as a ju­nior agent and over the years I gained the rel­e­vant train­ing by at­tend­ing a num­ber of cour­ses lo­cally and in Trinidad. I then moved into su­per­vis­ing the tick­et­ing depart­ment with one of the agen­cies that I worked with pre­vi­ously, and was also a trainee man­ager with re­spon­si­bil­ity for cor­po­rate clients at another travel agency.”

Jean de­scribes her­self as very pas­sion­ate about what she does and en­joys of­fer­ing the ex­tra support and ser­vices to clients that would make their va­ca­tion or travel plans so much more has­sle free and en­joy­able.

The pair says that it is all about the cus­tomer, lis­ten­ing to them, go­ing the ex­tra mile and al­ways will­ing to learn along the way. Mak­ing ev­ery sin­gle one feel spe­cial and pay­ing at­ten­tion to their in­di­vid­ual needs is also some­thing they say that comes nat­u­rally at Travel and Leisure Cen­tre, where the motto is “One des­ti­na­tion in mind … yours!”

Adrian Popo and Ber­nice Jean open­ing new doors to

travel made easy.

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