Jenny Senter, owner and Founder of Celtic Heritage Destinations, has had a lifelong love of travel and history. In her role as administrative secretary at the local county office of education, she found her favorite part of the job was arranging travel and organizing conferences for staff and teachers. She heard about the online courses in Travel Marketing through Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, CA and she decided to take a few courses in order to better understand the travel industry. Jenny found these courses to be so exciting that she set a goal to become a travel agent as part of her retirement plan. She received her Certificate of Achievement in Travel Marketing, with honors, which prepared her for passing the Travel Institute Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) exam. She also completed courses for Skills Certificates in Home-Based Travel and Cruise Travel. Los Medanos College also offers Destination Specialist classes and Jenny passed the Travel Institute’s Hawaiian Destination Specialist exam.
It was a class assignment to weigh the advantages of host agencies that Jenny first became aware of Nexion, LLC. At the completion of that assignment, she knew she wanted to be affiliated with Nexion. She signed on with Nexion and started her own business in January of 2011.
Education is important to Jenny and she continues to upgrade her knowledge of various travel products through provider training with such companies such as Rail Europe, AmaWaterways, Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Disney, and various tour providers and hotels. She adds to her knowledge of various destinations through courses from Visit Scotland and Travel Institute.
Jenny finds the culture of a country fascinating and she enjoys sharing that passion with other travelers. The arts and crafts of a country are fascinating indicators of a society, which is something she enjoys sharing with clients. Many clients frequent Highland Festivals, Celtic musical events, fiber arts clubs and events and artisan guilds, where the conversation turns to these subjects. Her focus is active travel for clients that enjoy getting to know a country by walking and hiking with its residents. Western Europe will be the main focus, but Celts have immigrated to Canada, North America, Australia, and all lands in between. There is even a Highland Festival in Hawaii
As well as pursuing her passion for travel, particularly to Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales, she has participated in many community organizations. They include:
- Secretary of the North County Women In Business Network steering committee
- Member of the Willits Chamber of Commerce
- Member of the Willits Local First committee, a committee dedicated to educating the community about the importance of supporting local businesses.
- Treasurer of the Willits Photography Club
I asked Jenny if there were best practices that she would like to share with her Nexion peers. Here is what she had to say:
She is still honing those “best practices” mostly by attending as many travel industry events as she can. She recently completed Nexion Agent Essentials and wholeheartedly recommends it as one of the best opportunities to understand the various ins and outs of marketing travel. She felt she came away with a wealth of knowledge and a greater understanding of the benefits of being with a host agency such as Nexion. She also feels the contacts she made with the staff of Nexion and other agents gives her more options when seeking advice.
She continues to be active in the Los Medanos College Travel Marketing Alumni program and tries to attend quarterly meetings (3 – 4 hours from her home) where discussion often focuses on the successes and challenges of travel marketing.
A best practice, in terms of gaining clients, has been to be “visible” in her community. She has started setting up a booth at local events in which the focus is on education, not sales.
She also belongs to Curves and has booked cruises for a couple of women who also attend Curves. She volunteers with the Chamber of Commerce whenever possible. Recently, she sponsored a Celtic Music event at the local community theater as a method to be visible in another segment of our community. It’s not only about making the sale. She is adamant about following-up with her clients before, during, and after their trip. She creates packets that tell the client a little about the history and culture of their destination. She handles all of the client’s travel arrangements so that they don’t feel the need to turn to the internet. She also books air only, with a fee, simply because it can open the door for a potential client who will book more than air next time.