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Interview with Gregg Tilston, Global Social Media Leader, of Flight Centre

Gregg Tilston, of Flight Centre, skiing in Big White. Photo: Gregg Tilston

Gregg Tilston is the Global Social Media Leader for the travel agency, Flight Centre. In overseeing the strategy for regional Social Media specialists (in countries such as Australia, South Africa and England), he is constantly on the go and plugged in.  In fact, he conducted this interview from Brisbane, Australia! We tapped into his life as a business traveller and his tips on exploring Canada.

1.  Working for a travel company, no day is the same. What is your travel schedule like and how often are you travelling in Canada?
With the constant change in Social Media as well as the requirements from our marketing teams and our campaign partners, I absolutely agree that no day is the same. Additionally, I travel to each of our offices, located around the world,  each quarter plus global and regional conferences. I actually don’t travel as much in Canada as I used to but still do probably once a quarter – mostly to Vancouver.

2. I have a feeling your iphone may be akin to having another child.  How do you maintain the balance of being on the road, online and your personal life?

It can certainly be tough with the travel and supporting our teams in the South Pacific (off hours to the North American workday). When on the road I try to keep up with my wife and the kids via the social channels and Skype – I have the super-pro-awesome-upgrade package apparently. One of the biggest challenges on the road is trying to keep healthy. I work with a nutritionist, Theresa Albert (@theresaalbert) but I do miss my bike rides into the office and home. When at home, I set aside one day a week where I start the midday and work until about midnight to support Australia and New Zealand.

3. Other travellers (especially Canadian travellers) tell me that it’s really expensive to fly within Canada. What are your secrets to getting those cheap seats in Canada?

Well, it certainly helps that I work for Flight Centre (laughter) – seriously the best bet is to try to book your flights as early as possible.

4. What are you favourite travel apps? Do you have any favourite apps for travelling in Canada?

As per question two, Skype for iPhone is definitely my go-to! My colleagues in IT have insisted I start using the app Data Usage as it seems I consistently win the top data user award for the company. I definitely couldn’t live without my Hootsuite either.

5. What other gadgets or useful resources are you using on the road to make your life easier?

I cannot live without my Jambox by Jawbone. Listening to music in a hotel room has never been the same and I’m sure my neighbours around me probably think the same (but for different reasons). The Jambox is a small portable speaker box that runs on Bluetooth which is great for moving your audio around the hotel room without lugging you laptop/iPhone; great for watching movies on your laptop or IPad, and operates as a very clear hands-free unit for conference calls.

6. Do you have a favourite hotel in Canada that caters to business travellers?

Wow, there are so many so this is a tough question. I guess it depends on what kind of hotel you prefer. An art/boutique hotel I like in Vancouver is the Listel on Robson. You really can’t go wrong with any of the Fairmont hotels across Canada, and the hotel that has alluded me to date is Hôtel de Glace in Quebec.

7.  If you could concoct the Gregg Tilston Epic Canadian Adventure, what would it be?

This question is way too easy!  I would take 14 days and go to eight ski resorts (though there are so many more to try). I would start in Calgary drive to Fernie and ski my way up the Powder Highway and over to the Kelowna, hitting Fernie, Panorama, and Kicking Horse. I would then take a quick jaunt over to Banff to ski Lake Louise and Sunshine, back over to Revelstoke and then down through the Okanagan to feast in the wine region.  I would spend one day at Silver Star, and finish off at Big White.

For more on Flight Centre, check out their Canadian site and their blog for great travel planning tips and interviews across the Globe. You can also follow Where Canada on Twitter and Facebook to get updates on Travel Tuesday interviews.

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