While our Travelers are flying or renting a car or walking into a hotel room after a long day, there’s a team of people who are standing by and ready to help at a moment’s notice.
Our Meet the JTB Team series on the Waypoint Blog is designed to introduce some of the many anonymous travel professionals who work each day to ensure organizations maximize their travel spend while Travelers enjoy comfortable, productive trips. This month, we’re introducing Ditiana Gibbons, who serves on our customer support team.
How long have you been with the company?
I’ve been with JTB Business Travel for 4 years now.
What do you like most about your job?
I first started because I’m a big believer in customer support. Nowadays, when you reach out to customer support at the average business, it feels like the people in customer support don’t actually like dealing with customers. But I’m a people person. I like helping them, teaching them, etc. My job includes a lot of training, and it feels good at the end of the day to know that you’re making people’s lives easier — just being that friendly voice and helping them with something that might be frustrating.
What inspires you?
I have 4 kids, and having that many kids is like having someone watch and record everything you do and say all day long, so I have to be on my best behavior. It’s important that I set a good example and that I raise responsible human beings.
What does a usual day look like for you?
I’m usually involved in a lot of client support calls. I’m also on a lot of team calls, just because we’re working remotely right now. I feel like it’s important to keep up the team’s morale, to make the team feel supported, and to make sure there’s transparency into the projects we’re working on. I’m big on team meetings throughout the week, and I’m also big on educational opportunities that keep me up to date on the latest developments in the travel industry. I share anything with the team that I think can make us a little bit better. I like the job because it’s always something different. There’s a lot of variety, and I can say that it’s never boring.
Why did you decide to start working in the travel industry?
I decided to work in the travel industry because I have a degree in international business. JTB is a global company, and I ultimately thought it would be a good way to apply the things I learned getting my degree. I worked on building out our presence in Europe as my first project.
What question do Business Travelers ask you most often when planning travel for work?
I communicate most with Travelers when they are trying to make a booking. For example, given the pandemic, clients are a little unsure about the different requirements for traveling to different countries. I point them to Sherpa and TripKicks, which are our partners. Those 2 tools help Travelers better understand requirements so that they can feel more confident about booking. They help our Travelers plan ahead using the information needed to make decisions.
What is the most valuable thing you have learned from working with Business Travelers?
The most valuable thing I’ve learned is the importance of training. I had never realized how much an investment in good training would pay off. Similarly, I’ve also realized the importance of resources. This year we built something we call the Answer Center, which is basically a self-service knowledge hub. We also built a digital library. We call them “Like a Pro” videos, because not everyone has an hour to watch a video. We turned all of our training sessions into 10-minute, bite-size videos, so Travelers would have something short and digestible that they can access when needed. The best Traveler is an educated Traveler. Our team really is education-focused and centered on making sure clients feel confident using the technology we offer.
What advice would you give an employee who is just getting started with travel for work?
My advice is to subscribe to all of the travel industry news outlets, like Business Travel News and things like that. You can also find really good webinars to watch or listen to, and that’s where I try to cherry-pick different ideas and presentation styles. Working remotely, it’s really important to give yourself access to educational opportunities like that.
What is the most common mistake you see Travelers make that you wish you could prevent?
Travelers don’t always maximize their travel profiles and consolidate their membership programs. It’s best to focus on just one program, like Marriott Bonvoy, and then the same with airlines. For example, if you have a Lufthansa number, you can use it for all Star Alliance airlines like United and SAS. Your profile is the foundation of everything, so we focus on making sure the travel profile is correct with mobile numbers and TSA PreCheck numbers.
What’s your life motto or slogan?
It goes like this: Smooth seas never made an experienced sailor. It’s about accepting all the obstacles that get thrown my way. When things go wrong, it’s just an opportunity for me to learn and think on my feet. For example, when I first started doing webinars, I failed miserably with the GoToMeeting tool. I collapsed the audience view, so I didn’t know what they were looking at or thinking. I struggled then, but I’ve come so far. Now, it comes naturally for me to host webinars and have meaningful conversations.
Is there anything you do in your personal life that has benefited you in your work life?
When COVID first started, the only workout I was doing was the walk to my pantry to get a bag of chips. Then I started doing kickboxing and beachbody workouts from home. It’s really helped me be more disciplined, because you really have to schedule that 1 hour during the day to focus on health and fitness.
What do you enjoy most about working with people who travel for work?
We work with a variety of people. There are some who travel all the time, so they know what they want. Then there are others who travel maybe once a year, and they have a lot of questions. We’re happy to help them all — no matter their experience and knowledge levels. If we can improve their experience with just a simple tip, that’s really fulfilling. The variety keeps things really interesting. There are always new projects and new initiatives here. It’s a global company, our team is still growing, and we’re able to implement different ideas. It’s not boring, that’s for sure.
Do you speak Japanese?
No, I do not.
Have you ever been to Japan?
No, I’ve never been to Japan.
What is your favorite travel destination?
It’s wherever I have a family. It used to be Hawaii and California when I had a lot of family there. But now most of our friends and family are in New Jersey. I like to go there and get a really good bagel, really good pizza, really good Chinese takeout, and then spend time with family.
Where is your favorite place to eat/drink/enjoy when you travel?
There’s a restaurant in New Jersey called Houston’s, and they have the best vegetarian burger I’ve ever had in my life.
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