MEET OUR TRAVEL CONSULTANTS
Q&A WITH CORPORATE TRAVEL CONSULTANT FOR AAA CORPORATE TRAVEL, KAREN WINEGAR.
Get to know our travel consultants! When our clients are on the road or in the air, they are always under the care of a AAA consultant. Our consultants are available 24/7/365 so there is never a time when a client is left high and dry.
Our corporate travel consultants are referred to as the “roadside assistance” of business travel, and it’s that reliability that drives AAA’s reputation for superior service. Meet Karen Winegar, Corporate Travel Consultant for AAA Corporate Travel. A 34 year veteran, Karen is one of nearly 50 consultants we have on staff that serve our corporate travel clients every day.
Q: How long have you been in corporate travel?
A: I have been in the corporate travel business for 34 years, since 1987.
Q: What is your favorite part about your job?
A: It has always been the interaction with my client. They are usually funny, well-traveled and always have a good story to share. Shared experiences build friendships and strong partnerships and ultimately trust. I like being able to help our travel partners navigate what can be a murky, complicated labyrinth of rules and regulations. I always appreciate having the ability to be a resource to our travelers when they end up being stranded due to circumstances beyond their control.
Q: What do you like most about working for AAA?
A: I really like my team of colleagues. I am almost the new kid on the block (even after 5 years!). Their wealth of knowledge and their willingness to assist me with the occasional quandary/question is so very appreciated by me.
Q: Do you have a most memorable client experience you could share?
A: I had a corporate traveler at Chicago O’Hare getting ready to travel to Asia (before 9/11). His wife called me in a panic to advise she found his connecting ticket in China sitting on the kitchen table and she was unable to reach him (this was before tickets became electronic and cell phones were not the norm!). I sent our messenger to the home to pick up the ticket and bring it back to the office. I instructed my staff to try and reach the traveler by any means possible while I boarded the BLUE Line train to ORD with the ticket in hand. We were able to page the traveler in the airport and I was able to get to the airport, meet him, hand off the wayward ticket and get back to office all in less than 3 hours! We all celebrated that night after work with pizza and beer at Gino’s Pizzeria. Deep dish…yum! Our client was extremely relieved and pleased!
Q: Where is the best place you have visited for vacation? What did you like about it?
A: I LOVED my 2 trips to Italy. The food and vino was abundanza, the scenery bellisima, the amazing history so…historical and the friendly jovial people. Venice, The Uffizi Gallery, the Isle of Capri and its Blue Grotto, the lyrical soft focus countryside of Tuscany…and the archeological treasure of Pompeii…memories to cherish forever.
Q: If you could give business travelers one piece of advice, what would it be?
A: As I have witnessed many times on my travels…when confronted with adversity while on a trip it is best to not react with anger. So often what has happened is out of the control of the person to whom you are “speaking”. Being kind, having patience and the ability to be flexible will get you where you need to be much sooner than a belligerent intimidating approach. A good/successful road warrior has the innate ability to be flexible, is open to change…willing to go with the flow.