Chris Wallis, director, Affiliate Partnerships, Expedia Affiliate Network
What was your first job in travel?
My first job in travel was as a travel consultant at STA Travel in Cambridge. It was
also my first job after university, so I have been in travel for the long haul. I
sold gap year packages - I'd travelled after university and I'd just returned to the
UK, so I knew what students were after. Of course, I also had to know what parents
were after, as they were usually the ones paying!
What was the high point of your career?
There have been lots. After I left university, I never had a concrete plan to get
into travel, but once I was in the industry, I never looked back and I've been lucky
enough to have had some brilliant times. There's been lots of big deals and
successes, and I never get tired of that feeling, but I think some of the most
exciting times were when I was working in the airline business. I got to meet some
amazing people, including having dinner with Steve Redgrave. I also got to play a
round of golf with Sam Torrance, which was brilliant.
What was the low point?
I was working at Lufthansa when 9/11 happened and I had lots of friends at United as
well, so the emotional impact across the airline industry was especially intense.
And trying to keep the business profitable through a period when no-one wanted to
fly anywhere was really challenging. On a lighter note, being a Spurs fan, I hugely
regret having my photograph taken with the Chelsea first team at Stamford Bridge. It
was part of a corporate hospitality package, so I had to force a smile, but I asked
them to burn the negatives afterwards...
What's your biggest regret?
I definitely don't have any from the travel industry - I've had a fabulous career,
especially since I've been at Expedia. But when I was growing up I always wanted to
be a fighter pilot. I got as far as undergoing the physical tests, but I quickly
discovered that I just can't deal with G-force - I black out at around 3G and
fighter pilots need to be able to handle much more than that.
What would you be doing now if you weren't in travel?
I'd like to think I'd be doing something to do with golf - I don't think my swing is
good enough to be a professional, but I'm sure I could have been a good caddy. They
say that those who can't do, teach, so I reckon I could help Tiger Woods to remember
how to win, and maybe help Luke Donald to start winning.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011