Wouldn’t we all want to turn back the biological clock, 10, maybe 20 years? Now, if we did, would we still be in the same business we are in now? I think so. As I meet many youthful luxury travel advisors, I am encouraged by their energy and optimism toward the business. Are they worried about their industry becoming obsolete as technology continues to invent new ways of doing things? No way! Are they concerned about commission cuts? No way! They are paving a new road to success and are capturing new customers by having an open mind about travel products and new destinations. And yes, these customers are not baby boomers who grew up with traditional travel booking channels.
Think about this: when was the last time you held a cocktail reception, in a trendy bar, in your local business district, and had your clients share their travel experiences with potential clients and your favorite suppliers? On top of that, everyone in the room is under 40. I am sure many of you have, but I know the majority has not.
My advice is the opposite of what you always hear, which is to say, “Do not look to your elders for advice.” Sounds blasphemous, I know, but if you want a successful business model going forward, then look to the youth of the travel industry. They are not adapting to change; they are creating it.
In this month’s issue, you are going to read about a group of young ladies, who together make up Jet Set World Travel, a travel consultancy that was founded in 2005. Coincidentally, four years ago I met Julia Douglas, Jet Set’s president, at a Luxury Travel Advisor event in Mexico. At the time, she was just starting her business and was unabashedly green—but determined to learn and be the best. Five years after we crossed paths, Jet Set World Travel is a force to be reckoned with. Above, I am pictured with one of Jet Set’s two independent contractors, Jill Taylor, who, along with colleague Monika Weinsoft, is shaking up the industry by hosting events like the kind mentioned above, at posh city locales whenever they can to spur business. Looks like it’s working; these ladies are inspiring me to look at our business in a whole new light.