With a flourishing business set right on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, CA, Anastasia Mann’s Corniche Travel has grown considerably since we featured it in our October 2005 cover profile. It’s maintained its robust corporate client base, which has enjoyed a 97 percent retention over the agency’s entire 28 years, and its leisure travel division has also expanded. "We are doing many more groups and incentives as well,” says Mann, who recently hired Reggie McDowell as president. “Reggie is a well-respected former hotel general manager in Los Angeles who brings a new perspective of revenue management and analysis, which melds well with Corniche’s reputation for strong ethics and ‘high-touch’ standards,” she tells Luxury Travel Advisor.
The company’s Africa division, launched in December 2004, has enjoyed tremendous expansion, she adds.
“We are working with the crème de la crème of travel companies in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Great Britain and Asia,” she tells us. “The primary focus is to create a fully customized, private safari experience ‘in the bush’ for folks that is within their budget, but only if we can fulfill their utmost expectations.”
She’s also launched Corniche Entertainment, a music management and production company that includes marquee artist Louie Cruz Beltran. “We’ve produced concerts and coordinated entertainment at venues from Southern California to Dubai. Many events tie in with our clients’ corporate activities as well as our supplier promotional activities,” says Mann. Then there’s Sofisticado Las Vegas, a destination management company, launched with her best friend and partner Dabney Bixel (Bixel & Co., Los Angeles) and her cousin, Tom Kostoff, who serves as president.
Corniche Travel, “a strong member of Signature Travel Network,” had an annual sales revenue of $35 million in 2014, which does not include its separately operated divisions. Revenues have grown because of a focus on “client maintenance and satisfaction through excellence of exceptional service standards,” says Mann. That’s led to client loyalty and new business referrals, she adds.
Mann has traveled to at least 109 countries so far, many of them multiple times, but she still loves Africa best. “My soul finds peace, joy and zest for life there. I love the rustic ‘old Africa’ bush experience the best — Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Northern Kenya and the hidden bush Veldt of Tanzania. Yet I am thrilled by the private reserves and elegance of Sabi Sands and Madikwe in South Africa.”
Closer to home, the St. Regis New York was Mann’s most recent hotel visit and she can report, “without exception, that the doormen to the reception desk crew to the telephone operators to the King Cole Bar servers, were most attentive, courteous, gracious, respectful and professional, consistently throughout my stay. There was not one comment I could give the general manager, other than my complete thanks for a superb experience in this tasteful, understated but luxurious hotel.”
She insists there is no finer career for young women and men to consider than the travel and tourism industry. “You can work anywhere in the world. It embraces you as a young person … [through an] entry-level job ... And, if you hang in there, you can become the next general manager, pilot, food & beverage director, travel writer, sales manager, maître d’ or entrepreneur. We are blessed to be a part of it.”