“If you are going to be a great agent, you need to develop good clients who you want to dance with. A good dance is when you are leading and you and your client want to put your arms around each other.”
That’s Anne Morgan Scully, president of McCabe World Travel, in her August 2007 cover profile. We learned back then that Scully is an artist at advising her clients. She’s also an amazing mentor of the next generation of luxury travel advisors. Her strategy, along with CEO Damian McCabe, is to bring in new talent right out of college or graduate school, or to hire those seeking a second career.
“I envy the new advisors, I truly believe the years ahead will be the best in our industry,” she tells Luxury Travel Advisor. “Travel advisors are not a dying breed, they are formidable lifestyle planners. We change the way our clients experience this wonderful planet.” Her prediction? “It will soon be chic to have a travel advisor and the new topic at cocktail parties and private clubs will not be who your dress designer is but who the designer of your life’s experiences is!”
McCabe World Travel’s business has grown by more than 30 percent over the past two years. The Virtuoso agency continues to expand in all areas, including multigenerational, honeymoons, and adventure travel, “which is huge.” It’s on track to earn $40 million this year, a healthy increase from $24 million in 2007.
Client referrals, customer events and selling more to existing clients all add to its bottom line, but the great coverage the agency gets from the consumer press has had a huge positive effect as well.
Advisors at the agency are encouraged to travel so they can share their passion with their clients. “You sell what you know more effectively. We’ve covered Antarctica to the North Pole, from luxury cruises to paddle boats, from walking the earth to being driven by chauffeurs in a Rolls Royce,” says Scully.
Her favorite recent client itinerary was with Swain Destinations; it was a trip to Africa for a family of 22. Johannesburg, Victoria Falls, dining under the famous Monkey Tree, elephant-back safaris and plane rides over the falls were just some of the highlights and Ian Swain was on hand to ensure all went well, she reports.
Another wow came when members of that same family traveled to Warsaw in search of their great-great grandparents’ graves; some family members had died in Auschwitz or after the war. The family was leaving a heavily ivy-covered cemetery, with no luck after a long search for their family members, until one of the children tripped on a covered stone. It was the burial marker for her great-great grandfather.
“Travel is indeed priceless and you do believe in miracles, that there’s a greater power at work for us” says Scully.
Her personal travels have just taken her on the Viking Ingvi, the ship she christened last year in Amsterdam (see photo above).
Along the way, she saw Hotel d’Angleterre in Copenhagen, which has been completely restored after being closed for two years. “The rooms are so well appointed, with lovely colors of aubergine and grays; there are incredible Murano chandeliers in many of the rooms, and the public space is not only very elegant but also very inviting. The bars and restaurant were full at lunch and everyone dressed very well. The staff all looked as if they were wearing designer clothes,” reports Scully.