In 2009, Barbara Gallay, whom we had profiled in our December 2006 issue, sold her mega-Manhattan agency, Linden Travel, to Frosch. Gallay, whose business had been garnering $100 million a year in revenue, stayed on with Frosch through 2012 and then took some down time to do some consulting and writing; she even studied photography. But Gallay didn’t stay under the radar for long; her good friend, Richard Beck, asked her to join him at Classic Travel Services, which she gladly did.
“He showed me more and more of his amazing website — classictravel.com — and I was very impressed and amazed at the detail, hard work, and future thinking which were put into it,” Gallay tells Luxury Travel Advisor. “This was a wonderful opportunity — it was time for me to do something different in the travel field.” She notes that Classic’s online technology meshes beautifully with its customer service.
Linden Travel had been the first Manhattan agency to join Virtuoso, and the Classic alliance brings Gallay back into the luxury network's fold (Frosch is part of the Signature Travel Network). “I have a long history with Virtuoso, so it feels like I am back home,” she says.
Gallay told us in 2006 that she always had a burning desire to be in the travel business. “As a kid, I used to ask my mother to walk me to the train tracks and I would wave at the people, wondering where they were going.”
She hasn’t stopped venturing out into the world since, and says that her new favorite place is typically the last place she visited. At this moment, it’s France, where she fell in love with the Auberge du Jeu de Paume, set in the middle of the Domaine de Chantilly.
“It’s a very special Relais & Chateaux hotel — charming rooms, excellent service, topped with a two-Michelin starred restaurant,” she says. “There is plenty to see in Chantilly — all within walking distance. A few attractions are the Grand Stable, the Horse Museum, the riding show — and more. Chantilly is a sweet destination. The hotel and little town were a pleasant surprise and it’s convenient to Charles de Gaulle and Le Bourget airports — and I recommend it highly to clients at the beginning or end of a France holiday.”
Gallay says that selling Linden Travel was a dramatic step for her, since it took her from owning a large and bustling agency to being without a job. But she’s now happily adjusted to her new life and is especially enjoying her association with Classic Travel Service.
“Every day there is a new learning opportunity. Destinations are constantly changing, and the technology world is speeding ahead,” she notes. She is also inspired by working with bright, young people. “While I’m always pleased to help, advice and mentor them, they have been a constant source of education and information for me in the technology world and in understanding the likes and needs of the younger travelers today,” she says.
Bottom line for this successful travel titan? “I still get a thrill out of travel — and I am excited to see so many bright young people entering the field,” Gallay tells Luxury Travel Advisor.