When Barbara King made the career change from selling real estate to selling travel in 1992, there was no doubt in her mind that she would be successful.
In fact, she was so confident in her skills that when the opportunity to buy an agency presented itself she dove in head first, purchasing what was then Fox Hill Travel in Kansas and rebranded it Great Getaways Travel.
“I thought: If I can sell real estate, I can sell travel,” King told Luxury Travel Advisor back in 2011 when she graced the cover of our May issue.
She was right.
When King launched the agency, she was solely interested in selling high-end FIT travel, which had some in the industry raising their eyebrows and advising her against targeting such a narrow market. But, once again, her confidence and intuition proved she was right.
Ten years later in 2002, Great Getaways Travel had established such a strong client base that it no longer sought walk-in traffic at its offices, located in the affluent Kansas City suburb of Leawood. By the end of 2010, the agency saw revenues reaching $5 million, and had expectations to beat that in the coming years.
Annual sales revenue in 2014 exceeded $6 million, further demonstrating that King’s ongoing confidence and ability to adapt to the ever-changing luxury market continues to bring her success.
Consistent and gradual change is something King feels is crucial for the agency’s continued growth, and since we last spoke with her there have been several major developments within the agency.
This past year, Great Getaways Travel added three Millennials to its roster; two advisors and one support employee. It also instituted a six-part process, created by the Agent to Advisor Innovation Team at Virtuoso, in which the client and advisor collaborate to create an “exceptional, tailored journey.”
“Beginning in 2015, we’ve changed our advisors’ earning capacity by allowing them to earn a percentage rather than a fixed amount and we have experienced the most productive first five months in 23 years of business,” King says. “Also, we’ve become even more involved with Virtuoso and reap the rewards of that association. I am serving my second term as director of South Central Region U.S. on Virtuoso’s Member Advisory Board.”
King, along with her husband Michael, who is co-president of the agency, received several awards and honors in the past year.
“I was named one of the top 100 Most Influential Kansas Citians,” she tells us. “[Michael] was chosen by National Geographic Expeditions as one of only 15 advisors who work with clients on their 15 new curated adventures.”
So, after all this success, what’s next for Great Getaways Travel?
“We have a new division of Great Getaways Travel, Magic Dust Guru, devoted to selling all things Disney,” King tells Luxury Travel Advisor. “Also, we’ve begun to promote our African Safari specialty [SafariSOgood] on Facebook in addition to maintaining and growing the social media presences of [the agency] on Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.”