David Rubin, luxury travel advisor and owner of DavidTravel based in Southern California, last spoke with us back in 2012 for his profile in our December issue.
Rubin began his company in 1996 after deciding he was no longer happy with his career as a lawyer.
“As an attorney, I was a litigator. I did not like that my work focused around disputes,” Rubin told Luxury Travel Advisor. “My career change to travel has been a magical paradigm shift.”
He began selling travel to destinations that were important to him, such as Eastern Europe and Southern Africa. From the very beginning, he was interested in creating a strong reputation in the small niche of luxury travel for gay and lesbian globetrotters and their friends; a group he felt was being neglected at the time.
Rubin was particularly lucky with the market he chose to cater to due to the fact that the gay community was an early adapter to the Internet, making it easier to communicate online.
One of the challenges he faced when creating the company was designing a business model from scratch in an industry that he had just entered. However, Rubin was able to come up with a successful roster of five staff members and eight independent contractors, which brought in annual revenue of approximately $2 million when we spoke with him in 2012.
Also, he never relies solely on commission. Instead, Rubin works directly with on-the-ground destination management company (DMC) offices, avoiding an extra level of markup by receiving a net price and charging his clients accordingly so he can turn a profit.
Today, DavidTravel continues to grow thanks to Rubin’s creative business strategies and loyal clientele.
“We now have our affiliation with Montecito Village Travel, a Virtuoso agency, and we are an independent contractor of Your Travel Center, a branch of Tzell Travel Group/Travel Leaders,” Rubin tells us. “This gives us a broad reach for getting generous value-adds and VIP status for our clients.”
The company’s latest annual sales revenue is currently $2 million, plus $3 million in independent contractor production.
DavidTravel remains focused on providing unique experiences directed toward the LGBT community. A recent trip Rubin booked was an 86-day, round-the-world custom-designed honeymoon for a young, bi-racial gay couple.
“We convinced our clients to go at a gentle pace. There was mix of cultural, adventure and luxury beach experiences. Destinations were very diverse, including Australia, Bali, India, Maldives, Ethiopia, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Rwanda and Amsterdam. We made sure all of the suppliers and experiences were welcoming to this gay and bi-racial young couple,” he says.
Rubin also tells us that in his own personal travels, he’s discovered a new favorite hotel: the Andaz Tokyo.
“It is chic, hip, dynamic and well run with a great staff and GM,” he tells Luxury Travel Advisor. “Every room has great views of Tokyo, plus the gym, spa and pool are magical oases in this busy city. Love it!”