Jody Bear of Bear & Bear Travel in New York is one of the most active travel advisors on Facebook that we know. She’s great at posting breaking luxury news on new hotels and suites, culled from personal research, from visiting vendors and through her own travel.
Her most recent journeys brought her to Stockholm, Sweden, which she says was one of the most sophisticated and interesting cities she has been to. She's also visited Cuba, Sri Lanka (“it was exciting and exotic”), as well as Jose Ignacio, Uruguay (“that was very cool and sexy”) and was impressed by the new Aman in Tokyo: “The views were spectacular, the accommodations were fabulous and the spa, pool and fitness center were impressive,” she tells us.
It’s understandable why Bear is able to find the pulse point of each place she visits and why she’s so comfortable handling A-listers. Before getting into travel, she was successfully managing a Manhattan restaurant, which, at the time, was attracting models and other fashion professionals. “[In the ’80s] it was the place to come to before heading over to Studio 54,” her husband, Steven, who is the president of the agency, told us, when we interviewed the duo in 2009 for our June/July cover. Bear soon decided it was the perfect time to make a move to the luxury travel market, starting out with JMC Travel in New York’s West Village. “We were selling everything, from soup to nuts. But the owner had a lot of celebrity clients and there were a lot of interesting people,” she said.
Fast Forward: Today, this world savvy agency owner, who has seven advisors working with her, is extremely hands-on with her customers. “We devote a lot of time to each client, and they expect that we are on call 24/7,” she says. “In this day and age, if we don’t cater to our clients’ immediate needs and live up to their expectations, we don’t deserve to have them as clients; I strongly believe that. As a result of this philosophy, most of our new clients are word of mouth recommendations.”
Bear just booked a three-month, around-the-world journey for a large family. "I customized every tour and handpicked every guide," she says. The family went to Sydney’s Taronga Zoo before it opened to the public. Then she booked them a memorable experience in New Zealand with a Lord of the Rings touch. "After a month in Southeast Asia, they continued to China and fed the panda bears at the Chengdu Zoo. In Tokyo they had a private visit to the Sumo Beya and continued on to Kyoto for a private dinner and performance with geishas. These are just some of the highlights," she says.
Not willing to sit still, Bear is launching a redesigned corporate program and will also expand her concierge department, “since this is a large component of the luxury market,” she says.