Lia Batkin and her husband, Seth Kaplan, have seen their co-owned travel agency, In the Know Experiences in New York City, grow a minimum of 30 percent every year since the duo graced the cover of the February 2013 issue of Luxury Travel Advisor.
But that doesn’t mean the married couple’s work is done, as some of the biggest plans for In the Know Experiences are yet to come.
“We have grown our event business dramatically, which in part is due to working more with travel advisors so they can offer our VIP event and experiential access to their clients,” says Batkin. “We are always exploring ideas that appeal to our clients’ needs and can make their lives that much easier.”
Batkin tells Luxury Travel Advisor that the couple created new divisions of the company such as real estate advisory, acquisitions, and investment strategy for overseas clients seeking interest in the United States.
“And finally we are currently working on a new vertical that will be launching in early September called Vacationstyle, which is a fashion and travel website that picks the top destinations that one would want to go to during each season of the year,” Batkin tells us.
In 2013, at just six years old, the agency was one of the youngest ever to join Virtuoso. Roughly two years later, In the Know Experiences is still a member of the luxury travel network and may now even be hotter than it was when it graced the cover.
“We are trying to sell smarter and focus on quality, not necessarily quantity, i.e. clients that work with us every week versus once a year,” says Batkin, whose agency primarily targets affluent travelers from 30 to 50 years old. “We have also been focusing a lot on the event division as more and more people are asking for once in a lifetime/special/VIP experiences.”
So how does she go about looking for new clients?
“Our best way of getting new clients is through our current clients,” she tells Luxury Travel Advisor, “so we like to focus on making sure our current clients are spreading the word to the right people, i.e. acting like our mini-ambassadors.”
When we last spoke to Batkin, she told us of some very extravagant requests In the Know Experiences was able to meet whether it was Kaplan providing 50,000 roses as part of a three-month, $2.5 million trip he booked for the Saudi royal family or Batkin having a road closed in Bandol, France, for a client’s 50th birthday.
“We have quite a lot of big ones, but last year we did a multi-million dollar, month-long honeymoon,” says Batkin. “They went to Paris, New York, The Bahamas, Los Angeles, London, the Maldives, Dubai and of course stayed in the best presidential suites, flew the nicest private planes on the market and, on the first day of each destination, had a very over-the-top experience that welcomed them to that city.”