Mary Jean Tully, who appeared on our cover in October 2006, has literally just rebranded her Canada-based Cruise Professionals to Tully Luxury Travel to make it clear to her clients that the agency books all sorts of vacations, not just cruise. The company is now divided into three components, Cruise Professionals, African Dreams and Private Travel Designers, crafting experiences such as a private luncheon on the Great Wall of China.
Tully's research shows that 70 percent of her customers take two or more land trips a year. “With 54 percent of clients interested in booking safaris, business travel, hotels, resort vacations, and custom itineraries through Tully Luxury Travel, the need for an expanded travel offering was clear,” she says.
Since we last sat down with Tully, the conservation of Africa’s wildlife has become her passion and she travels to the continent at least twice a year. “I utilize social media to tell stories through photography about Africa and the terrible effects of hunting and poaching of elephants, rhinos and big cats. ‘We Are Africa’ recently nominated me for an Innovation Award for Brand Africa. It was humbling to say the least. So much awareness needs to be created for the future of these animals and for tourism to continue through safaris. Safaris create jobs; it all goes hand in hand.”
This travel executive says a new top destination for her is Iguazu Falls, where she traveled with a number of her clients to both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides. “In Brazil we stayed at Hotel Das Cataratas, which was absolutely wonderful. The falls were breathtaking.”
She was also recently impressed with the brand new Four Seasons in Dubai. “It’s truly a beautiful hotel with excellent service and a wonderful ambiance. The decor was stunning and the attention to detail was flawless,” she tells Luxury Travel Advisor.
Tully had sold her business several years ago and remained on as top management. Since then, she’s bought back the company, which was founded in 1987, with several investors and is thrilled that her business, which is her passion, remains a major part of her life. She continues to view her team as the most integral part of her business. “I still have the first employee I ever hired. I have zero turnover, one location, 53 in house employees and it works,” she says. Her clients are loyal as well. “Our repeat and referral business is excellent. We don’t lose clients as it’s all about relationships … The relationships at the office and the relationships with our clients. Both are extremely important,” she tells Luxury Travel Advisor.
What has changed? The company’s growth and expansion has spurred her to take on more space in the office building where her agency is located in Mississauga, outside of Toronto.
“I am very excited about the future growth and expansion of all three aspects of our business!” she tells Luxury Travel Advisor.