Maureen Conlin, founding partner of Los Gatos Travel, appeared on our September 2014 issue. Within that brief period, Conlin’s business model has remained virtually unchanged and with good reason; the $10 million agency is looking at double-digit growth possibilities this year in revenue.
A focused strategy for the Signature Travel Network agency, which sits in a lovely community outside of San Jose, is certainly helping to spur growth. Los Gatos Travel pursues multigenerational families, retired professionals, young urban clients, venture capitalists and executives from Silicon Valley.
But it’s that latter demographic that fuels the business in interesting ways. The agency just had a walk-in client who was referred by a local jeweler in town. “He was from a high-tech firm in the Valley and he had just retired like, two days before, and he was ready to travel,” Conlin tells us. “He wanted some ideas and our Africa expert presented the most over-the-top experience for a first visit to Africa.”
So sold was he on the presentation, he decided to bring the entire family along and ended up booking a $125,000 trip. “It was an amazing Friday afternoon,” says Conlin.
Although Conlin has a clear financial strategy to ensure the agency is profitable, her business model focuses on providing exceptional customer service.
“If you do your job well, you’re going to make money, but if you don’t, it doesn’t make any difference because if they don’t come back to you, then you’re toast,” she says. “In my case, it has always been about taking care of our clients in the best way possible. It might be that I’ve done somebody’s honeymoon and I’m now doing their kid’s wedding. My philosophy has always been that it’s not about me. It’s about my clients. It’s about our vendors and me making sure that the client has the most amazing experience. After all, at the end of the day, they’re the ones writing the check.”
We asked Conlin about how her strategy has changed when it comes to selling travel.
“I think we have been focused these last few years by marketing very strongly. I think that has made a difference and we are working on creating a ‘buzz’ on the benefits of using our travel agency and what that means to the consumer,” Conlin said.
Her own personal travels have brought her all over the world, however she particularly recalls visiting London and the Corinthia Hotel.
“It is an amazing place with the most amazing staff doing all they can to make your stay perfect. I so very much love the hotel and the rooms are to die for,” she tells us.
On the home front, Conlin tells us that her daughter was married only two weeks after she graced the cover of our September 2014 issue, and claims it was a magical day she’ll never forget.