Each year, Luxury Travel Advisor introduces its Trendsetters, in which we highlight top advisors from the most prestigious luxury travel agencies across the United States and beyond. Now, to feature those who help make the Trendsetters the rock stars they are, we’re debuting Luxury Travel Advisor’s Road Warriors.
All of our 2019 Road Warriors are suppliers who were selected by our most recent batch of Trendsetters. Here we have Emi Goya from Relais & Châteaux. For almost seven years, she has been with the company and currently holds the title of regional sales manager, North America. Previously, Goya worked for a division of The Leading Hotels of the World called The Private Label.
Goya tells Luxury Travel Advisor that it’s all about relationships in this business. “I love to get to know all of my clients on a personal level, as they all have a different story to tell,” she says. Regarding the advisors she works with, Goya tells us “they are all world travelers with open minds and open hearts, and I become friends with most of them. It’s so much more fun to work with friends and I love helping them when they need something!”
Her top tip for building trusting relationships? Follow through and follow up. “We depend on one another, Goya says. “Everyone likes to work with dependable people.”
Meeting travel advisors in person is the easiest way to build these relationships. She adds, “Emails, of course, are an important piece of our business but speaking to someone can take a relationship to a next level quickly.”
It’s also crucial to make sure the advisor has a connection with the property, and not just the representative. One way that Goya likes to facilitate this is by bringing the hotel owner, or the Maitre de Maison, with her on agency visits.
“Everyone usually knows it as the foodie brand, which, of course, we are but there is so much more—and that’s where I come in!” Goya says. “Relais & Châteaux properties are all independently owned and managed and they are all members of this association, which makes these properties extremely authentic to each destination. Most of these smaller gems are run by chefs and families three, four, five generations deep! The best is when I am able to bring into the office with me a family member of the property who tells their story of the property and its history, and we really get to connect.”
It helps the advisors learn about the property, but Goya adds it also makes them feel comfortable knowing the person who is receiving their clients.
In addition to agency visits, Goya says Relais & Châteaux will host lunches, coffees and FAM trips—the last is “a great way for [Relais] to be able to create experiences and share moments together with the agents. Nothing helps you sell better than visiting a hotel firsthand,” Goya says.
Goya is based in Los Angeles and travels once a month (about twice a year internationally). And on those friendships Goya says she built: Some of her industry friends threw her a baby shower when she had her first baby, she tells us. “I felt an overwhelming amount of love from the travel community who supported me in starting my family! I never expected to have such an amazing support from all of my industry friends.”