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. Today we’re highlighting Haruko Motoyama of Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver, British Columbia. Motoyama has worked for numerous luxury hotels in Vancouver, as well as for a Japanese travel wholesale company, but has held the title of director of leisure and entertainments sales at the Fairmont for the last seven years.
Although Motoyama took a roundabout way of finding a home in the travel industry, first studying molecular genetics at the University of Toronto (“don’t do what I did,” she advises travel industry-hopefuls), she’s perfectly content with the outcome. “I think people in hospitality are natural people pleasers and they take joy in making people happy, and I would have to say I am one of them,” she tells us.
Motoyama adds that it’s her job to “make luxury travel advisors look good in their customer’s eyes.” To do so, she says, “I work to anticipate the customer’s needs and assist advisors, so they can effectively manage expectations of their clients and, most importantly, personalize their stay experience as much as possible.”
“Attention to detail and thinking ahead goes a long way, as well as effective and considerate communication,” Motoyama adds.
To keep advisors updated on the hotel, she says she will visit agencies in key cities in North America, Europe and Australia. Motoyama adds that many of these agencies are inundated with supplier visits, so it’s imperative to make the most of these meetings, as to not waste the advisors’ time—and get an invite back in the future. She adds that she will partner with sister hotels (but no more than three at a time) to make the most of the advisor’s time.
For the events that Motoyama hosts, the venue selection is incredibly important, she tells Luxury Travel Advisor. It has to be easy to get to for advisors and it needs to be somewhere high quality; “I also try to find a new spot that is talked-about and hard to get into,” she says. One of her biggest hits? A “manicure & bubbles party,” which was very well attended.
Although she’s on the road at least one week every month, Motoyama doesn’t mind. “I love meeting people from across the world, and travel advisors are so worldly and engaging that it makes my job so exciting and fulfilling,” she says. “There is never a dull moment.”
When she isn’t on the road, Motoyama says she would ideally like to speak over the phone with all of the advisors, but time zones can make that tricky, meaning email is usually her go-to. By whatever means, it’s important to keep in touch. “This business is based on trust,” she adds.
Now based in Vancouver, Motoyama has traveled around a lot in her youth. She was born in Tokyo and lived in Sydney and Brisbane before heading back to Toyko. When her father got a post in Calgary, the whole family moved. It “was a bit of a shock to my system, but I eventually fell in love with Canada,” she says.