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 Julie Skrei from Abercrombie & Kent, where she has been for the last eight years. She currently holds the title of sales director, which Skrei calls a dream job.
Skrei is based in Phoenix, AZ but she tells Luxury Travel Advisor that she spends between 50 and 75 percent of her time on the road. It’s a lifestyle that Skrei embraces, adding, “some of the most magical moments in life happen while traveling.”
It’s also great when you buy into your company’s mission. Skrei says that her philosophy is: “You have to believe in what you are selling.” She adds, “Travel advisors trust us to lead them in the right direction and deliver the best product—I never want to let them down.”
One way to not let advisors down is the be there for them. “One thing I pride myself on is always being available to travel advisors,” Skrei says. “Much of the travel community has my mobile number and email, to which I respond very quickly.”
She adds that each morning she receives a “Pending” reservation report, which allows her to see all the advisors who are considering booking. And once a week, she receives a report listing all confirmed reservations from the week prior. Upon receiving both, Skrei reaches out to the advisor to thank them for considering / booking with A&K. “It is important to ask for their business, but it is even more imperative to thank them when you receive it.”
It’s also imperative to not waste the advisors’ time, Skrei says. “I never advise going into an appointment unprepared and simply spout off what you are selling. Engage the advisors, find out what is selling for them—trending destinations, products and experiences—then tailor the meeting to what they would find useful.”
In addition to office visits and other meetings, Skrei says she hosts lunches, dinners and receptions for advisors. “Letting agents know they are truly appreciated is key for me.”
Skrei tells us she also makes an effort to learn about the advisors outside of their business. “Relationships are important to me and I truly care about these advisors. I want to know about their family, their interests and what is important to them in order to establish a common ground. When you are passionate about people and your product, it shows.” This effort has helped Skrei make great friends in the industry. She was even named the godmother of a little girl in Uganda, something Skrei tells us she is most proud of.
Prior to joining Abercrombie & Kent, Skrei worked for JG Black Book of Travel, Red Rock Resort & Spa in Las Vegas, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain in Paradise Valley, AZ, and Hilton Hotels, where she started her career in travel.
Skrei’s top tip for working successfully with the luxury travel advisor community is to “let travel advisors know you always have their back. Without them, we would not be where we are.”