Always Ask for More: How Travel's Top Players Got Where They Are

Travel Agent
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“When I asked why he changed his mind, he simply said because I had the confidence to ask for more.” That’s Crystal Green of Luxe Travel on how she got her first break as a travel advisor back in the day when she was just starting out, delivering airline tickets. She asked her manager for a chance to do more; days later, Crystal was promoted to corporate agent status.

Ruthanne Terrero

Asking for more is a recurring theme in our Trendsetter issue. Now in its second year, Luxury Travel Advisor’s Trendsetter issue prominently features some of the top players in the business. Some may be brand new to you, others you may have met. Be assured that in this issue, you’ll meet each of them up close.

How did we choose our Trendsetters? For the editors of Luxury Travel Advisor, it was simple. We asked the advisors who have graced our cover since 2005 to select one of their star players. This could be their top sales person or it could be a newbie who is shaking things up by selling luxury travel in a new way. The choice was theirs.

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What you’ll find in this elite group as you read on is a singular confidence borne of the desire to provide their clients with unique, amazing experiences. Not a single advisor is resting on their laurels, in fact, it seems as if the more successful many of them become, the more they want to push their limits.

Back to “asking for more…” Many of these advisors pushed past the barriers in previous careers to do more with their lives, to satisfy the urge to travel the world, to have a career that had meaning to them. In this group we have former teachers, lawyers, event planners and marketers, even a radiologist, who today take great satisfaction with their new careers in crafting amazing itineraries that change lives for the better.

Some have always been travel advisors, who grew by “wanting more” as well. I love Helen Iorio’s story. Now with Travel Edge, she left her original travel agency because she was helping her clients too much. The agency’s business model was apparently to get the transaction and move on. Iorio quit and her clients followed her, touched by her ability to deliver a great travel experience. She is now thriving, serving affluent travelers who want to live well and go off the beaten path. An elephant safari and truffle hunting are just two experiences she has planned recently.

It’s not just about spreading good vibes, however. These advisors are keen to make sure their travel careers reap realistic benefits. For example, Richard Engle of Protravel International tells us that he’s not just in this for the travel. “This is a business and it has to be successful. I have to make a good living doing it,” he says.

For this reason, our Trendsetters are all excellent sales people who aren’t afraid to get down to basics when it comes to enhancing their business. Take Ben Shubitz of Valerie Wilson Travel, for example. His annual revenue is $10 million a year and growing, and yet he’s not afraid to “ask for more.” “The current plan to increase business is to always remember to ask existing clients for referrals,” he says. “This is the best source of new business for us.”

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