Many years ago I had a boss by the name of Bob Krakoff. Bob was a legend in the media business; he passed away suddenly several years ago but I’ll always remember what it was like to work with him. When I would come to him with ideas on building our business he had a saying that I will never forget: “John, take the dog for a walk.” By that he meant, do your research, talk to your customers, get some feedback, and see if what you’re dreaming of has any merit. I never forgot that. When we were dreaming about the concept of Luxury Travel Advisor nearly 10 years ago, I took the dog for a walk over to Protravel’s Priscilla Alexander office, which is also here in New York. Not really knowing her well at all, I began to pitch her the concept. If I could get Priscilla to tell me it was a good idea I knew our dream would come true. Well, she loved the idea and more importantly, over that meeting we developed something much more important than a magazine. We began a friendship. I have four daughters, she has four daughters. Priscilla is a Yankee fan, I am a Yankee fan. We both love to travel and have had great times in far-away places. Beyond these obvious similarities, our desire to advocate for you, the travel advisor community, bonded us even more.
Much of our time was not spent talking about Protravel, it was about how travel agents need to transform to consultants and advisors.
Years ago I gave Priscilla a lifetime achievement award on behalf of Travel Agent magazine, our sister publication. Her speech did not reflect on her accomplishments; she chose instead to instill in the audience how to become a better advisor. She was a teacher and the consummate advisor to her staff and to the industry.
Priscilla announced this week that she is retiring after 29 years of running Protravel. We all need to be thankful for everything she has done.
On behalf of all travel advisors around the world, Priscilla, thank you for being you. We love you!