As 2014 comes to an end, I am going to leave you with a little advice that will go a long way: don’t do everything you’re told. My mother used to tell me to “do everything I tell you.” But looking back, I don’t think I would be where I am today if I did all that I was told to do. Don’t get me wrong, she gave me good guidance, but in the end we need to make our own decisions and live by them and do what we feel is right. The same goes for what you read in Luxury Travel Advisor. We don’t ever want to tell you that this is the must-stay hotel in a location or the ultimate in luxury cruising. That is your call to make based on recommendations for what’s best for your client. We will serve it up and provide that inside knowledge, but your success will be determined by how you filter that knowledge into your business.
Barbara Nichuals, on whom this month’s cover story is based, is that type of person. Barbara is someone who did it her way and made it work for her and for the dedicated staff that is by her side. I attended a fall client showcase at her local country club, with many luxury suppliers exhibiting to the backdrop of a reggae band. You would say, “That’s strange,” but not to Barbara’s clients—they loved that Barbara likes to have a good time and they wanted to book with her for that reason. Makes sense; doesn’t everyone go on vacation to have a good time? I can tell you it put her clients in the mood, and suppliers were taking bookings on the spot. The entire place was shuffling by the end of the night and vacations became a must as a taste of fun was consumed by all.
However, Barbara will tell you it hasn’t been easy and she has had her fair share of challenges. She will also tell you that she has had to adapt to what worked best for her and that her play book is her own. Barbara is an observer and a listener; she’s taken a little bit from everywhere. What she sees, what she hears and, most importantly, what she knows—will work in her world. Enjoy her story and you too could take a little bit from Barbara that could work in your business.