With an annual revenue of $1.7 million, Alison Bastianelli of CRC Travel attributes her success and trendsetting status in the field to her ability to adapt and grow with the ever-changing industry. Technology such as e-mail, texts and social media keep her on toes and allow her to be in constant touch with her clients, even when they are traveling. Technology has also given Bastianelli another platform to get the word out to her clients about recent trips she’s designed, as well as providing ideas about where they might want to go next.
“When clients send me their travel photos, I ask if I can post them to our Facebook page, she tells us. “They feel flattered and I have never been turned down,” she says. “This is also great advertising for me and for our agency. When I receive a compliment, I ask my clients to mention me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as they are great avenues for getting your name out there to new clients who trust and value their friends’ opinions.”
This trendsetter’s client base is a combination of affluent Baby Boomers, Generation Xers and now, their children, the Millennials. She also designs multigenerational trips for families, and says one of the most gratifying parts of her career is knowing that she played a part in working with a family to find the best environment for them to reconnect.
Bastianelli grew up in the north shore suburb of Highland Park, just outside of Chicago, and at the age of 10, she went on her first family vacation to Disney World. After that first trip she was hooked on travel. She graduated from the University of Illinois in Chicago, however after finding herself in an unsatisfying career she knew that she wanted to enter the travel industry. She enrolled in an international travel school and on completing her coursework was hired as an agent almost immediately.
Bastianelli has worked as a travel advisor for 21 years, the last 14 of which have been with CRC Travel, a Chicago-based boutique agency that has four in-house and eight outside consultants. “We are like a small family,” says Bastianelli. “We easily collaborate with one another when working on challenging itineraries. The owner of the company, Peter Carideo, is a progressive thinker. Our agency implements the latest technology trends, and this includes being connected to our entire client base, detailing all clients, preferences and complete travel histories. Being part of the Signature Consortium, I know we have the latest technology and strong support from colleagues within the organization.”
She and her husband have already taken their six-year-old daughter on dozens of vacations. With trips to Scotland, Mexico, The Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and St. Croix, her daughter is already following in her mother’s footsteps as an avid traveler.
When Bastianelli isn’t selling travel she enjoys spending time on the beach at Lake Michigan with her family, as well as hiking and biking the nature trails throughout the area in the summer. “We also have fun attending music and art festivals in the neighboring suburbs,” she says. “I was nervous about leaving the city and moving back to the suburbs, however there are as many activities nearby that are taking place. Our problem is we don’t have enough time to do it all.”