Dropping everything and sometimes staying up all night are just some of the lengths Heather Solish will go to, if a client needs help during a trip.
“I really want every client, no matter the size of the booking, to feel like my most important client,” she says.
Solish’s passion for service, and the travel business on a whole, is what makes her one of our trendsetters this year and also a valuable advisor at Classic Travel in New York City.
Solish is from Philadelphia and now lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. She originally developed the “travel bug” when she spent her junior year of college abroad in Sevilla, Spain. What followed included a summer of driving cross-country with friends, traveling around Southeast Asia and adventures in South America. Even when she became a lawyer, she spent all her free time planning trips for herself and her friends and family.
“I knew my next job would not be in law, but in travel,” she says.
Solish left her job as a lawyer and began her advisor career at Classic Travel in 2010. She now books $2 million in travel per year and the agency pulls in $15 million annually.
“I love the entrepreneurial spirit at Classic Travel,” says Solish. “It is a small agency and I feel like I have freedom to try new ideas. I can upload itineraries onto their website and create partnerships; being creative is strongly encouraged.”
That creativity helps Solish find new hotels, which clients might enjoy. Recently, she returned from Nicaragua and Mukul. She says the hotel has one of the best spas she ever experienced. Her next trip is to London, a destination Solish hasn’t been to in more than 10 years, where she will be staying at The Berkeley and Corinthia Hotel.
When Solish began selling travel she focused on honeymoons. Once again her creativity helped her spark a partnership with a bridal boutique and she gathered clients through that relationship and through her friends. Now, since Solish still has many of the same clients, she is planning babymoons, anniversary trips and excursions for families. Her clients have also referred her to their parents who in turn refer Solish to their friends.
“I really think referrals are the best way to grow business,” she says.
Solish has also been growing her business by working with a nonprofit foundation, where she plans trips for the foundation’s donors. There has also been an opportunity to branch out into commercial production, where she books rooms for shoots. These clients then ask Solish to plan their leisure travel as well.
It’s easy for Solish to book clients using Classic’s website and booking platform.
“We have all Virtuoso hotels and a growing collection of preferred partner hotels loaded onto our site so our clients around the world can book on their own,” says Solish. “But I can also book for my clients that way, so whether I am on a boat in Laos or in a taxi in New York City, I can always be working.”