Growing up, Jonathan Alder spent many of his younger years training for the Olympics primarily in two sports — ice dance and sabre fencing. Ironically, he says, the determination and drive required for both sports became a major gateway for his entrance into the travel industry.
“I started becoming obsessed with travel planning back when I was 13,” Alder says. “After quitting skating, I was working with my mother’s healthcare company handling the business end. When she passed away from cancer, I needed to find a new career and wanted something away from healthcare.”
Alder was born and raised in Santa Monica, CA, and he later settled in Encino. However, he has lived all over the United States, including Scottsdale, Atlanta, San Francisco and the New York City area.
“In 1994, the Northridge earthquake hit and changed my life forever,” he tells us. “We moved to Arizona a few months later to be away from fault country, that’s when I really started traveling quite a bit, as much as three months of the year,” he says.
It was around that time he considered making travel part of his professional life.
“I decided to contact my travel advisor, Robbie Hanna, who was with TravelStore. She passed me over to Katie Cadar, the director of leisure sales, and Dan Ilves, the SVP of leisure sales and marketing, who were just teaching a multi-week program to attract new agents to the business.” Connections made, Alder was sold. “Ever since then I’ve been affiliated with TravelStore,” he says.
TravelStore, part of Signature Travel Network, is based out of Los Angeles and focuses on designing adventurous and unique experiences for both leisure and group travel, as well as destination weddings and ocean cruises.
So what makes Alder such a trendsetter in the field?
“I pride myself as an in-depth, if not sometimes obsessive, researcher and keeping up on new product and what’s going to be new or ‘hot’ is important as well,” says Alder. “I’m on the road generally once a month to experience as many places as I can, and I’m working full time from wherever I am. My clients expect me to know everywhere, and while that’s impossible, I do my best.”
The numbers speak volumes; Alder brings in between $3 million and $5 million annually, which makes him a top producer for the agency, whose annual revenue is estimated at approximately $300 million.
Alder also credits the close-knit group of advisors he works with at TravelStore for much of his success. “We are a great team and I highly treasure that. I’m a team player and TravelStore exemplifies that in its corporate philosophy. As an employee-owned company, TravelStore’s culture has a lot going for it,” says Alder.
When he’s not selling travel, Alder is a fan of SoulCycle, attending sessions four or five times a week. He also has a passion for music and plays piano and timpani. Also, he often performs as a live DJ throughout Los Angeles.
“I feel very lucky that every day I wake up loving what I do,” Alder tells Luxury Travel Advisor.