Josh Alexander of Protravel International in New York practiced law for eight years before joining the travel business.
“It became apparent to me early on that law was not my passion and that I wanted to do something else with my life and career,” says Alexander, a Miami native who had passed the bar in New York, New Jersey and Florida. As a lay person, he always followed news from the industry — hotel expansions, brand creations, airline mergers, etc. He also had a hunch he could help out friends and colleagues who were trying to plan their own trips using OTAs. So he set out in 2010, very much on his own, using Twitter to interact and communicate with people in the industry. This led him to a jackpot connection; Alexander was introduced to the then owner of Protravel, Priscilla Alexander (no relation), who liked his ideas and vision. She decided to invest in him.
And so, Alexander started out at one of the largest and top luxury travel agencies in the business from its Madison Avenue offices. Joshua Greenberg at Protravel was his first mentor. “I would sit in his office while booking small honeymoons for my friends, and would listen to him on the phone and learn how to sell travel from him,” he tells us.
What guided him to succeed? “Failure was not an option for me when I made the career change and transition,” says Alexander. His credos since the onset have been to hustle and listen.
“I never rest on my laurels, I always try to keep a narrative going or stay in contact with my clients and I follow up with all leads,” says Alexander, adding that his clients often thank him for getting back in touch.
This year, Alexander’s sales will exceed $6 million and he now has three full-time employees. “We have amazing luxury clients — many honeymooners and some great corporate clients as well,” says Alexander. Honeymooners tend to turn into repeat clients, booking anniversary vacations, babymoons and family trips.
Alexander says he loves booking multi-country itineraries, and that Africa and Southeast Asia are top sellers. He’s also retained his strategy for being active on social media platforms where he showcases his travels, the guestrooms, the food, the destinations and the high-level contacts he has there, such as general managers and sales directors. “I’m basically highlighting the access I have that I can provide to clients,” says Alexander. He’s looking to add Instagram Stories to his repertoire next. It may also come in handy to document his growing family; Alexander and his wife, Nicole have a 23-month-old daughter who has already flown on 29 flights.
What’s a key takeaway for Alexander six years into the business of being a travel advisor? It takes know-how to be a professional.
“Everyone has a passion for travel, but the ability to sell travel is totally different from loving to travel,” he says.