Margrit Zimmerman’s first job didn’t have much to do with the travel industry, however she was no stranger to international exploration. She grew up in northern Germany during World War II and moved to the United States in 1957, working as an au pair for the president of the Metropolitan Opera in New York for a year.
“It was quite the culture shock to come to a large city like New York from my hometown in Bruchhausen-Vilsen,” Zimmerman recalls. “After my first year as an au pair, I applied for a job with Pan Am in New York, met my future husband and worked for six years at Pan Am in New York and Chicago. I got married and had twin boys in 1964 and another son in 1970. When my youngest son was four, I began to work as an independent travel agent in Kenilworth for 24 years and have now been at Travel 100 Group for another 19 years.”
Based out of Chicago, IL, the agency, a branch of Tzell Travel Group, specializes in designing both leisure and corporate trips throughout South America, Africa, Asia, Europe and Australia. With Zimmerman’s 43 years of experience as a travel advisor, she’s found great success in the industry, accumulating more than $1 million a year in annual revenue.
She prides herself on personal service, making it a point to know her clients well, and at the same time quickly matching them with the right hotel, cruise ship or tour company. “If they suggest a place I know won’t be up to their expectations they trust me to steer them to a place they’ll enjoy. I have been in this business and traveling around the world. I love to help match the client with the right trip,” says Zimmerman.
This trendsetter specializes in generational travel, as well as cruising and international touring. After 43 years in the travel industry, she considers it a personal responsibility to contact every hotel general manager and cruise and tour line’s BDM to ensure that even the smallest of details are correct for her VIP clients. She wants them to be taken care of beyond their expectations, and to be sure that any issues that may come about while traveling are immediately resolved.
What else makes Zimmerman stand out? Apart from her stamina and ability to adapt to the industry, Howard Scharf, president of Travel 100 Group, says she has proven herself to be a true trendsetter in the field. “Margrit is a bon vivant who loves to travel, eat, drink, laugh and can strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere,” says Scharf. “She is a tastemaker and her clients love to stay at the latest luxury resorts, sail on the newest ships, dine at the newest top restaurants, see the latest plays. Clients consider themselves lucky to have Margrit as an advisor.”
When she isn’t designing unique experiences for her clients, Zimmerman enjoys traveling herself. Her last adventure took her to Basel for a 14-night river cruise on the Rhine and Mosel, and she is already planning another trip to Normandy and southern France scheduled for next year.