“I have made reservations and returned calls from remote islands in Fiji and from cruise ships in the middle of the Atlantic.” That’s Shirley Worsham of Corniche Travel, describing how her 24/7 service, along with her ability to listen carefully and then deliver, helps her wow her clients. Corniche, owned by Anastasia Mann, is a corporate and leisure travel agency on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, CA, with a 2014 annual sales revenue of $35 million.
Worsham started as an intern at Worsham Travel (her “ex’s family business); on her second day she sold a world cruise on Royal Viking Line. After opening new locations and overseeing management for all eight Worsham agency offices, she left to launch Genie Travel in Fountain Valley, CA. She was then a sales representative and manager for American Host Tours before purchasing a Worsham Travel office in Anaheim, which she owned and managed for 15 years prior to merging with Corniche in 2003. She’s now on Corniche’s executive management team as an officer / vice president and office manager for Orange County, where she works with clients from all backgrounds, including handling travel for mega churches and education associations like the California Teachers Association and United Teachers of Los Angeles, as well as high-profile celebrities and the CEOs of international organizations.
“I take the time to know my clients — their wants, needs and desires,” says Worsham, recalling two recent requests she handled — one to change a schedule for a celebrity to another flight after his gig was altered, and another for a high-profile client canceling a scheduled flight and booking a charter. Sounds simple, but not so easy.
“Both required changes to meet-and-greet services, transfers, hotels etc.,” Worsham says. “Try to do that with an online provider and on a Sunday afternoon.”
To build her business, Worsham says she is sure to ask for referrals, and that the majority of her clients have been recommendations from existing clients. She also works with her team to get leisure leads from their corporate clients.
Worsham has served as a professor, teaching travel at Long Beach City College for 12 years. “Many of my students have gone into the industry and are highly successful. I still keep in touch with several of them,” Worsham says. “It is rewarding to know you have been involved with their career path in an industry that is my life.”
But it’s the love of her workplace that drives Worsham the most. “Corniche Travel is so well respected within the industry,” she says. “It’s a wonderful experience to be associated with them.” She praises Corniche for giving her the ability to work with the “most amazing clients and most superior vendors in the industry. I’m always striving for the wow factor for my clients. That takes the help of many and Corniche’s reputation allows me to achieve that goal. I have to give huge thank you to Anastasia Mann as she is an amazing mentor, opening my eyes to a new world in luxury travel.”