Birgit Navarre has an impressive roster of clients. Based in the Washington, D.C. area at McCabe World Travel, her customers tend to be lawyers, doctors, contractors, money managers and young Millennials who are just starting to travel.
“I prefer to think of myself as a lifestyle planner,” says Navarre, who has been a travel advisor for 35 years, and has been with McCabe for 15 years. “I know where my clients have been, where they are going now and where they should go in the future … the unending story of their lives through travel.” These efforts earn her between $2 million and $3 million in annual sales for the agency, which makes overall sales of $42 million a year.
When it comes to trendsetting in the field of travel, Navarre attributes her success to her own travel and international education, noting that it was a great foundation for her to gain experience. “I have always learned from my mistakes. That is how you grow,” she says.
Born in Koblenz, Germany, on the Rhine River, she began her career in travel after attending a three-year program at a school in Frankfurt. She worked at Thomas Cook Travel in Cologne for nearly four years before taking a break to marry her husband and moving to a suburb of Washington, D.C.
“I now live with my husband, Joe, in Reston, VA. We met at a café in Cologne in front of the Cathedral and he invited me for coffee. He had to travel to Amsterdam for business the very next day. Three days later, he showed up at my office with a massive bouquet of Dutch Tulips. To this day, I always receive tulips on May 5. I have a very romantic husband and he is from Brooklyn,” she says.
Navarre’s joy comes from the ability to meet her valued clients’ needs, helping them fulfill the bucket lists they’ve created together over the years, also noting that her clients are not stepping away from travel either.
Over the years, Navarre has learned to listen more closely and offer ideas and destinations that her clients may not have thought of. In fact, Navarre says she has become even bolder in her presentations, showing clients what they can enjoy on their trip if they stay longer. She advises them to invest more in themselves and to take the time to enjoy the human connection that travel can bring.
“I think sometimes there is a great deal of focus on the new generation that is coming into our travel industry and they are getting a great deal of attention,” Navarre says. “I agree they should because this matters to the sustainability of our industry. However, we should also focus on those who have gone before and have led the way to keep this industry alive during very difficult times … so we should focus on the past, present and future of travel and those who serve in this great industry. I believe the management of McCabe World Travel thinks I am a good example of that.”