A travel advisor for 20 years, Carlos Castro Conrado knows there’s at least one thing in the travel industry that you can always rely on — that it’s going to change.
“One thing that is constant about travel is its unpredictability,” says Conrado, who has worked at Bayside Travel in Bronxville, NY since 2011.
How do you stay on top of an ever-changing market? Be sure to go the extra mile for your client and look ahead for potential problems, he says.
“I have learned to adapt and evolve by going above and beyond and thinking outside the box for my clients,” he says. “Going above and beyond means anticipating problems and picking the right suppliers to work with, and, doing all that, I can make sure my clients enjoy their vacation.”
Conrado brings this mentality to Bayside Travel, where he sells leisure travel — mostly multigenerational and independent travel — to the tune of $500,000 in revenue a year.
For Conrado, a native of Colombia, a job in the travel industry is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
“As a child, I always dreamed of traveling the world and experiencing different cultures, sights, food and local music,” he says. “The idea of being involved in getting other people to travel and creating a trip tailored to their tastes and passions is very appealing to me.”
Conrado’s journey began when he registered for travel school and started as an air agent. From that point, he worked his way up in the industry, working for tour operators such as Trafalgar Tours and GOGO Worldwide Vacations along the way.
According to Conrado, the key to sustained success in the business is loving the process.
“To thrive in the travel industry, you have to have a passion for what you do,” he says. “Not that it’s difficult to fall in love with exotic places around the world, but a travel advisor trendsetter should also be passionate about learning continuously, always staying educated and up to date on the industry’s latest developments, and helping clients reach their goals to the best of their ability.”
As for increasing business, Conrado plans to build his destination and supplier knowledge using the tools offered by Virtuoso and Bayside Travel. Each year, he travels to Las Vegas to attend Virtuoso’s Travel Week event and takes part in Bayside Travel’s Annual Showcase held in November.
“This event has been held for several years now and each time it doesn’t disappoint,” he says of the showcase. “There’s always a great mix of suppliers and I believe it is a great platform to showcase our relationships with our partners, hoteliers, tour operators, etc. We have time to engage with our clients and build long-lasting relationships, which is invaluable.”
Conrado has traveled often to the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and South America. The frequent traveler most recently went away to Grenada, where he stayed at the Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel & Spa in St. George’s, which he highly recommends.
For his next travel adventure, it’s on to Portugal.