Jill Taylor brings in more than $3 million in annual revenue working at Jet Set World Travel in Chicago. Prior to working as a travel advisor, she had a successful career in finance, however, she says selling travel means much more than making money.
“I always joke that I am not going to be the wealthiest travel advisor, as I want my clients to see the value in working with me and to build trust,” says Taylor. “I am honest and tell clients how and when to save money. I want to build long-term relationships with my travelers and focus on a five- to 10-year plan.”
Taylor grew up in Atlanta, GA and was introduced to the benefits of travel at an early age by her grandparents. Her love of travel continued to flourish through college where she studied International Finance and French and attended a program abroad in France. Taylor later moved to Italy for a year, immersing herself in the culture and eventually decided to pursue travel as a career. She was later introduced to Julia Pirrung of Jet Set World Travel.
“I instantly admired her ethos and approach to the industry; not just selling travel but cultivating relationships and immersive experiences,” Taylor says. “Nine years later, I continue to work with Jet Set as an independent contractor from our offices in Chicago, when not working remotely from around the globe.”
She and her business partner, Peter Tibble, have recently seen an increase in requests from families that want active experiences. “With [Tibble’s] background in consulting, he was a perfect fit to manage our back office, so I could focus on creatively selling. He has also taken on the role of developing our group business, which was something I was always afraid to explore. He takes the lead on all our multigenerational, celebratory and corporate groups,” Taylor says. The two recently traveled to Jackson Hole and enjoy focusing on conservation in the United States. “The National Parks are always of interest for our clients around the world,” she adds.
Naturally, when working with clients, Europe is primarily Taylor’s top destination with Italy a primary focus. Having spent significant time there as a resident, and a travel and hotel consultant in Tuscany, her knowledge and relationships allow her to customize itineraries to places outside of the traditional spots. Taylor is quick to suggest destinations such as the Dolomites, Umbria or Puglia, as her clients may not know as much about these destinations.
Although Taylor’s primary selling point is Europe, she’s recently been fascinated with travel to Africa.
“As much as Europe is an experience of the mind [and usually the belly], I have found that Africa is an experience of the soul,” says Taylor. “We are focusing on sending our honeymooners and young families to South Africa as there is such amazing value for money there and we know that they will want to return to experience different types of safaris throughout their lives.”