“When faced with deciding what to do when you grow up, you think about what topics have [you] enjoyed learning about most,” says Josh Whitaker. He tells Luxury Travel Advisor that if your answer is history and geography, “joining the travel industry is the perfect solution.”
Twenty-four years later, and Whitaker is thriving in that exact business. Though he spent the first 10 years of his professional career working in an assortment of sales and management roles, he finally switched to travel in 1994. Whitaker joined a small travel firm, started Sabre training and began his new career. After a larger company bought his employer out, he joined Rudi Steele Travel, Inc., where he still works to this day.
Whitaker suspects his agency picked him out as a Trendsetter for his evolving role at the firm. Now, both a travel advisor and manager at Rudi Steele Travel, he develops new advisors at the firm, helps with problem-resolution issues and ensures the client experience meets the group’s standards. Whitaker says his company’s ability to solve issues sets it apart from the competitors. Plus, “while no one enjoys problems, finding creative win / win solutions can be very rewarding,” he says.
Though his current firm is small, Whitaker says his office “is uniquely positioned to help with any part of the world.” Owing to their hands-on experience, the advisors at Rudi Steele Travel possess an in-depth understanding of destinations around the world. Just this year, he says they have visited Australia, Germany, Italy, Ireland, New Zealand, Mexico, England, Dubai, South Africa, Singapore and more. “The expertise shared from these trips benefits all of our clients,” he tells us.
Whitaker specializes in urban getaways, multigenerational travel and beach destinations. He encourages clients to visit the Riviera Maya, the northern Florida Coast and Turks and Caicos; he also sells travel to the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Hungary, and the United Arab Emirates. In the past year, he personally has traveled to Cancun, Dublin and Paris, Most recently, Whitaker visited Cabo San Lucas and plans to head to the Mayan Peninsula next. “Both are very quick and easy destinations to access from my host city and they both carry a well-rounded and diverse number of luxury resorts,” he says.
Located in Dallas, Rudi Steele Travel hosts supplier visits daily, learning the latest from its hotel, cruise and tour operators. “We give our clients the very best options to choose from and allow them to customize their travel based on their personal interests,” says Whitaker.
When not on the job, Whitaker says he enjoys coaching little league baseball. Working with teams age five and under and age 12 and under, he says, “It certainly keeps me on my toes.”