When you’ve worked as the executive assistant to fashion designer Donatella Versace, you know what it takes to thrive under pressure and get things done. Ron Otto, now a travel advisor, has taken that experience in the world of fashion to the travel industry to provide his clients with exactly what they want, when they want.
“Versace gave me the opportunity to perfect my luxury service skills and learn in an extremely high-profile environment under the most demanding conditions,” he tells Luxury Travel Advisor. “Having looked after personalities like Versace, Madonna, Cher, Jennifer Lopez and Elton John, I truly understand the value of time and the importance of attention to detail.”
The advisor of three years is based in Detroit and sells travel for Direct Travel Luxe, mainly to Spain, Portugal and Iceland. Otto has clients all over the country that range anywhere from Millennials to couples in their 60s. To generate that list of clients, Otto knew it was important to stand out and make his presence felt.
“When I first started in Detroit, I hired a PR manager and she managed to secure several TV spots as a guest travel expert on local news stations, as well as a radio spot. That gave me a great jump start.”
Now, Otto is thriving in the industry, thanks in part to the support around him, including Victoria Boomgarden, president at Direct Travel Luxe.
“She has been so supportive of me,” he says of Boomgarden. “She has given me excellent advice and has really been a great mentor. I feel very fortunate to work with her.”
Though he has not been a travel advisor for too long, Otto is no stranger to spending time in new places. The Michigan native moved to Milan for his work at Versace, and then moved to Madrid, where he lived for 13 years.
Otto worked in real estate public relations in addition to fashion before his current line of work, but he said his passion for travel has been with him for a very long time.
“I first caught the travel bug at the age of six when my father took my sisters and me sailing in the Caribbean. Traveling on a small sailboat took us off the beaten path and I remember feeling as if we had discovered deserted islands and uninhabited beaches. Ever since then, I always felt a strong curiosity about how the locals lived and what existed beyond the pages of vacation brochures,” Otto says.
Even with plenty of travel under his belt, Otto is still discovering new destinations for himself. “My last trip was to Cuba, a long-held place on my bucket list since I was kid. I went in April through Access Culinary Trips and they did a great job. I had more personal interaction with locals on that trip than any other trip I have been on. I can’t wait to go back with my own group,” he says.
Next, it’s on to Antarctica, where he will take a trip with Quark Expeditions.