With annual sales of $2.3 million, it’s safe to say Steve Harris has found considerable success in his current position as director of operations at Strong Travel Services. Harris plans itineraries for all over the globe for his C-level executive clients and their friends and families, and has an especially keen focus on city stays that include dining, culture and nightlife experiences.
He most recently scouted out the new Faena Miami and reports, “It stands out as one of the best openings domestically I’ve seen in quite some time. Room product, food and beverage, the arts component, a small venue performance hall and a spa. It’s not only a hotel but an entire district that is truly a destination within an already vibrant city.”
It’s this type of observation that’s earned Harris the reputation of having his hand on the pulse of all things happening in a destination.
“Steve has been with us for over 20 years. He is a cornerstone of our company,” says Jim Strong, president of Strong Travel Services. “There are several reasons for the nomination of Steve, most notably his clientele and his awareness and knowledge of the local scene in Dallas and many destinations. He is always on top of the latest and greatest.” Strong Travel deals with both corporate and leisure travel and is based out of Dallas, TX, where Harris now resides. Owned by Nancy and Jim Strong, the Virtuoso agency has been in the business since the 1970s and tends to be discreet about clientele. However, it is clear by the more than $40 million they earn in annual revenue that their uber-affluent travelers are very happy with the services the agency provides (think services like private jets and catering to
Harris, a lifetime musician from a family of musicians (he’s been a drummer and a percussionist since he was four), believes he has set himself apart from the competition because of his talent for developing key contacts in major cities around the globe and providing clients with unique and memorable “outside-of-the-box” experiences. “I also find out my client’s likes, dislikes, hobbies, latest purchases, affiliations and alliances and use that info to make [the experience] their own,” he says. “After all, luxury is personal!”
He enjoys working at Strong Travel, which has an annual sales volume of more than $40 million, because of the agency’s size; it’s privately owned and small enough for decisions to be made without corporate red tape and bureaucracy. “It also provides the opportunity for all staff to share ideas and work together with the exchanging of ideas,” says Harris. “And, the name Strong Travel is definitely well respected and recognized within our industry which opens many doors providing great benefits to our clients’ experiences,” Harris tells us.
This trendsetter got his start in travel by working in American Airlines’ reservations office, which worked well with his musician’s lifestyle. “I felt the flexibility of the shift work would allow me to still play a gig here or there when available,” explains Harris. “Once I completed travel school, back when those still existed, I caught the travel bug and off I went. Almost 30 years later, I’m still here.”