Strong Travel Services
Brenda Tosso has already worked her way up the career ladder once. She’s doing it again as an advisor, twice as fast. Based in Grapevine, TX, this trendsetter sells cruises, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, Disney vacations and more with Strong Travel Services.
She’s an example for anyone thinking of entering the travel advisor business after they’ve retired from their first career.
Tosso joined the $45 million-plus per year Strong Travel in 2016, after two decades with a Dallas-based hospitality company where she held the role of vice president of customer relations and reservations.
Starting over again didn’t faze her a bit.
“Strong Travel, as a member of Virtuoso, has introduced me to a level of luxury travel that I aspire to and want to be a part of,” Tosso tells Luxury Travel Advisor.
Her strategy for success: Go deep into “the education of travel.”
“This involves time, money and commitment in attending educational webinars, building relationships with vendors and traveling to various parts of the world to experience their product firsthand,” says Tosso.
She’s taking the travel part seriously.
On a recent four-week trip, Tosso visited Iceland, Spain, Italy, Las Vegas for Virtuoso Travel Week, then San Diego for two nights at the Golden Door luxury spa.
“When I travel, I immerse myself into the location and take photographs for future reference. I can now speak with firsthand knowledge of Iceland, Spain and Italy. This is what sells travel,” says Tosso.
Thus far, she is tracking over $300,000 in sales per year, with an eye on new destinations and products. She’s refining her skills by working on her Certified Travel Advisor accreditation.
“While all of my travel peers sell the same product, we all sell it in different styles,” says Tosso. “My style of one-on-one verbal communication and personal insights have helped set me apart, as has my availability to clients. Knowing and listening to travel dreams and preferences has given me the advantage of truly personalizing my service,” she adds.
In her spare time, Tosso volunteers to speak about travel to local groups.
“Nothing beats face-to-face interaction. This business is all about relationships and I am working on developing these relationships, not only with the support of Strong Travel, but with the support of our many preferred suppliers,” she says.
Her husband’s business endeavors provide plenty of unique opportunities for Tosso, as well.
“He works in the wine industry. I love to join him during his wine dinner presentations and network with the other guests. We talk about a favorite wine cruise or tour that I think they might enjoy. You see, it always comes back to travel,” says Tosso.
When not traveling — or networking — Tosso spends time with her Scottish terrier, Ruby, and her three grandchildren.
“I love to teach my grandchildren about the world around them, and hopefully, create a curiosity that will lead to their love for travel,” says Tosso.
Add a strong work ethic to the lesson.
A favorite book, “Grit to Great” by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, has this Stephen King quote that Tosso finds inspiring:
“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work,” she says.