Calinda McLaughlin is a New Yorker through and through and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. This native of Astoria, Queens, had her sights on being a translator (she studied Japanese and Chinese in college), but when she realized that would have her sitting at a desk for the most part, she changed her mind. Working in travel appealed to her because it requires a similar attention to detail as translation. She’s been at it now for two years and loves the team environment at JB’s World Travel Consultants. “Everyone works together to ensure that our clients are receiving the best possible service,” says McLaughlin. “This means that each person gets to play to their strengths.”
Clients at JB’s World are “‘been-everywhere, done-everything’ kind of people,” says McLaughlin. “They have high expectations when it comes to travel. Our clients seek out sophistication and culture wherever they go.” For that reason, her goal is to help the client discover new and exciting destinations that they might not have yet considered.
McLaughlin’s key to success is understanding the importance of connections and communication at every step of the process.
“Forming a relationship with the client, discussing their likes and dislikes, getting to know what kind of traveler they are, and investing in their wants and needs helps to form trust,” says McLaughlin.
She has a similar strategy for suppliers. “Creating a bond with hoteliers, chauffeur companies, or local DMCs is equally important,” she notes. “When we need to make sure the client is getting the attention they deserve, we can ensure that it happens with confidence because we have real relationships in every nook and cranny of the industry. These personal connections really help to define the kinds of experiences that we provide,” says McLaughlin.
Her plans to increase her business include creating more content for the agency. She’s creating a regular newsletter featuring new and interesting luxury destinations. “I want to showcase what we do best. The aim is to inspire potential and existing clients to dream big in travel,” she says.
In the meantime, McLaughlin has a new passion for Mexico, forged when she attended ILTM North America. “Having been to the area before, I arrived feeling a little bit jaded but I have to say, I really fell in love with Mexico this time around. I spent some time at Nizuc, at Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa, and at the Andaz Mayakoba — all gorgeous properties with an outstanding quality of service.”
She’s says she plans to return to explore Merida and Mexico City; next up, is Istanbul and Israel with Young Travel Professionals.
“We’ve been seeing an increase in travel to Israel recently, so I am excited to see all the sights and the hotels in person,” says McLaughlin.
When she’s home, this luxury travel designer loves to cook. “I joke that I go to sleep at night already planning what I am going to make for dinner the next day. Recipe hunting, grocery shopping, meal prepping — these are the tasks that help me unwind at the end of a long day.”