“While it takes a leap of faith to move from one career to another, sometimes the unexpected is the best thing that could ever happen,” says Carol Brant.
After a career in radiology, Brant took time off to raise her three children; she intended to get back into the field but a chance encounter with a Virtuoso advisor led to the start of her “encore career.” Only six weeks after first hearing about Virtuoso, Brant went on to meet Paul Largay and Amanda Klimak, the agency’s CEO and president, respectively. In just her third year in the industry, she is on pace to pull in half a million in sales.
Brant tells us she sells travel to every continent, but if she had to name a niche, it would be FIT European vacations. She’s also very fond of the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and Hawaii. The same skills that led Brant to her career in medicine have helped her succeed in the travel industry. “I am thorough, creative and detail-oriented,” she says. Brant also tells us she has a photographic memory, making her recollection of locations amazingly clear. We bet that makes painting a picture for her clients pretty easy.
A majority of her clients are empty nesters, professionals such as lawyers and businessmen and women who have the time and means to travel — more often than not, with their adult children. Brant tells us she also works with Millennials and enjoys it since they are “very savvy and knowledgeable about travel.” But Brant has faced her fair share of adversity: first, when she started selling travel, the oil and gas business (an integral part of the economy for Houston, where Brant is based out of) suffered a severe economic downturn; and more recently, the effects of Hurricane Harvey have caused many of her clients to focus on rebuilding their lives as opposed to spending that money on leisure. Yet, Brant perseveres.
To grow her business, Brant tells us she’s looking to expand her group sales. “The logistics at first seemed overwhelming until I realized that I work as hard on some individual itineraries as I do for a group, since the group is following the same itinerary,” she says. Other initiatives include networking with neighborhood businesses, creating a newsletter for potential clients who may currently be booking their own trips and, simply, continuing to learn about as many destinations as she can.
Brant and her husband traveled to Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia in September; there, the couple fell in love with Ljubljana for its “old world charm, beautiful scenery and modern shops.” She tells us Journey2Croatia is one of her favorite DMCs, while the Aria Hotel Budapest by Library Hotel Collection, Hotel Dubrovnik and Hotel Bellevue are her top hotels. This Christmas, Brant will be leading a group of 12 to the Christmas markets along the Rhine in Germany, France and Switzerland aboard Tauck’s MS Inspire.