Georgia Schley Ritchie has spent her life traveling. Born in England, her mother was Scottish; her father, American. Her dual citizenship has allowed Ritchie to venture between Columbus, GA, where her father’s family has resided for generations, and the U.K. for years. She spent the first part of her career as a lawyer in London and then moved to Tokyo for a few years with her husband and three children. Along the way, she and her family traveled the world (think, Christmas vacation in New Zealand and spring break in Bali). They settled in Atlanta in 2000 and with so much personal travel under her belt, Ritchie decided to switch to the world of luxury travel advising.
“My natural planning and organizational skills, honed by many years as a lawyer, lifelong passion for travel and destination knowledge, combined with the incredible resources available through my association with Century Travel, have brought extraordinary value to my clients,” she tells Luxury Travel Advisor. In fewer than three years as an advisor, she’s already bringing in more than $1.25 million in annual sales.
Century Travel, based in Atlanta, is led by CEO Gene Lashley and President Peter Lloyd. The agency was recently acquired by Worldview Travel and has an annual revenue of $57 million. “Century Travel is a tremendously supportive place to work and is a very highly regarded agency. I definitely benefit from all the hard work that Peter and Gene have put into the agency over the last 30 plus years,” says Ritchie.
She has had tremendous success in her short career and is now among the top 10 highest producing advisors at Century Travel.
“My book of business is growing almost faster than I can handle so I hired my own assistants so I can continue to grow and prosper,” says Ritchie, who categorizes herself as a generalist and enjoys selling all destinations. The places that attract her the most are the less traveled areas like India and the Far East. “I am looking forward to exploring a lot of South America in the next 12 months — the Galapagos and Colombia this year and the Amazon in Peru next year.”
You don’t need a background as a traditional travel agent to be successful in this business, says Ritchie.“What you need is a passion for travel, a network to market to, and a great partnering agency such as Century to help you learn the ropes and offer you all the bells and whistles to become successful.”
More secrets to her success?
“I believe responsiveness is key,” she says. “I try to respond to inquiries as quickly as possible and certainly within 24 hours if at all possible. My clients very much appreciate this as well as my resourcefulness and attention to detail. My background in law instilled a strong sense of getting it right the first time — there is little room for error!”
Next steps for Ritchie include planning more group travel for non-profits. The last few years Ritchie has crafted trips to Germany, Italy and Cuba and she looks forward to helping more national organizations plan their upcoming journeys.