Travel Edge (formerly Century Travel)
Working at a large Agency like Travel Edge, which as a whole brings in $750 million annually, could make it challenging to stand out in the crowd. However, that is exactly what Julie Michaels has done at Travel Edge - Atlanta, garnering $1.75 million in revenue this past year.
“I would say that I have an innate cultural curiosity, which leads me to explore new destinations in my personal travels as well as suggest new destinations to clients that they never may have considered on their own,” Michaels tells Luxury Travel Advisor. “I love the challenge of scanning the globe to find something new for a well-traveled client or the puzzle of piecing together a great itinerary when there are only pockets of availability in the destination. A great itinerary can be a piece of art — something customized to the particular client with the right cadence and pacing, pockets of adrenaline and relaxation, surprises, touches of familiarity and plenty of comfort.”
Michaels’ style of selling travel is so successful that she plans on hiring an assistant in the near future in order to help keep up with growing demand. When it comes to increasing business, she says organic growth via word of mouth is keeping her busy; however, she also utilizes digital itineraries, like Axus, which are very well received. In fact, she has been weaning many of her clients off relying on paper documents when planning trips. “I’ve recently gotten into Instagram stories,” she adds. “It’s a nice way to show followers you’re traveling and bring the destination to life via quick videos, but you don’t litter their feeds with hundreds of photos.”
When asked what Michaels believes sets her apart from her competition, she isn’t shy.
“There is so much untapped business, like people who travel at a high level and aren’t using a professional, that I feel I’m more [invested in] spreading the word about the benefits of working with an agent than competing directly with others. We’re all in this together and the better job I do with my clients, the better the reputation of the travel industry as a whole — and the more it helps my neighbor agent” she says. “My goal is to wow my new clients, show them how easy it is and how many benefits come from working with an agent — then not only are they hooked but they convert others to working with an agent, as well.”
Michaels also attributes her success in the industry to being able to keep in mind small details such as remembering if a client likes to sleep in so as to make sure not to schedule a tour too early, or having a hotel place a photo of the client’s dog at home on the night table.
So what’s next on Michaels’ list of projects? “One of the most fun trips I’m currently working on is an around-the-world honeymoon. My client has had the funds, but never the time to take longer than a weeklong trip, so we’re taking full advantage of his nearly month-long honeymoon and having him hop from Indonesia to East Africa and the Seychelles to ending in the Mediterranean.”