“The secret to my success is my ability to read a client and be able to make suggestions based on what they are [and often what they are not] telling me they would like to do,” says Natalie Faggianelli of Bayside Travel in New York.
She uses her own experiences, from personal journeys to familiarization trips, as reference points to share with clients, and encourages the staff at Bayside Travel to share their experiences as well so that everyone at the company can learn from each other.
Faggianelli first caught the travel bug as a child, trekking across the United States by car. After a brief flirtation with cosmetology, tourism classes in school led to a part-time summer job with a travel agency where she learned about the business. From there, she was able to land her first full-time position with Empress Travel in White Plains, NY, which is where she says she realized that this was the career she wanted to pursue wholeheartedly.
In 2003, Faggianelli joined Bayside Travel after selling her own company of 12 years to Bayside President and CEO Barbara Nichuals, who invited her to stay on in the company’s Bronxville office “to see how things went.”
They’ve been working together ever since.
“Part of why I enjoy working at Bayside Travel is the opportunity it has given me to share my vision and recommendations to evolve the company,” Faggianelli says.
In her time at Bayside, Faggianelli has been particularly focused on education. Six years ago, she started a showcase where Bayside advisors come together with the company’s travel partners to celebrate their clients and introduce them to wonderful travel experiences.
“I always want our clients to trust that they can come to us with their next travel desire and we will exceed their expectations,” Faggianelli says.
Faggianelli also has her own client base and it’s diverse, running the gamut from retired or semi-retired couples, who are able to travel on longer itineraries, to families and honeymoon couples. Her custom itineraries span the globe from Europe to Asia, Africa, India, Israel and the United States. While she can handle everything from cruises to escorted tours, her real niche is in adventure and extraordinary experiences, an area that she says brings out her creativity.
One trend that particularly thrills Faggianelli is the growing interest in wellness travel.
“I am a big believer in taking care of yourself, which I have done since I was 18 years old,” says Faggianelli. “For me that means exercise, cycling, practicing yoga, meditation, and a glass of red wine some evenings. I feel very confident in my ability to guide clients interested in these types of travel experiences.”
Wellness is just one of Faggianelli’s interests, she also enjoys watching classic movies, particularly those from the 1930s to the 1950s, going to the theater, relaxing with a good book or family and friends and planning her next travel experience. She lives in Tuckahoe, NY, which is in Westchester County. She and her husband are high school sweethearts and this month celebrate 36 years of marriage.