McCabe World Travel
“Anything is possible,” Wayne Muhlstein says of his approach to planning travel. In under five years since starting WayneTraveler LLC, an affiliate of McCabe World Travel, Muhlstein has built a loyal following of travelers. His Goal: To “fulfill their emotional aspirations and change the way that they experience travel.”
Some of the activities he’s planned include arranging for a client to play a fiddle in an Irish town where her ancestors were from and having a second-honeymoon couple awake to their clock radio playing their wedding song. All of Muhlstein’s trips are customized, with his niche being FIT experiences focused on culture and heritage, culinary, and wellness and active adventures. His clients are either luxury or emerging luxury travelers, he tells us. This year, Muhlstein is on pace to pull in $2.5 million in sales.
Muhlstein’s interest in travel goes back to when he was a kid. He collected foreign stamps and would pore over atlases and globes, we’re told. And yet his first foray into the travel industry was as an encore career, having spent 30 years in executive management; although he admits he often asks himself: “What took me so long to connect the dots to this career?” However, it wasn’t time wasted, as Muhlstein is a proficient public speaker and has over 1 million miles traveled as a consumer. “Anne Scully tells me I am the best storyteller of travel [among anyone] she has ever mentored,” Muhlstein says.
Just as important as “selling” a destination is keeping in contact with clients throughout the year. Muhlstein engages with his clients with “How are you doing” phone calls or by meeting for coffee or a meal. The conversation doesn’t have to be related to travel. “It is a genuine connection and catch-up on each other’s lives,” Muhlstein says. On more than one occasion, Muhlstein has gone out of the way to reach out to his clients. For instance, he has sent a client their favorite chocolate from Italy; another time he sent a framed photo from their last trip with a playful note: “Where to next?”
His recommendations? Australia or Israel — Muhlstein’s two most recent trips. His itinerary in Australia focused on food and wine. We’re told the calories started piling up soon after take-off, thanks to Air New Zealand’s Business Premier offerings. In Israel, Muhlstein visited various cultural and religious sites, in addition to off-roading, hiking and even celebrating Gay Pride Day on the beaches of Tel Aviv. “My clients have already benefited from the recent destination experience,” he says.
To grow his business, Muhlstein tells us he has three programs in place. The first is to focus on his existing clients and their referrals. The second is to support his primary group of clients through personal meetings, targeted social media postings and direct mail. The third approach is to develop group affinity travel programs through partnerships with luxury businesses.