Two advisors who graced our covers in the past are no longer with us. We remember them here.
Mansour Travel Company
Gary Mansour of Mansour Travel Company in Beverly Hills passed away on January 19, 2011 at the age of 58. We profiled Gary on our July/August 2006 cover. He was a calm and enterprising entrepreneur; when we visited with him in his Los Angeles offices to interview him, he spent more than an hour walking us through his career and how he ran his business. We only realized afterward that it was just days before the Cannes Film Festival, his absolute busiest time of the year. Cannes was where Gary sent many of his A-list celebrity clients and prepping the final details for their travel to the event was always challenging, yet he was gracious, patient and delightful during our time together, despite the fact that the clock was ticking away on his harrowing schedule.
Gary, one of the few agency owners to charge an actual membership fee for his services (it was $15,000 a year when we met), was all about providing over-the-top opportunities for his VIPs. He once had a private luxury car hooked up to the Trans-Siberian Express as it traveled through Russia so that his client could enjoy the ultimate space and privacy in an exotic setting. Arranging yachts, private homes and the top suites in the Mediterranean was second nature to him.
He also took the responsibility his clients placed in his hands very seriously. “The people we deal with on a regular basis are the heads of their industry or at the top of their game,” Mansour said in 2006. “They are completely in control of their lives. They call all the shots. The minute they step into an airport or take a trip, they have complete loss of that and it’s our job as really good agents to take control. It’s really about taking responsibility. You’re in charge of their life from the day they are leaving until the day they come back. I feel liable to the client to make that all seamless.”
Minnetonka Travel and Cruises
Roger Miller, CEO of Minnetonka Travel and Cruises in Wayzata, MN, passed away on May 13, 2012 at the age of 69. We featured Roger on our June 2011 cover of Luxury Travel Advisor. He was a great joy to speak with. His love for life, his family and all things travel were apparent in every sentence he uttered. Writing his story was sheer joy as we sorted through our notes that relayed his love for Austria and Switzerland and the lovely lakeside Minnesota town of Wayzata, where he lived. He thought it was wonderfully scenic and charming, and he loved his travel advisors and neighbors so. He often invited us to come visit him there … we never had the chance.
Roger was also a great fan of his consortia, Vacation.com, of which he was a board member. He was deeply involved with sharing his knowledge with other Vacation.com members and often flew around the country to visit with them. He was also tremendously loyal to Luxury Travel Advisor. After he was featured on the cover, he became part of our family and showed extremely strong enthusiasm in attending our events and participating in our advisory boards.
Roger took joy in bringing his clients satisfaction: “We get a lot of calls from people saying, ‘This is amazing, you have done a great job,’ and that makes us feel so terrific. I can’t tell you, it’s the best,” Miller said in 2011. “This is a very happy business and I think it all depends on how you approach it. You will always have somebody that seems to find some faults, somewhere down the road. We really focus very much on what we are doing right.”
Roger’s spirit continues on at Minnetonka Travel, which is run by Jennifer Yokiel, his beloved daughter.