Andrés Cortina believes his creative use of photography and videography propelled him to the post of marketing manager and supplier relations at Altour after only 18 months as a travel advisor.
“When I travel, I carry my camera everywhere I go and share the pictures and experiences with my colleagues upon my return,” he tells us. “This helps visualize whether a hotel or an experience will be the right one for one of their clients.” At the age of 26, Cortina has already taken his camera to such exotic realms as Dubai, New Zealand and Morocco.
Videos are one element he wants to use on Altour’s social media channels to increase bookings.
“My generation consumes more content through social media than any other, and they will soon become our primary consumer,” he says. “It’s important for our brand to be recognized among the Millennial community ... to capture their business whenever they are ready to book luxury travel.”
Gen Y is also a focus of Altour on the selling end.
“Betting on young people and giving [them] the tools and freedom to excel is what we do best,” Cortina says. “Some of my fellow interns have gone on to become independent contractors, department heads and lead agents for some of the biggest rock bands.”
Cortina, who was born in Mexico City and raised in Houston, studied Hospitality Management at the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College, which included “a semester in Angers, France, studying tourism management and a summer studying Italian Language and Culture in Siena.”
After graduating, he enrolled in the Altour University internship program and, upon successfully completing the four-week course, “I was offered a full time position to work under industry legend Martin Rapp in New York City. After 18 months of learning under ‘The Professor,’ I was offered the role of marketing manager and supplier relations by my current boss, Louise Whitney. The position was in Los Angeles, so I have since relocated,” Cortina says.
He describes working at Altour as feeling “like a family. Our CEO, Alexandre Chemla, as well as the rest of the executive team, are all incredibly nice and approachable. They have an open-door policy, which is not that common for a company of Altour’s size,” he says. “Our executive and upper management teams have [created] a great company culture and camaraderie within our offices.”
While his primary focus is on marketing, he hasn’t abandoned the role of advisor altogether. “I still organize trips for friends and family as well as offering recommendations to my fellow Altourians,” Cortina says.
At the time we contacted Cortina he was traveling in Morocco. “We visited Marrakech … Dades Gorge, Sahara Desert, Fes, Chefchaouen and Casablanca.” Among his favorite accommodations there was the Kasbah du Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains. “For a photographer, this place was a dream. With panoramic views over the mountains and the nine small towns surrounding the valley, I spent every free second taking pictures.” He also enjoyed the luxury desert camp in Merzouga, where, “The night sky was one of the darkest I have seen, and was lucky to have snapped a shot of the Milky Way.”
Coming up for Cortina is a business trip to Switzerland and the South of France in December for International Luxury Travel Markets [ILTM], “but the next leisure trip will be to India next year.”