The secret of Camila Zevallos’ success — roughly $1 million in annual revenue — begins with sticking to the essentials. “Service and flexibility are so important,” the Classic Travel Service advisor tells us. “We [may be] responsible for people’s only trip in a year or longer. I take that very seriously and make sure that every detail of their trip is perfect and that I am available at all times.”
Beyond the basics, she also understands the vital role that social media and the Internet play. “It is important to market yourself visually, so I am partnering with a vlogger / videographer that will be joining me in one of my group trips to record these experiences,” she says.
“When most people book online with us for the first time they soon realize we’re a full-service agency,” she adds. “This is how we reach out to them and develop the relationship, which is really global.”
Zevallos, who grew up in Ecuador, has been a New Yorker since she was 13. While going to school there to study hospitality management, she was offered an internship with Classic Travel, a Virtuoso agency. Lance Stamps (currently the agency’s vice president of sales and marketing), arranged a hotel internship for her at Hotel Cocumella in Sorrento, Italy.
“I got to live and work at a five-star hotel an entire summer, traveled all over the south of Italy [and got to] live like a local.” As much as she enjoyed this “amazing experience,” she decided that, “I really wanted to stay in the travel agency side and went back to Classic Travel for a full time job.” Seven years later, she has never looked back.
“I love that it is a very collaborative place [and] how innovative the agency is,” she tells us. “It has its own booking platform, which I have been a part of since the beginning. I have seen it grow to over 15,000 online members who much of the time become offline clients.”
At the time of this writing, Zevallos was attending the Emotions travel trade show in Seville, Spain. “We are always on the hunt for new gems and new destinations. This company does a great job involving new boutique luxury hotels that have a lot of authenticity, which is what a lot of our clients and myself personally look for.”
For 2020, she already has several celebratory groups planned and looks forward to focusing more on sustainable tourism and wellness travel.
“I am a big supporter of hotels and companies that are committed to restoring and contributing to future generations, while providing inspiring travel experiences,” Zevallos says. She and her family recently stayed at one such hotel: Half Moon in Jamaica.
“I loved [seeing] the new grounds, extensions and eco-friendly / sustainable measures the hotel is putting into place,” she says.
While she loves how New York “has opened my eyes to a lot of different cultures,” she misses Ecuador at times. “I was there last year for the first time in 10 years [and] I noticed how much tourism is changing. There are so many luxury hotels opening in areas you would never even think,” she says. “I visited a little town called Quilotoa [near Quito] that has become an iconic location and a ‘must see.’ The town is home to one of the 15 most beautiful volcanic lagoons in the world — Laguna De Quilotoa.”