It’s one thing to say you “really think big” when planning a special trip for a luxury client. It’s another to deliver the goods. And TravelStore’s Cara Kobzeff does both — to the tune of $2 million in annual revenue.
“Sure, I am selling hotel suites and villas in excess of $35,000 per night, but … over the course of a six-month period in Paris alone, I was able to privatize the Louvre twice for two different families visiting Paris — one of those occasions with less than 12 hours’ notice,” she tells us. For other clients, Kobzeff has privatized the King’s and Queen’s apartments, and the Petit Trianon, at the Palace of Versailles. The key, she says, is developing the right partnerships, which in the above case means Stephanie Boutet-Fajol at Sacrebleu Paris.
She has also cultivated an extensive knowledge of food, restaurants and chefs abroad, which stands her in good stead with her clients who seek the most difficult reservations at top restaurants. “I make that happen, while also getting them a kitchen tour or meet-and-greet with the chef,” she says.
Kobzeff describes her core clientele as “soul- and culture-seeking luxury travelers, foodies, young families and multi-gen travelers. I specialize in catering to high-profile celebrities, professional athletes, award-winning musicians and film composers, as well as ultra-high net-worth individuals looking for high-touch service.”
For such clients, she tells us, “the biggest luxury is their time. Often [they] hit me up at a moment’s notice … and I need to move mountains to make something amazing happen.” Her attitude? “I’m not here to tell them how rough the water is, I’m here to bring the boat in.”
Kobzeff launched her travel career in her teens, working after school at a travel agency researching debit memos, restocking brochures and such. Eventually, “I learned Sabre and started working full-time selling bulk air tickets” and, at age 21, she joined Los Angeles-based TravelStore as a full-time corporate travel specialist.
Fifteen years later, “I jumped at the chance to join TravelStore’s leisure team, with [director of leisure sales] Katie Cadar not only mentoring me, but taking the chance that ‘a corporate agent’ could sell leisure.” And sell she did: “I was one of the top producers from my first year in leisure and leading up to 2018 being the top producer.”
Kobzeff, a lifelong Los Angeleno who loves watching Dodgers and Lakers games when she’s not traveling, enjoyed the lifestyle of a jetsetting single for most of her adult life. Then, in 2016, she chose to become sole guardian to her now 6-year-old nephew and 7-year-old niece, a role she calls her life’s “biggest adventure,” being both a full-time travel advisor and full-time single parent.
“I am enjoying family vacations with my niece and nephew,” she says. “We went to Fiji and Mexico this year and next year are planning an extended summer in Spain together.”
On her own, Kobzeff recently went to Marrakech for the PURE travel trade show. “I stayed at the Royal Mansour and it was every bit the extravagant palace I expected. The attention to detail and the service was off the charts.” In 2020, she hopes to visit the Raja Ampat Islands by yacht with Rascal Voyages. “I just love what those guys are doing in Indonesia. Raja Ampat offers the most biodiverse marine life in the world and I am looking forward to snorkeling and diving in this region.”