Haleigh Scott of Next Exit Travels, an affiliate of Strong Travel Services, sees herself as a “personalized search engine” for her clients. Rather than specializing in a destination or type of travel, she, instead, specializes in each of her clients and learning what their interests are.
“I take the time to learn about my clients and any events, experiences or trips they’ve really enjoyed in the past,” the Dallas-based Scott tells Luxury Travel Advisor. “I seek to understand what their desires are for their current trip and I build an unforgettable itinerary with all the information gathered.”
The majority of Scott’s clients are individuals, couples and families “who are looking to travel a bit outside the box.” She adds that she’s also focusing on growing her business by targeting a “select clientele who will provide a return on my efforts.”
It’s also important to let the hotel, for instance, know if her clients are celebrating anything. “When you arrive, the hotel will know if it’s your birthday or anniversary,” she says. The same level of personalization continues with your tour guides, who will already know everyone’s names and interest, so they can help customize the tour based on what the client will enjoy the most. “No two trips will ever look exactly the same, because no two clients are exactly the same,” she says.
Scott goes above and beyond for the kids, too. “If you are traveling with young kids and this is their first big plane ride, they’ll receive some fun activities from me for your travel days,” she says. Parents must love that.
One tip that Scott offers: Don’t be shy when suggesting an itinerary or idea to your clients. “Because so much of my client base is built on personal relationships, I know what’s on their bucket list and I know their interests,” she tells us. “I aim to be an extension of their own lifestyle, passing along trip ideas I know they will love.”
And when you make a trip all about the client, the referrals — which Scott calls “invaluable” — will start coming in.
Scott has been able to pull in an excess of $1 million in annual revenue despite being in the industry for only two years — just over one of which has been spent with Strong Travel Services. While Scott makes an effort to build strong relationships of her own with suppliers (“This allows me to provide my clients with an increased service level that wouldn’t [otherwise] be possible,” she tells us), she adds that Strong Travel’s partnerships helps her make every client of her “feel like a VIP.”
This year, Scott has been across the U.S. — New York City, Denver, Arizona, Los Angeles, San Diego, New Mexico — as well as Mayakoba, Cancun, London, Paris and Germany. It’s not uncommon for her to travel 100 days a year, scoping out destinations and properties for her clients. Next up: Turkey (“A huge point of interest for clients lately”), where she will stop in Istanbul, Bodrum and Cappadocia. Among her perennial top hotel picks are The Dorchester in London, Le Bristol Paris, Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa outside of San Diego and The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park.
“Travel changes and impacts who we are,” Scott tells us. “[It’s] a chance to open your eyes to new things, new people and new ways of thinking; it is adventurous, relaxing and inspiring.”