Lauren Maggard has the heart of an artist.
Her background is in art; she went to graduate school at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London and has “a budding art collection” of her own. But today her passion is painting memorable experiences for her customers — and it’s the art of luxury travel, and sculpting great trips for families around the world, that fill her life.
Born and raised in Sun Valley, ID, Maggard now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, NC, with her husband and two children. It was 14 years ago that her love of travel surpassed her love of art and she started her own agency, Jet Set World Travel — “a boutique agency that truly focuses on customer service, with a close team of amazing advisors and friends.”
With a seven-year-old and a nine-year-old at home, Maggard likes to focus on working with families, putting to use her personal experiences and understanding of “the needs, interests and energy levels of children — and what works well [and what doesn’t] when traveling.”
She offers her clients tips regarding snacks to take along, hotels and villas with pools for an afternoon swim, and “carefully chosen dining reservations that allow both the children and adults to enjoy their meal,” she says. She has created travel itineraries ranging from a yearlong trip around the world for a young family of five to surfing trips in Nicaragua, ski trips to Japan, and culinary journeys through Italy. Many of the trips she plans are for weeks at a time, and for groups of families traveling together.
Even on the many long, multi-family trips she has created — indeed, one could say, in which she specializes — she takes pride in her attention to detail, ensuring that she has considered and maximized every moment. She stays up to date by pounding the pavement herself as often as possible, so she can share insider information “from what cocktail to order, to the charming hidden boutique around the corner, and the best time to snorkel the reef. Those personal tips set me apart and keep my clients returning,” she says.
Maggard’s goal is to create truly unique and bespoke experiences for her global client base, many of whom have been with her for years. Over time she gets to know their individual travel styles, preferences, interests and nuances inside and out. Now most of them put the entire trip — destination, duration, hotel selection, activities — entirely in her hands.
Heading into 2020, Maggard’s personal business plan includes growing her own support team. She plans to hire a second assistant, to free up her time a bit so she can engage in more one-on-one encounters with her neighbors in the Asheville community. She also plans to host more client events and do some local advertising to grow the business to hit the $2 million mark in sales.
Her personal travel agenda recently included Chile, where she experienced the Tierra Lodges in Chiloe and Patagonia (“amazing,” she says), and Como Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos to check out their recently renovated rooms and villas.
In her spare time, you’ll find her hiking with her husband, children and yellow lab, playing tennis, or maybe reading (she recommends Kristin Hannah’s “The Great Alone”).
And if you happen upon a great deal on a beautiful work of art for her personal collection, please let her know.