Lindsay St. Hilaire
Watching “The Amazing Race” has inspired many TV viewers to set off on far-flung adventures of their own. But it so influenced Lindsay St. Hilaire that she gave up her career in production on the show to follow her dream and become a full-time travel advisor.
After an 11-year career in TV production, working on shows such as the Oscars and the Emmys, “Big Brother,” “MasterChef” and “Married at First Sight,” St. Hilaire found herself moving earlier this year to Santa Barbara to marry a surgeon. She was looking for a new career path that would tap into her love for details and creativity, her need for a little more flexibility, and her passion for travel.
“I’m a meticulous planner, whether it’s for a production or a personal trip,” Hilaire says — and of course that careful nature, combined with her love for wandering off the beaten path, make her nine-month-old career as owner of St. Hilaire Travel a perfect fit.
“I look at each trip like a TV moment that I am used to producing,” she says. “My creativity and ability to think outside the box have been key factors in my success; no matter how big or how small the task is, I enjoy finding a way to help people fulfill important moments, and making people’s dreams come true.”
In her first year in business, St. Hilaire’s outgoing personality (“I love talking to people, finding out where they come from and what they are passionate about, and I am not afraid to ask for business,” she says) is winning her customers.
For now, all her clients are friends, family and former colleagues, and a growing number of referrals they have sent her. Typically they are looking for “luxury experiences that are authentic to the destination and crafted to their personal preferences,” she says. Once she has them, “I make sure each trip is completely catered to them specifically and that what they are passionate about is found in each specific trip I book for them.”
She particularly loves to produce special events like surprise birthdays, proposals, special anniversary celebrations and honeymoons — and there is no detail too big or too small for her to tackle. “I feel like the small details make all the difference,” she says.
Already she has handled everything from solo leisure travel to incentive corporate groups, and expects her first year’s sales to reach $700,000.
When she is not selling travel, this California native enjoys wine tasting; her favorite winery is Sunstone Winery in Santa Ynez, but she also loves to visit Bridlewood, Brave and Maiden, and Gainey. Where once she liked to read and play sports at her leisure, now her reading is confined to the coursework for Signature Travel Expert training and researching the places her clients want to travel to, while her love of sports has transformed into planning events with sport themes.
In her personal travels, meanwhile, she recently visited Austin, TX, boating on Lake Travis and walking down Rainey Street to see the old houses that have been converted into great restaurants and listening to the music. She also took a “staycation” at Belmond El Encanto — a favorite hotel.
But of course, her favorite trip will be her honeymoon — a grand tour of Europe that includes Paris (at La Reserve and Rosewood Hotel de Crillon), Champagne (at Domaine Les Crayères), Barcelona (at El Palace), and London (at The Lanesborough).
As befits her “Amazing Race” experience, St. Hilaire has some amazing experiences planned, “and I’m going to surprise my fiancé with some of them,” she says. “But I’m also really looking forward to sharing my experience with my clients — and that makes it all even more meaningful.”