Sometimes you just have to take a leap to the other side of the table.
That’s what Stephen Scott did four years ago, when the former United Airlines and Royal Caribbean International executive signed on with Protravel International, hung up a shingle of his own, and became a travel advisor himself. Today, Scott is putting his insider knowledge of the airlines and the cruise lines to good use for his corporate and leisure clients — and selling a million dollars’ worth of their products to satisfied customers.
A Chicago native, Scott credits his midwestern roots with instilling in him a great work ethic and a drive to do big things. Over the years at United (where his wife Katherine also worked) and RCCL, Scott won many promotions and awards, including Employee of the Year and the Chairman’s Award for top sales performance. But in time he came to long for the freedom of doing things his own way in his own business.
“I chose to take the major step of leaving my salary, benefits and success behind and become a luxury travel advisor at my own company, Travel Hub 365, in 2015,” he says.
He knew what he was getting into, of course. Having managed RCCL’s Consumer Outreach Training and Quality Assurance team and serving as a BDM “supporting the amazing travel agencies of New York City,” Scott was ready to take on the challenge.
His plan was to use technology to build a business selling airline tickets to corporate customers and luxury travel to leisure customers, with an additional focus on the entertainment industry. “From the very start we have treated ourselves as a tech startup that generates leads and buzz with the best technology, and delivers for our clients with the personal touch and relationship necessary to support travelers in both the corporate and luxury leisure segments,” he says.
His corporate clients include music groups, an NHL hockey team, a Washington, D.C. law firm, and an account that books large student groups at concerts and events. He has clients of all ages and types, though — and his goal is to make their planning process easier and ensure they get more bang for their buck “whether they are spending a lot of money or just trying to keep costs under control.”
Despite his many years in the travel industry, Scott still is intent on growing his skills. This year he graduated from the U.S. Small Business Administration Emerging Leaders Program, and also focused on honing his marketing skills. In addition to Salesforce, his agency has built marketing tools of its own “to reinforce the most important parts of our marketing, which is to increase our repeat and referral business,” he says.
On social media, Scott now has more than 10,000 followers of his at @travelhub365 and his travelhub365.net website. He often appears as a cruise expert on CGTN America, which airs in more than 100 English-speaking countries, and on Celebrity Page TV; he has advertised his brand on billboards in Times Square, Herald Square and Bella magazine. “I want this to be a global brand and we are absolutely bringing in clients from all over the world, fueling our growth and providing stability,” he says.
When he’s not running his business, Scott is likely just plain running, staying in shape and playing with his boys. His favorite book is “The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia” by Paul Theroux. And once again, learning about something new has gotten him hooked. While he doesn’t have a formal bucket list, “that is certainly something I want to do,” he says.