Joining Wings Travel Group in 2008, Sue Burns, branch manager in Marmora, NJ, is both passionate about her clients and proactive when she sees a budding sales opportunity. “I am so excited about Virgin Voyages,” she tells Luxury Travel Advisor. She immediately began marketing this new non-traditional, adults-only ocean-going product — knowing she had the “right clients.” Demonstrating her highly productive sales efforts, Burns was recently named to Virgin Voyages’ “Top 100 in Sales” list.
Setting sail early in 2020, Virgin Voyages will deliver such features as Mega RockStar Suites and an exclusive Bimini Beach Club experience. Burns plans to sail with her clients on the new Scarlet Lady during Sir Richard Branson’s birthday bash next July; Branson is Virgin Group’s founder. Separately, she specializes in coordinating travel plans for many destination weddings. On any given day, Burns could be seen handling those arrangements or, alternatively, developing a family’s exotic vacation itinerary or crafting a couple’s stress-free trip to Sandals or Beaches.
For planning of all trips, she brings a personal passion to create unforgettable experiences for her clients, whom she characterizes as “amazing people” and “friends.” Burns strives to ensure every detail is covered and that overwhelming options are quickly eliminated, leaving “only the perfect trip remaining.” Ever seeking improvement, though, “we are determined to examine what we did ‘right’ in 2019, how we could have done it even better and put that into practice for 2020,” she says.
One of Burns’ greatest childhood gifts is knowing that “memories never collect dust,” a philosophy gleaned at an early age as she traveled the U.S. with her “musician” mother. Invigorated by the differences in each new city, Burns meticulously researched every location and quickly cultivated a life’s list of places to see. Currently, Burns is reading “Love with a Chance of Drowning” by Torre DeRoche; it’s a tale of new love, exotic destinations and a round-the-world sailing adventure.
When she’s not coordinating travel for her clients, she’s doing it for her family and continuing to mark destinations off that list, most recently in Croatia and throughout Europe. For example, she says: “I enjoy both showing my children the well-known highlights of a place and encouraging them to give back by reading books to local schoolchildren or helping plant vegetable gardens in small villages.”
Burns also personally enjoys giving back to the community, spending time with her grandchildren and participating in Rotary International and special service projects. “My passion with Rotary is clean water for everyone,” she says, as well as Casa, a project to help children. Also, “I believe when people see that you are sincere, they want to do business with you,” she notes.
Starting out as a cocktail waitress at age 18 until she turned 24, Burns found her passion after spotting an advertisement to become a travel advisor. She credits much of her success to the amazing travel consultants she works with, saying they’re friends “who help me grow every day.”
For more than 29 years, she’s been on a mission to give the experience of creating perfect travel memories to others, stressing that “anyone can sell a trip online, but not everyone can help you create a truly perfect memory.” Her agency’s tag line aptly showcases her personal philosophy: “Live your dreams and leave the details to us.”