It’s only been a year since we met with Wendy Burk and her team at Cadence for their August 2014 profile, but since then, the number of new independent affiliates has increased, with many of them coming from outside the Southern California region.
Based on that increased demand, Burk hired Lea Diele, formerly of Worldview Travel, as the manager of leisure services; she joined Aimee Leon, director of leisure, to fill out the team. “Our goal is to provide the very best overall support for our independent affiliates and their businesses,” says Burk.
One thing that keeps Burk especially jazzed is her new “Generation Crystal” team, comprised of a group of young advisors who are excited about the luxury cruise industry. “We are working closely with Leslie Marshall and the senior leaders at Crystal to educate and motivate these up and coming luxury travel specialists,” she tells Luxury Travel Advisor. “We believe we are on the verge of launching a luxury travel training program that will appeal to the next generation of travel advisors.”
In just over a year, Cadence’s annual revenue has grown from $100 million to $125 million. That healthy increase could well come from a tweak in strategy. According to Burk, the agency is leveraging its preferred relationships with its luxury travel partners to “reinforce the value of Cadence. This is not a new story, but we are telling it in a more robust way. We have re-launched our website [www.cadencetravel.com] and feel that our digital footprint is improving with every click,” says Burk.
Recent famous booking feats include selling the Four Seasons Around the World by Private Jet program on the new custom-designed Four Seasons luxury airliner. Cadence also had clients who were the owners of a small start-up company. When they sold to a larger corporation for millions, the founders decided to take a $500,000 vacation. Based around a trip to Paris to see an AC/DC concert, the itinerary included Chanel makeovers and “private dinners with Mona Lisa.”
“It was a nice combination of rock ‘n’ roll and culture!” says Burk.
Her own recent travels took her to Hong Kong for the Virtuoso International Symposium where she stayed “at the lovely Four Seasons. The highlight of the trip was lunch at Duddell’s with my friend Joann Kurtz-Ahlers who always introduces me to fun and amazing people.”
Closer to home, Burk was “pleasantly surprised by my recent visit to Terranea. The setting was magnificent and the service was impeccable. I was not sure they could pull off a high-end FIT experience and they really came through.”
Life is good for this mega-agency owner; she loves coming to work every day at her spiffy La Jolla, CA, offices and she loves being home in the sunny San Diego area as well.
“As it turns out, my new favorite activity is watching sunsets from my deck at my home in La Jolla!” she tells Luxury Travel Advisor.