When I was cleaning out the garage recently, I pulled down a box that had been sitting on top of a shelf since we’d moved in 32 years ago. I’d never gone near it before because during the summer it’s always surrounded by spider webs with dead bugs (and live spiders) but last week, I grabbed a hold of it just before nature sprung back into life for the year.

What I found were key elements of my life from the ages of 17 through 21. Notebooks filled with short stories in several different penmanship styles I was deciding upon in high school; birthday cards and long, hand-written letters from college friends over breaks when we were separated; a letter from Family Circle magazine declining my application to work there (they needed someone with actual work experience and relayed that to me in the nicest way) and a scrapbook I’d constructed of the Royal Wedding of Charles and Diana. I had artfully created my own “magazine” by covering the back and front of a binder with dazzling, happy photos of the two. Inside I’d taped about 100 newspaper articles onto loose leaf pages tracking the days leading up to the wedding, the magnificent day itself. It ends before the sorrow began and so my comments in magic marker on the pages like, “The magic continues!” and “The crowds rejoice!” will always remain real for those moments.

Ruthanne Terrero
Ruthanne Terrero, VP, Questex Travel and Meetings Group

The dusty box was truly a time capsule of other lives lived by me decades ago that I was able to review, appreciate, feel sad about and then carefully place into a plastic bin, storing it this time in the basement where there are no spiders.

Forgive this segue to selling travel but when I read the comments in Luxury Travel Advisor’s "Affluent Sentiment Report," it seemed as if travel advisors in 2022 are living new lives, with the past two and a half years clearly defined as an era that’s over. 

The pre-pandemic period also seemed carved out as a timeframe that’s concluded. Nearly half of our respondents told us that they are running their businesses differently now. They’re being more selective of new clients, vetting the types of trips they are asking for, to ensure that working with them will be a profitable venture. They are putting higher fees in place well before the heavy lifting is done on complex itineraries and weeding out those who will forever be tire kickers and never spenders.

We’ve all learned that life is too short to waste on lots of things; 2020 and 2021 now allow us to regard the dynamics of existence with an editor’s eye. We know what we like and what we don’t like, what we’ll endure and what is completely unacceptable. Luxury travel advisors are running their businesses at higher profit margins and ensuring they’re not getting sucked into the machine that has had them working at times for free for merciless clients or sending big books of business to suppliers who won’t return their calls.

If this doesn’t sound like you, step back from the ringing phone and the barrage of emails and texts from clients who want to travel now and look at the past as capsules of time that you can clearly discern. Then survey the Golden Age of travel that’s clearly in front of you and map out exactly how you want things to be. The French say that Americans live to work and that they work to live (Thank you for that, “Emily in Paris”) and I think they’re on to something. But we always knew that about the French, didn’t we?

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