New York, New York Travel Agent
My Travel Agent Life
I've been with Tzell Travel Group for 27 years, and I specialize in executive travel. I studied travel and tourism in college and became assistant to the program director. He was friends with a woman who worked at Tzell, and after interviewing I wound up here.
This is a hands-on job. You can obtain every kind of academic degree, but until you're in the thick of it and speaking to clients, it doesn’t mean anything. So, I first worked for other travel agents, then built up my own clientele and went out on my own. I have been an executive corporate travel agent for 15 years.
The backbone of my client list is my corporate clients who are mostly in the financial and sales industries, and their travel is a mix of domestic and international. The luxury leisure travel I book is generated by the personal vacations my corporate clients who have liked my work.
To be an effective professional travel agent, you have to strike a proper balance between your own travel and your availability to your customers. You're not going to retain your clients if you're all over the world all the time and they can't reach you. At the same time, to really know what you're selling, you must visit key destinations and hotels personally.
So, I once went to a location and walked through 75 villas and took photos of every single one, because I had to make sure that everything was perfect for my client and nothing was left to chance. If he wanted to know if the beach was wide enough, I had a photo of myself standing on it. This is how you win and keep clients.
My favorite itineraries are the ones where I don't hear back from the client, because that means that everything went smoothly. Travel itineraries I create go well because I love what I do, and that's the key to doing anything well. You have to love it, and you have to love what you do to stay with it for 27 years like I have.
Related Travel Experiences
I was with the travel agent who brought me into Tzell. We call ourselves “Thelma and Louise,” and we've enjoyed some great trips together. We went to Ireland and drove from one side of the country to the other with a private car and driver, who was fantastic. We hit the... Read more from my The Real Life Thelma and Louise story.