Mindy Rozenberg is a home-based travel agent who lives in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. She has been with her host agency, Travel Experts, which is based in Raleigh, NC, for two years. Prior to that, she was with Valerie Wilson Travel for five years—first as an employee, and then as an outside associate agent.
"Before that, I was working for a cruise-only agency in Century City, CA, for about eight years," she says. Her recent focus has been less on mainstream travel and more on booking cruises, tours and customized luxury vacations.
Throughout her tenure as an agent, Rozenberg has had a loyal following of clients. "Most have been working with me for the 15 years I've been in the travel business," she says. "They started out as cruise clients when I was working in California and now, I handle all of their travel needs. I get a lot of referral business and repeat clients."
Because many of her customers are located throughout the world, Rozenberg hasn't actually met many of them. However, her ability to communicate with them via e-mail and phone has helped her generate strong friendships with many of them.
"They treat me like family," she says.
A high point of Rozenberg's career was having an itinerary that she arranged selected on NBC's Today show as one of two honeymoon options. For the past six years, the program has been hosting a wedding event; viewers decide the details of the wedding by voting for everything from the bride and groom to the location, the dress and the cake. Rozenberg's itinerary to Chile and Easter Island was a close runner up.
While Rozenberg's home office provides a strong base, she also easily handles her clients' travel arrangements while she herself is traveling. "I take their files with me and work from wherever I go," she says. Travel Expert's networking system also enables her to communicate easily via e-mail with other agents in its system. "If we have a question about a destination, hotel or cruise line, I can send a remote blast that goes out to all of my Travel Expert colleagues; I get some very informative and quick responses. I've been able to help my colleagues, and they have definitely helped me on more than one occasion. I can also e-mail or call the Raleigh office, and they are very helpful and get back to me ASAP," she says.
To keep abreast of all of the educational opportunities in the industry, Rozenberg attends a variety of trade shows and conferences, such as Virtuoso's Travel Mart and Luxury Travel Expo. She also attends events for top producers of luxury suppliers such as Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons. Her close proximity to New York enables her to go into the city frequently to attend events and to tour cruise ships when they are in port.
Rozenberg, who has a seven-year-old son and another child on the way, is about to make a big move—her family is relocating to Lower Merion, PA, as a result of her husband's being promoted and relocated. She says she's looking forward to meeting the other Travel Experts agents who live in that area, and is confident that she can move her home-based office quite easily to her new locale.
What advice does this home-based agent have? She recommends finding an affiliation through Virtuoso, looking within one's own community for clients and not being shy about asking existing clients for referrals. "You need to make yourself different and be very service oriented so that you do get repeat and referral business." —Ruthanne Terrero