Each year, Travel Agent and its sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor, select four exemplary individuals who are innovative and dedicated to the art of delivering luxury service. These folks can typically be seen at every industry event that is relative to their industry sector; they’re either flying in or flying out to be with their peers and colleagues to share their knowledge and experience or to simply enjoy a memorable occasion.
This year, the editors of Travel Agent and Luxury Travel Advisor have actually selected five individuals; there is an additional person in our portfolio of leaders in 2008 because in the luxury cruise sector, one rarely hears the name David Morris without a mention of Marilyn Conroy. These two top Silversea Cruises executives are known in the industry as the “dynamic duo.” Together, they have served at several cruise lines and at each have always put the needs of the travel agent sector first. They have always made selling their cruise line an attractive proposition for sellers of travel and they’ve always been at the forefront in developing programs to award the top producers of those lines.
Another top-notch individual we salute this year, in the retail travel agent category, is Roland Largay, chairman and CEO of Largay Travel. What we adore most about Roland is not only his dedication to the luxury travel agency community; it’s also his twinkling smile and his ability to tell a good story. Not to be overlooked, however, are his very high standards in selling luxury travel and the example he has set for the next generation to come.
As for the tour operators sector, Island Destinations is an innovative luxury operator that always puts its travel agent partners at the forefront. Heading this exclusive company is Maurice Bonham-Carter, who is always pushing the envelope when it comes to creative new products for agents to sell. Whether it’s the best room in Dubai or the top villa in the Caribbean, Bonham-Carter is insistent that his company’s product deliver a stellar experience for the client. Moreover, he is equally insistent that his top-producing travel agents are properly rewarded for selling Island Destinations products.
Always the innovator and top deliverer of luxury service, Horst Schulze has had the industry guessing for the past few years as to just what his follow-up to founding The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company would be. We knew he was up to something, and this year luxury travel agents have been rewarded for their patience with the debut of the Capella Hotels and Resorts, with properties in Austria and Germany, and more due to open in 2009 and 2010. Of note is the fact that when Schulze appears to accept this year’s Leader in Luxury award at Luxury Travel Expo in Las Vegas, he’ll simultaneously be opening his new Capella resort in Ixtapa, Mexico. His decision to take time out from this momentous debut to share some quality moments with an audience of travel agents dedicated to selling luxury travel is a clear sign of his sheer commitment to supporting this important distribution channel.
The editorial staff of Travel Agent and Luxury Travel Advisor respectfully salute these industry leaders and applaud their constant efforts to make the act of selling luxury travel not just an art but a necessity. What is the common trait each of these individuals share? They care tremendously about their affluent clientele, but they are passionate about their dedication to the luxury travel agent sector.
Read more about David Morris and Marilyn Conroy
Read more about Roland Largay
Read more about Maurice Bonham-Carter
Read more about Horst Schulze