As Travel Agent counts down to the unveiling of our latest 30Under30 award winners, we chat with Myste Wylde of Protravel International about how last year’s honor shaped her career.
Here’s what she had to say about winning and other fun travel topics.
What was your reaction to winning the 30under30 award? How did it help your career?
Being recognized as one of Travel Agent magazine's top 30Under30 advisors in the country is a very special honor. I was, and remain, incredibly grateful for the opportunity to stand for a such a wonderfully diverse and dynamic industry, particularly as a member of the ‘next’ generation.
As a direct result of my 30Under30 ranking I was invited to speak on a luxury travel panel at Travel Industry Exchange that winter and traveled to Grand Cayman for an advisory board meeting with their department of tourism in early 2017. Since then, I’ve also been recognized as SoCal ASTA’s "Millennial of the Year."
What the newsiest piece of information you can share?
With the world as our subject, we never stop learning. Our industry is constantly evolving on all fronts – hotel development, technology, air travel, you name it. One of the most exciting educational opportunities that I’ve had during this time is the development of a platform called Travel Industry Resource (www.travelindustryresource.com).
I designed TIR as a way to streamline our event, marketing, and educational efforts to make them more efficient – and effective. In the process, I’ve learned a great deal about what suppliers and advisors are looking for in order to help them do what they do better.
The site specifically addresses the need for a general event calendar to eliminate the ongoing problem of multiple supplier events scheduled for the same date, maximizing exposure and engagement. It also allows suppliers to post their brochures, promotions, webinars and fam opportunities for the use of the agency community, beginning with the Los Angeles and New York markets.
What’s the biggest piece of advice you would give someone looking to be a travel agent or simply looking to get into the travel industry in general?
Have a long term game plan. The travel industry, specifically on the agency side, can be difficult to break into and sustain without commitment to an actionable outline of how to build your business. In many cases, the opportunity is that of an independent contractor, which means, ultimately, that it’s up to you to establish your own book of clientele.
Companies like Protravel are wonderful with providing support through training, contacts, and even leads, but to forging a successful path requires an entrepreneurial spirit, self-motivation and often an understanding of what niche to best serve with your particular set of interests and skills.
What’s the most outlandish request you were able to meet for a client?
I recently had to put together a two-week trip to Amsterdam, Prague, Vienna, and Budapest for some high-end clients with the best hotels, private air, Michelin-starred restaurant reservations in each city and they would only travel by stretch limousine any distance taking two hours or more.
As you may or may not be aware, the stretch limo is predominately a staple in American society. In Europe the streets are often too narrow for these vehicles and since there is not much demand, tracking them down proved enormously difficult. I called 11 different companies and no one could help me. Luckily, the concierge was able to step in and supply local providers, but it was no easy feat.
What are some of the most unusual/silly questions you’ve gotten as an agent?
"Travel agents are still in business?" I think that one is my favorite and, to be honest, I had the same question just a few years ago. I had no idea that the travel industry was so large, complex, powerful and glamorous. The travel agent has evolved into the travel advisor – tech savvy, knowledgeable and incredibly well traveled.