We are sad to report that Donna Flora, the former vice president of travel industry relations for American Express, has passed away.
Flora was a passionate advocate of the travel agent community.
“We are committed to the agency community because our customers are committed to them,” she told Travel Agent when we interviewed her for a cover story for our September 2007 issue. “A great travel agent embraces new technology while offering personalized service,” she said at the time. “They have the ability to anticipate client needs by getting to know their customers and keeping their profiles and preferences for customized service. You must think of the client as a family member, knowing birthdays, anniversaries, food allergies, etc.
“A great travel agent is a great listener, always soliciting feedback from their customers. An agent has to be the customer’s best advocate and always be three steps ahead when anticipating their needs; the customer should always expect their agents to exceed expectations. A great travel agent is also someone who is resourceful; they will not accept a ‘no’ from someone not empowered to give them a ‘yes’ for an answer. Finally, a great travel agent is someone who inspects what they deliver, because so much of what they do relies on a third party via airlines, hotels, tour operators, cruise lines, etc.”
Flora’s passion for the business kept her busy; she was on the road 85 percent of the time, meeting with suppliers, attending trade shows and maintaining a strong presence at industry events.
When she wasn’t traveling, she could be found in her home office in Bucks County, PA. And when she wasn’t working, she could be found most often in her garden and spending as much time as possible with family and friends, she told us in 2007. During this “down” time, she said she was likely reflecting on an ongoing successful career that was well appreciated.
“Through my career at American Express and previous agencies, I have accomplished my travel dream, while at the same time being able to pass on the incredible experience of world travel to so many of my customers. I love my career,” Flora said. “I am truly fortunate.”
Please join us in remembering Donna Flora with any memories you may share of this industry icon. To read the full profile we wrote on Donna Flora in 2007, click here.