Today is the last chance for travel agents to apply to this year’s 30Under30 feature – our nomination form is at www.travelagentcentral.com/30under30.
For the rest of September, we’ll be continuing to take a look back at past winner’s of our 30Under30 as we count down to this year’s feature in our November 5, 2012 issue. Here’s a look at five of our winners from 2010:
Loren Jackson Adams, 27
Destinations Reached Travel Consulting and Services
After studying English and print journalism at Morgan State University, Adams changed course and earned a degree from the Bennett School of Travel in Ellicott, MD. She launched her own company, in the Travel Planners International network.
She is a Certified Travel Associate as well as a Certified Destination Specialist (Mexico and the Caribbean), specializing in selling honeymoons and leisure vacations. All of that networking—both on-and online—has paid off for Adams’ clients such as Aja Jackson, who wrote that Adams “arranged all of the details for our honeymoon so that I would not have to think about them during my wedding planning. She made recommendations for everything from hotel stays to activities to help make our vacation the trip of a lifetime.”
“I’m constantly networking and forwarding weekly travel promotions via my contact list,” says Adams. “I keep things interesting and current through my travel blog, which features information about destinations, new travel technology, news alerts, the latest trends in resortwear and so on.”
Kristen Marie Alexander, 24
Corona Del Mar, CA
Although she is still relatively new to the industry, Alexander has already secured a diverse clientele, including newlyweds, Fortune 500 CEOs and even her roommate. Her travels have taken her across the United States and Alaska and down to St. Thomas, St. Maarten and the Bahamas.
“Kristen is a very valuable and important member of the team,” says David Rubin of DavidTravel. “She has learned very quickly and continues to expand her knowledge on a daily basis. Her product knowledge is excellent and she has excelled at putting together complex, customized FITs. Kristen communicates effectively with clients and demonstrates great patience. She is good at getting to know each client and creating a memorable experience for them.”
Laura Allen, 27
Trips in the Village
With both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in International Studies, Allen is well-suited to tackle the travel industry. She pursued international relations for a while, but that led to her true calling—selling travel. One of her roles is to sell to young clients who are unfamiliar with how an agency works.
“Laura is the brightest light for Trips in the Village,” says Russell Glasheen, owner of Trips in the Village. “She is bringing us into the 21st century with Facebook, a website and upgraded computers and has been able to use her travel knowledge and superior customer service to develop strong client relationships. She is diligent about online training and attending seminars, and shares her knowledge and enthusiasm with the rest of the office. She is well on her way to being a leader in the next generation of travel professionals.”
With no technical experience in the travel industry, getting into the business was a challenge for Allen. But luckily for her, and her clients, she was able to convince employers that she could be an asset and has been able to position herself as the next generation of agents.
Emily Baldwin, 26
Baldwin’s love for the travel industry began when she worked as an executive assistant at an aviation firm, which spawned such an intense fascination with expeditions and excursions that she immediately gained her associates in Travel and Tourism and a bachelors in Science – Hospitality Management.
“My passion for the industry is brought out by my customized itineraries, attention to detail and eagerness to create a lifetime experience,” Baldwin says. “Being a young individual in this industry takes more than having traveled all over the world; it’s about being involved in all aspects such as social media, online product training, networking with clients, and marketing.”
Baldwin recently toured the Caribbean, Riviera Maya and Turks and Caicos, expanding her expertise in honeymoon and destination weddings as well as the offerings of Princess Cruises, Royal Cruise and Sandals.
“Emily brought with her a passion for the industry and the drive to be the best she can be,” says Dee Topor, president of Platinum Travel. “With her certification as a honeymoon and destination wedding specialist and [having] married just last year, she has a true understanding of what it takes to plan the perfect honeymoon. Emily’s sales have more than doubled in her time with Platinum Travel and she has embraced our membership in Virtuoso as a provider of luxury travel.”
Jennifer Leigh Batts, 27
Travel Leaders Raleigh NC
Batts graduated with a degree in Graphics from North Carolina State, and then took a position in a new field that she found intriguing: travel. “In the time that I have been with Travel Leaders, I have learned so much about the world,” she says. “I love being able to share what I know with my clients and watch their excitement grow along with mine...my clients are leisure travelers, who are adventurous. Recently, I was lucky enough to visit the breathtaking country of Ecuador. I still am eager to get to work every morning and often find it difficult to pull myself away in the afternoon.”
Mark Seagle, owner of Travel Leaders branch in Raleigh, says despite Jennifer’s lack of experience, her “strong and sincere desire to get into the business” made her an appealing addition to the team. “In just a short period of time, Jennifer has become proficient in using our GDS system, is a few days away from becoming a Travel Leaders Certified Travel Specialist and has received testimonials about her service and professionalism. Agents like Jennifer are the future of our business.”
In a difficult economy, Batts and the Travel Leaders team have redoubled their efforts. “We have worked hard to stay in touch with our current clients, looked for additional corporate business, and are constantly looking for agencies to merge with or acquire,” she says. “All of these tasks have been made easier with the help of Travel Leaders. They are e-mailing specials to all our clients on a weekly basis; we mail out over 2,000 ‘Post Card’ magazines each quarter, and send targeted direct mail three or four times a month. Travel Leaders has a special task force to help us with adding corporate accounts and for acquiring existing agencies.”