When Linda Schuller decided to go back to work in 1978, she
couldn't have predicted that starting a travel agency business would lead her
to the success she has achieved 29 years later. With two young children in
school in the late '70s, Schuller met an outside commission agent who lived in
her home town of
After separating from her business partner in 1982, Schuller
went out on her own and opened Travel in Style in
As for the employees who helped get Travel in Style off the ground, Schuller says many are still with her today. "Aside from taking care of your clients, in this business, when you're the boss, it's all about the personnel and handling your employees. If you can't do that, no one will want to work for you."
It wasn't until Schuller turned 60 and became a grandmother that she contemplated selling the business. "I met Priscilla Alexander and we talked for about a year and a half," she says. "I was reluctant to give up what I had built, but I decided I wanted to work less."
So after selling the business to Protravel in 2001, Schuller retained a contract as managing director. "I don't see myself quitting, because I'm having a good time. I am still selling travel, but I now have more flexibility and freedom."
While Schuller primarily sells upscale travel, one rule of
thumb she has is to never turn business away. "One of the most important
things I've realized is that you never know what the client of today is going
to turn into. Years ago, I had an older lady come into my office in a
housedress wearing little tied shoes with a heel. She wanted to go to
Though Schuller herself primarily sells leisure travel, with
a strong focus on Europe,
Today, Schuller says she looks for employees who are intelligent, detail oriented, computer savvy and speak well on the phone. New employees—who start out as assistants and sell all properties—learn about the hotels and take lessons on the computer. "They don't have to have experience if they want to learn."
Schuller is still traveling the world, whether she's taking
a group of agents to
As for Schuller's favorite travel memories, she recalls a
"beyond memorable" dinner at the Great Wall when she was on the
advisory board of The Luxury Collection. "Traveling with my children has
also been wonderful. I took them to