Travel industry sales reps are perpetually balanced on both sides of the business. They must know every detail about their company, and know exactly what travelers need so that an agent can properly sell that resort/hotel/cruise/tour to their clients. They are a vital, and often underappreciated, part of the industry, keeping both their companies and their agents happy and in business.
This past spring we ran a survey on TravelAgentCentral.com, asking our readers to nominate their picks for the best supplier sales reps in individual sectors of the travel business. Nearly 800 votes were tallied and, after sorting the ballots and crunching the numbers, we're pleased to bring you the results. Join us in congratulating the top supplier sales reps for Hotels & Resorts.
Read yesterday's report on the top supplier sales reps for All-Inclusives. Check back tomorrow to see who the top supplier sales reps are for Ocean Cruising. Read the entire report on all of the winners in our September 1 cover story next week.
Director of Travel Industry Sales
THE RITZ-CARLTON HOTEL CO., LLC
#1 Pauletta Kaufman has been with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company since 2001. After graduating from Eastern Illinois University with a BA in Communications, Kaufman began her career in marketing and advertising with Crystal Cruises. Just prior to joining Ritz-Carlton, she held sales positions within the cruise industry and with The St. Regis Hotel, Los Angeles. In her current role, she is responsible for travel industry and agency sales in the western region. Among her other achievements, she is a Pinnacle Member of the Chairman’s Circle, President’s Club Achiever, Charity Liaison for Prost Society’s Los Angeles Chapter, Los Angeles Triathlon Club Member and Certified Scuba Diver.
“Pauletta is creative in her methods of selling and getting us to sell her hotels,” one agent said, describing her as “not only fun, but a wealth of help and support.”
EXECUTIVE TRAVEL EXPERIENCES
#2 Since 2003, Tom LaVaccare has represented such properties as the Greenbrier, Blackberry Farm, The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, Watercolor Inn, Colonial Williamsburg, The Broadmoor and Barnsley Gardens as a sales trainer with his company, Exclusive Travel Experiences. He educates, equips and assists travel professionals in booking properties for their clients, rather than following a traditional sales role. After years in executive sales and training positions at the luxury resort level, he opened ETE to serve the leisure travel community as a liaison for his resorts, and has counseled more than 7,800 agents.
Business Development Manager— Rhode Island, Connecticut & Southeastern Massachusetts
#3 Joe Pereira, also named winner in the All-Inclusives category, joined Sandals in 2005. “The best part of my job is working with the agencies in my territory to increase their sales, while continuing to see the brand grow,” he says. Agents are effusive in their praise: “he constantly stops in the agency and phones with updates on his products”; “Joe is a great rep, supports his agents, is knowledgeable and has great ideas to help agents grow their business”; “even on days off and vacation he is thinking of how he can help his travel agent accounts.”
Pereira started his travel career as part-time summer travel agent with Colonial Travel while attending college in Newport, RI. He worked with US Airways for 18 years, and was a manager from 1995 to April 2002.
Business Development Manager— Northeast
#4 Michael Tighe has been the Business Development Manager at Couples Resorts for the Northeast for seven years. He is based in New York City.
Tighe does not feel that this recognition is his alone, but rather a team effort. “The staff at all four Couples Resorts in Jamaica, on the phone and on the road, all strive and continue to surpass the highest levels of service, responsiveness and friendliness to all our guests and to all our travel agent professionals,” he says. Agents selecting Tighe praised his “positive attitude.”
Evelyn League-St. Germain
Owner and President
#5 Evelyn League-St. Germain is owner and president of LMG, Inc., which she established in 1996 to serve a niche in the marketplace providing comprehensive representation for retail and group markets and project management specializing in sales, marketing/e-commerce and public relations for tourism-related entities. She is a member of SITE, MPI, L.A. PROST and South Bay Women In Travel.
She enjoys spending time with her husband and sons, playing tennis and relaxing at any of the wonderful properties in the portfolio.