Top Supplier Sales Reps of 2015

A travel advisor’s job would be even more challenging than it already is without the insight and support of sales representatives from the various industry companies that you use when booking a trip. We asked you, our readers, to pick the ones you feel are the best in the business.

All nominees were written in; all we supplied were the categories. Here, gleaned from the hundreds of responses we received, are your choices for top supplier sales reps of 2015.

Matthew Gouthro
Matthew Gouthro

OCEAN CRUISES

FIRST PLACE

Matthew Gouthro

Norwegian Cruise Line

Business Development Manager

After 21 years in the travel industry, Matthew Gouthro knows seeing is believing. After one home-based Cruise Planners travel partner had an individual corporate traveler potentially interested in an incentive trip, Gouthro personally took the agent and corporate customers on a private tour of Norwegian Pearl’s meeting spaces, lounges and The Haven.

The result? They loved the ship and booked an 80-person group including quite a few Haven staterooms. Best of all, the corporate events at sea were so successful, this corporate client has already booked another incentive cruise on Norwegian. “They say if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life,” Gouthro says, a philosophy he strongly believes in.

He began his industry career with Certified Vacations Group, and joined Norwegian Cruise Line in 2009 as a business development specialist. He was soon recognized as a “Goal Achiever.” He’s worked with agents along the Gulf Coast, Midwest and, for the past three years, the Northeast. Most recently promoted to a BDM position, he now calls on agents within the Cruise Planners/American Express network.

LaDonna Easley Allen
 
LaDonna Easley Allen

SECOND PLACE

LaDonna Easley Allen

Princess Cruises and Cunard Line

Business Development Manager

As a child of the 1970s-1980s, LaDonna Easley Allen grew up on the “Love Boat” and “Indiana Jones.” She attended International Aviation and Travel Academy, graduated as a classically trained archaeologist from the College of William and Mary, and specialized in historical/archaeological tours.

Allen founded the Hampton Roads chapter, Professional Travel Agents of North America, and has worked for a multi-office travel agency in Williamsburg, VA, and Vacation.com. In 2012, she began working for a tour operator specializing in China and Southeast Asia, a good fit as she’d lived in Tokyo for a time. But to Allen: “My dream … what I longed for … was ‘the Love Boat.’”

Today, she’s selling just that as a BDM for Princess and Cunard in Virginia, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania. “Today, you have to be specialized, you have to identify what you love and work with your strengths and you must constantly evolve,” she says. She credits her success to her husband, who for 26 years has worked for the U.S. Navy: “I’m incredibly blessed that my ‘prom date’ is still standing behind me.”

Thierry Vuolo
 
Thierry Vuolo

THIRD PLACE

Thierry Vuolo

Oceania Cruises

Regional Sales Director, Metropolitan New York and New Jersey

After uncovering a great chef in Raleigh, NC, Thierry Vuolo took the lead to Julie Harris, a Largay Travel advisor in NC. The duo put on a cruise night in the chef’s restaurant, took deposits that evening and had “quite a successful Alaska group last June,” says Vuolo, who loves to find pied pipers who can build a successful cruise group and turn those leads over to agents to finalize.

A whirlwind of activity, Vuolo is constantly cultivating relationships, showcasing the product, marketing, training and swiftly answering e-mails and calls from travel advisors to help them close the sale. “I’m one of those sales directors who takes time to go out and find the business,” says Vuolo, a former front-line travel agent.

Vuolo formerly served as a district sales manager for Delta Dream Vacations and others, prior to entering the cruise industry. Over the years, she’s worked for Silversea Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises. But Oceania Cruises, which she joined 11 years ago, is “the brightest star of my career,” says Vuolo.

Bob Tolster
Bob Tolster

SMALLER SHIP CRUISES

FIRST PLACE

Bob Tolster

Silversea Cruises

Area Sales Director

An 11-year cruise industry veteran, Bob Tolster once worked for a large telecommunications company. When that industry slipped into a downturn, he joined Royal Caribbean International, first as a group agent and then as a BDM in the Long Island territory. He joined Silversea, moving into luxury cruising, in 2013.

What endears Tolster to agents? This letter excerpt from an agent who sold a Silversea Expeditions voyage shows why: “If it weren’t for you, I would have probably not closed the sale. You are the first cruise line rep who followed through from start to finish on just one small booking and that means a lot to me. In 28 years of being in the industry, you were the first to do that for me and I greatly appreciate it.”

One challenge is getting agents to sell on value, not price, and “agents new to selling luxury often find the first booking the most challenging,” Tolster acknowledges. “Go the extra mile,” he says. “Assisting my agents in understanding the ‘value proposition’ of my amazing product makes each day in this job a gift that keeps on going.”

Kathie DeVincenzo
Kathie DeVincenzo

RIVER CRUISES

FIRST PLACE

Kathie DeVincenzo

AmaWaterways

Business Development Manager, Mid-Atlantic

Honored multiple times in the past (as a Top Supplier Sales Rep) while sales director with Central Holidays, Kathie DeVincenzo aces the top spot with a different specialty this year — river cruise sales. AmaWaterways was one of the many products she sold during her Central Holidays tenure.

So with burgeoning consumer demand for travel on the world’s rivers and what DeVincenzo learned over the years about AmaWaterways, its products and people, “I wanted to be part of the family,” she says. With a strong travel agent background, DeVincenzo treats travel partners as friends. She strives to create relationships based on “honor, integrity, sincerity and trust.” She empathizes with agencies: “I know and have experienced the daily adversities they face.”

Challenges create opportunities for growth and development, she believes. “I like to think positive, act kindly, bring a warm, friendly smile to everyone and to learn something new every day,” DeVincenzo says. “Adversity shouldn’t define us; how we deal with it builds character.”

Donna Nightingale
Donna Nightingale

SECOND PLACE

Donna Nightingale

Viking River Cruises

Director of Business Development

Onboard with Viking since November 2011, Donna Nightingale has witnessed the river cruise industry’s fast-paced growth first-hand. She’s helped foster that strong growth by educating and working with river selling agents so they understand the revenue potential and the differentiating features of the modern, new Viking Longships.

This year, she’s also helping agents make the transition to selling Viking’s newest venture — its first oceangoing vessel, Viking Star. Nightingale certainly understands the ocean side of the industry, having worked with travel agents between 1992 and 2011 as a business development manager for Norwegian Cruise Line. Prior to that, she was a BDM for Collette Vacation.

According to Michele Saegesser, Viking’s vice president of sales for North America, “she is strongly dedicated and tirelessly focused on her goal of taking exceptional care of her travel agents. Aside from the many years that Donna has been with Viking, she spent almost 20 years at NCL showing the same dedication and attention to detail for her agents.”

TOUR OPERATORS AND WHOLESALERS

Lil Musmanno
 
Lil Musmanno

FIRST PLACE (tie)

Lil Musmanno

Classic Vacations

Business Development Manager for New Jersey and Upstate New York

Lil Musmanno has graced our special issue on three prior occasions. It’s a fitting tribute for a career that has spanned three decades. The 15-year veteran of Classic Vacations has served as an agency owner, business development manager for the Carlson Travel Network and national sales manager for Travel Impressions.

“I’ve been on the other side of the desk and know the struggles agents face. It’s much more complicated than when I was an agent in the 1980s,” she says.

For Musmanno, accessibility is a key to success. Agents must be available to clients around-the-clock these days. She, in turn, is available 24/7 for agents.

“Agents still tell me they didn’t hear back from so-and-so, and that’s one of the reasons they’re booking with me. Customer service, informed responses and a good attitude will never go out of style as far as I’m concerned,” she says.

Musmanno has also learned that a little levity goes a long way.

“It’s sometimes a challenge, but I like to make selling fun,” she says.

During presentations, she shares stories and tips based on her own experiences. Adding some humor creates a relaxed, yet informative atmosphere. It also gives agents a break during a stressful day. “If you’re not having a good time, why listen to me? When I leave a presentation without anyone having a laugh, I know it’s time for me to hang it up,” she says.

Gina West
 
Gina West

Gina West

FIRST PLACE (tie)

Apple Vacations

Regional Sales Manager, Northeast USA

Gina West’s first career as a clinical microbiologist seems like a far cry from the travel business. But it instilled in her a love of teaching, which she credits for her present success. While working as a microbiologist at a teaching hospital, West enrolled in a travel agent training course. A job offer ensued, and she began to segue into the travel business. Upon learning that Apple Vacations had no sales rep in her area, she asked for the job on a lark. She’s now in her 16th year with the company.

“Teaching is my passion. I did it in my first career, and now I teach about travel products,” she says.

For West, there’s nothing as rewarding as instructing new agents about travel products. “They’re not bogged down by the old ways of how travel used to be sold,” she says. New ways of selling travel still bring issues to deal with, though. Namely, connecting and staying in touch with outside agents whose host agencies are out of state. “It isn’t always easy. But I feel like the luckiest person in world. This is a dream job because I get to interact with so many amazing people,” she says.

Ed Jones
 
Ed Jones

Ed Jones

FIRST PLACE (tie)

Europe Express

East Coast Sales Manager

Travel has always been an integral part of Ed Jones’ life. He was born in Peru and grew up in Venezuela, where his mom was a travel agent. His first job out of high school was with American Airlines. After earning a travel and tourism management degree, he worked in sales for both Carnival Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Line. As east coast sales manager for Europe Express since 2014, his love of travel still steers his success.

In fact, it’s enabled him to develop a successful social media strategy.

Jones currently has more than 3,000 agent followers on his Facebook page, and the same number on a private Facebook group. “Social media for me is the best way to stay in touch, answer questions, share stories and develop new leads and business relationships,” he says.

It has also helped him meet his biggest challenge, which is keeping in touch with his territory. Jones constantly updates posts about the Europe Express product, and encourages a free flow of ideas and comments.

“With my social media presence, I can focus on in-person visits and calls. Agents can find out where I am by checking the Facebook page, and they always know how to reach me. Sure, it takes a lot of effort to stay in touch that way. But the feedback from agents makes it worthwhile,” he says.

Darryl Arancio
Darryl Arancio

HOTELS AND RESORTS (NOT ALL-INCLUSIVE)

FIRST PLACE (tie)

Darryl Arancio

Marriott International

Senior Account Executive, Southeast Area Sales

Darryl Arancio is a seasoned industry professional who has been with Marriott since the beginning of the company’s “Multi-Brand Sales” initiative in the early 1990s. He served as a market representative for Atlanta until 2007, and since then has been part of Marriott’s global sales team, presently working with multi-national corporate accounts on Marriott’s southeast region area sales team.

“Hopefully, my passion for Marriott and our brands is perceived in a positive light as I work with my clients,” Arancio tells Travel Agent. “I try my best to develop close relationships with my customers, and most importantly, listen, listen, listen…”

Arancio credits much of his success to taking a “low-stress, low-drama” approach to challenges. “I’ve always found that one can accomplish more with a calm, collected demeanor,” he says.

FIRST PLACE (tie)

Diane Prisco
 
Diane Prisco

Diane Prisco

Marriott International

Senior Account Executive, Leisure - Mid-Atlantic

Since beginning her travel career with Marriott in 1995, Diane Prisco has been a strong advocate for the growing importance of travel in an increasingly time-strapped world.

“Vacations are very important,” says Prisco. “More important than most probably realize — it’s more than a luxury it’s a necessity today. So I keep this in mind and take it very seriously when I receive an e-mail or phone call from a travel agent making a special request on behalf of their clients.”

Prisco started with Marriott in the Somerset, NJ, sales office as an assistant to group sales for the company’s Mexico properties. She was promoted to EBC sales manager in 2001, and then transferred to the travel industry wholesale segment as an account executive managing traditional wholesale accounts in 2003. Prisco transferred to her current position in August of 2007 as senior account executive Leisure Sales for the Mid-Atlantic territory, representing Marriott Resorts in the Caribbean, Hawaii and Mexico.

When addressing a problem, Prisco focuses on creating a feeling of success, even during difficult times.

“What I do now to resolve a challenge is to listen carefully and stay positive,” says Prisco. “I take time to understand the challenge at hand and find possible solutions to propose. Sometimes the offered solutions may not be absolutely satisfying to the travel agent, but because I took the time to listen, kept a positive attitude, most understand that I have done my best to assist.”

FIRST PLACE (tie)

Kristen Sauter-Moore
 
Kristen Sauter-Moore

Kristen Sauter-Moore

Destinations Of Distinctions LLC

President

Before Kristen Sauter-Moore joined the travel industry, she worked for IBM in computer marketing.

“Why not market beautiful destinations around the world?” she asked.

Sauter-Moore joined Destinations of Distinction, a family-run business founded by her mother in 2001, in 2009 as a managing partner. Since then she attributes her success to personal contact with travel agents.

“It’s quick and easy to walk into an agency and hand out brochures with a card attached — but that’s just not the way we operate,” Sauter-Moore says. “We take the time to get to know our agents, form a relationship and show them that we not only care about their business but we care about them individually. We know their family members by name and it’s a great feeling to be welcomed with hugs and kisses into their offices and homes.”

FIRST PLACE (tie)

Elizabeth Viliani
 
Elizabeth Viliani

Elizabeth Viliani

A Member of the Starwood Sales Organization

Account Director, Global Leisure & Luxury Sales

Elizabeth Viliani’s entry into the travel industry was sudden. After what she describes as a “tap on the shoulder” during a flight from Acapulco in the late 1970s, she began working for an Italian hotel representative company in New York called E&M Associates.

From there, Viliani channeled her love of Italy into work for CIGA Hotels as a sales representative in 1980. In 1994, CIGA was acquired by ITT Sheraton, a move that Viliani says exemplifies some of the formidable changes she has navigated in the travel industry.

“While difficult at first, especially since CIGA was such a unique and more personal company, the move to ITT Sheraton provided me with much needed technical training and computer skills, plus they gave me a more global perspective,” Viliani says. “Professionally, the change from the ‘brick and mortar’ travel agencies toward larger agencies and more virtual agents has made developing strong partnerships and relationships a challenge. But finding new ways to partner and interact have made my job so very interesting.”

Through the CIGA acquisition, Viliani was hired as a sales manager for The Luxury Collection. She was promoted to account director, focusing on selling Starwood’s luxury brands to the travel professional community, when Starwood acquired ITT Sheraton in 1998.

ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORTS

FIRST PLACE

Cesar A. Briceno
 
Cesar A. Briceno

Cesar A. Briceno

Karisma Hotels & Resorts

Regional Sales and Marketing Manager

Cesar Briceno arrived in Riviera Maya, Mexico, 15 years ago after graduating with honors from the Hotel School of Venezuela and served several hoteliers and other suppliers before joining the Karisma Hotels & Resorts team four years ago.

“The hospitality industry is a complex world where the support from colleagues, friends and family is essential,” says Briceno. “I have it all and consider myself very lucky. I love what I do.”

For Briceno, the key to a successful business career in the travel industry is to view agents not only as business partners but also as dear friends. He tells Travel Agent that he is extremely honored to be recognized for his hard work and thankful to every agent who voted for him. He attributes his success to his ever-growing relationships and non-stop commitment to his travel agent partners.

“My dedication to this industry has allowed me to advance my career,” says Briceno, “and also has given me the opportunity to create great relationships, especially with travel agents, some of whom I’m lucky to also call friends.”

Gilberto Machain
Gilberto Machain

SECOND PLACE (tie)

Gilberto Machain

Karisma Hotels & Resorts

Regional Sales and Marketing Manager

Throughout Gilberto Machain’s travel industry career, he’s found that if you fall down, get back up.

“I’ve learned that if something goes wrong or things don’t go as I envision [them], I should continue trying,” he says. “Before, I would give up easily and walk away. I’ve learned that there is no success in life without making a mistake.”

Machain started his career as an event planner with eight years of experience managing his own company. In 2007, he joined Lomas Travel as an onsite wedding coordinator for all Karisma Hotels & Resorts properties.

“The key to success is the partnership,” says Machain. “To always listen and understand the needs of the travel agents and always be there to support one another.”

In 2010, he took advantage of an opportunity to join the sales team of Karisma Hotels & Resorts and hasn’t looked back since.

“Without the support of the travel agents, there would be no travel industry,” he says. “They are the ones who have all the experience. It is like going to the doctor. They will have a solution and recommendation for anything you need.”

Carrie Oztas
Carrie Oztas

SECOND PLACE (tie)

Carrie Oztas

Karisma Hotels & Resorts 

Regional Sales and Marketing Manager — Southeast and West USA

United Kingdom native Carrie Oztas found out early on in her career that one of the secrets to success in the travel industry is going with your gut.

“I have learned to trust my instincts,” she says. “If it doesn’t feel right then there is generally an underlying issue. It’s important to follow up and not assume that something has been done.”

Oztas started in the travel industry by working for 20 years with a U.K./Canadian tour operator in destination management. She has also lived and worked in a variety of destinations, including Turkey, Spain and Cuba.

Regarding her success at Karisma, she says: “Relationships with our travel agent partners are at the core of our business at Karisma Hotels & Resorts. It’s important to understand each individual’s situation in order to provide effective support. Not every agency has a website or uses social media, so I can provide the sales tools that best fit their circumstances.”

Mark McDermoth
Mark McDermoth 

INTERNATIONAL TOURIST BOARD

FIRST PLACE (tie)

Mark McDermoth 

Jamaica Tourist Board

Business Development Manager — Midwest USA

It’s not terribly uncommon for a businessman from rural Jamaica to want to give back to his community after years of success, but Mark McDermoth has taken it a step further.

McDermoth, who was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica, has a long-term mission of creating a skill training center across rural Jamaica to “impart life skills to needy Jamaicans,” he says. And the name on the entrance of the building would be that of his late mother, Veronica Morris, who he says taught him to give back to others in need. He also works with charities in Jamaica to empower young women and influence positive change in their lives.

While many believe in thinking outside the box, McDermoth says, “My philosophy has always been ‘get rid of the box,’” attributing his success to “an ability to do things in unconventional ways … with the mantra that anything is possible.”

McDermoth studied hotel/restaurant management at Hocking College in Ohio, where he was president of the International Student Society, and earned a BA in Professional Management at Nova University in Florida.

Regarding this award, he gives much of the credit to his “extremely vital [and] fundamental” relationship with agents. “The retail travel agent is responsible for well over 70 percent of the business booked to Jamaica. One would, therefore, want to cultivate partnerships with these individuals who are influencing travelers and making recommendations to them as to where to go,” he says.

FIRST PLACE (tie)

Marcia P. Sinclair
 
Marcia P. Sinclair

Marcia P. Sinclair 

Jamaica Tourist Board

District Sales Manager — Northeast and Mid-Atlantic USA

Marcia Sinclair’s passion for the travel industry is just as strong as it was when she began her career with the Jamaica Tourist Board in 1986 as assistant to the director of tourism. And that, she says, is what keeps her from ever taking her current job as district sales manager for granted.

“I’m always excited about this job because I love my country,” says the Kingston, Jamaica, native. “So it means a lot to me to know that if I help an agent make sure their client had a great time and wants to go back, then I have had a direct impact on repeat visitors.”

In addition to her supervisory role, Sinclair works closely with retail and wholesale partners, specifically travel agents, tour operators/wholesalers and airlines, to position Brand Jamaica favorably in the marketplace.

“It’s kind of like the saying, ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours,’” she says. “Whenever we go to the agents, educate them on these road shows that we do, show them the product, the numbers always go up. It’s incredible.” And that’s why winning an award voted on by agents means a lot to Sinclair.

“This means I’m doing my job right, I’m doing it correctly,” she says. “It means a lot when someone appreciates what you are doing. It really makes it easy to keep your best foot forward every time.”

Noelani Schilling-Wheeler
Noelani Schilling-Wheeler

DOMESTIC TOURIST BOARD

FIRST PLACE

Noelani Schilling-Wheeler 

Oahu Visitors Bureau

Senior Director of Sales and Marketing

To be a successful sales representative in the tourism industry, Noelani Schilling-Wheeler says you need to act like a sponge and soak up all the information and advice around you.

“To those coming into the industry, I encourage you to be open and to learn from mentors all around you and not just from those above you,” she says. “I took time to listen, to absorb and to respect what these folks had to share and teach me in developing my professional growth. To my colleagues, I encourage you to take notice of those coming into our industry who have a passion for the business and to mentor them. Seeing your team and individuals develop is the best compliment of your expertise and professionalism.”

After studying in Hawaii and then working at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, she eventually started working for the Oahu Visitors Bureau in 1997 and is still responsible for overseeing the marketing and sales direction for the destination. And she has always made sure the travel agent was a close partner.

“The agent is no longer a ‘booker of travel,’” she says. “They are ambassadors, consultants, an extension of the industry’s sales team and public relations agents and communicators to the end-user. At the Oahu Visitors Bureau, they are our partners. They are the human touch, the experts and the sales team that can educate and influence the consumer.”

Mary Lee DeFranco
Mary Lee DeFranco

CONSORTIA

FIRST PLACE

Mary Lee DeFranco


Travelsavers

Business Analyst


As a child, Mary Lee DeFranco was exposed to traveling the world with her family and during her college years, “the travel bug grew even stronger and I had the opportunity to live and study in England and Spain. After I returned from living abroad, I started working in the airline industry and the rest is history,” she says.

During her airline career, DeFranco had the opportunity to manage an air contract at Travelsavers and met the Mazza family. When she learned of an opening there, she contacted Kathryn Mazza. “Two days later, I began working for American Marketing Group, in their retail agency division known as Travelsavers,” DeFramco says. 

“I live by a famous quote from Benjamin Franklin: ‘Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn,’” she says. “This inspires me to provide the best service to my clients that I can.” Thus her success and popularity with travel agents.

Her biggest challenge is that “our industry is constantly changing and we are forever evolving.” This motivates her and, she says, “I get a great sense of accomplishment when I help our members solve a problem or assist with helping them grow their business. I am very fortunate to work with a professional and talented group.”

Dan Povondra
Dan Povondra

TRAVEL INSURANCE

FIRST PLACE

Dan Povondra

Travelex Insurance Services

Director of Sales – Eastern USA

In 2000, Dan Povondra began working at Travelex part-time as an operations specialist. After his 2005 graduation from the University of Nebraska, he was named Travelex’s regional sales manager, and more recently, was promoted to director of sales. “I owe a great deal of my success to our support staff at Travelex — from our inside sales team to our marketing, finance and licensing teams,” he says.

Certainly, a top challenge is keeping up with all the regulations and different licensing requirements in each state. “At Travelex, we do have a licensing and compliance team that not only keeps us up to date on any changes, but [these employees] are also there for our partners to assist them in completing licensing applications and renewals and answering any questions they may have,” he says.

When he heads to the field for discussions with agency partners, he strives to provide a solution for all the partners’ travel protection needs, not just a specific product. In addition, Provondra says it’s critical to “understand that each agency has its own unique demographics and needs.”

SECOND PLACE (tie)

Christine Kilburn
 
Christine Kilburn

Christine Kilburn

Travel Insured International

Senior Account Manager

When the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano in Iceland blew its top, Christine Kilburn was in the middle of the ocean on a cruise. But she answered travel agency partners’ calls for help when she learned their clients were stranded due to volcanic ash. Despite being on vacation, “I was still able to answer the call, and provided peace of mind to my partners,” she says.

Kilburn began her 35-year account management journey while based in South Florida. She’s worked in the medical industry, an executive placement firm and within the telecommunications industry. Coming to Travel Insured nine years ago, she says, “When you love what you do, I believe there is no challenge too great to overcome in order to do what’s right.”

Her goal? She helps agencies insure as many travelers as possible and then strives to be there if something goes wrong. One partner, a bit intimidated by travel insurance, says, “Chris, I’m so scared of not doing the right thing,” but Kilburn proudly reports that that agency is now a top producer.

SECOND PLACE (tie)

Pam Ross
 
Pam Ross

Pam Ross

AIG Travel/Travel Guard

Director of Sales

During college, Pam Ross managed a neurosurgeon’s office, but realizing that “there really is never a happy time in a brain surgeon’s office,” she left for the travel industry and Air California, handling baggage claims, customer relations, reservations and sales. A graduate of California State University of Long Beach, Ross subsequently assumed posts at American Airlines, Hyatt Resorts and Auto Europe.

Travel is really just “one big small family,” Ross believes. She joined Travel Guard in 2002 and is based in Southern California. She loves sharing with agents that travel insurance not only provides peace of mind for clients but is also a terrific revenue stream.

Top challenge? “Changes in the world,” she says, citing such factors as a cyclical economy, catastrophic natural disasters and terrorism. “Traveling freely and safely presents ongoing challenges … and affects each and every one of us in the business of travel,” says Ross. Yet, “every time there is an ‘event,’ due to my longstanding relationships, I am able to provide products and solutions, so agents can provide peace of mind to their clients.”