Robert Merlin isn’t just a top producer with more than $5 million in annual sales last year — he’s also directly responsible for expanding SmartFlyer’s footprint into St. Louis.
Merlin successfully launched SmartFlyer’s St. Louis team and established a satellite office there. Along with his team, he quickly grew to dominate the local market, eventually making St. Louis one of the top three largest producing markets within the SmartFlyer network.
A self-described “lawyer with the travel bug,” Merlin is described by his manager, Erina Pindar, as one of the first success stories on career change into the travel industry. His passion for travel is so palpable that, “he’s been known to wrap up a case and have a judge or the opposite lawyer talk to him about their travel plans,” says Pindar. That passion also came in handy while designing a Moroccan honeymoon for an interior designer. Although it wasn’t a destination the clients were initially excited about, Merlin was certain that they would love it, as it integrated their love of art and design with travel. They took a chance and wound up wowed.
Merlin is on the board of the Center of Contemporary Arts in St. Louis, where he co-chaired CocoCabana, which raised $9.86 million for the organization. He also co-chaired Zoofari, a fundraising event for the St. Louis Zoo in the U.S. He was also nominated for the Virtuoso’s Rising Star award in 2015, and he is a top producer for Classic Vacations and Ritz-Carlton. He also serves on the Baccarat, Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills and Virtuoso Advisory Boards.
Looking ahead, the future looks bright for Merlin — SmartFlyer says that he’s on track to double last year’s $5 million in annual sales for 2017.