New York, NY
Mayla Melo may have joined the travel industry young—at 19, she was the youngest agent at First in Service Travel by 20 years—but over the course of her 12-year career, she has made her mark, first as one of Travel Agent’s 30Under30 in 2010, and then as the head of First in Service Travel’s multimillion-dollar luxury leisure division.
After being named head of the luxury leisure business in 2012, Melo built the brand with a focus on experiential travel.
“Travelers don’t want to take a vacation to just see famous landmarks,” says Fernando Gonzalez, the agency's CEO. “Mayla is applying this trend to building the F1S leisure brand as specialists in custom travel experiences.”
One example? For a honeymoon Melo booked in Thailand, she says, “I was able to arrange the bride’s secret request: to take her and her husband, both of whom were black belts and huge Thai boxing fans, and set them up with private lessons from a famous Thai boxer during the trip.” Through her connections, Melo tracked down Nai, a world champion, in Bangkok, and connected him with her clients. Gonzalez says, “The groom still raves about it.”
Melo is also active in charity with the Patronato Sao Luiz, an orphanage and center for underprivileged kids, which “inspired me as I grew up in Formiga, Brazil.” Melo and her family continue to support the center and visit when they return to Brazil.