Author Archives: Stacy Small

There are 13 articles by Stacy Small published on this site.


A few weeks ago, I saw a post on Instagram that said, “Live, Learn and Upgrade.” This particular post hit me on multiple levels as it was a week filled with challenges, both business and personal. As a luxury travel business owner, I’m a nonstop student in ways to successfully manage and learn from mistakes and things that appear to be obstacles. In my personal life, I’ve learned it also makes the most sense to learn from challenges and grow from them rather than take things personally and let them add unnecessary stress to my life.

What do I mean from this and how can you apply this “Live, Learn and Upgrade” philosophy to your own luxury travel career? For starters, surrounding yourself by hard-working, focused, smart, and detail-oriented people is the best way to ensure that you can sleep well at night. If you are dedicated to your clients and pride yourself on triple checking the details of every single booking and not making careless mistakes (names spelled wrong, dates listed incorrectly, or errors on quoted rates) then it just doesn’t work to have someone working for you who is not as focused. Read the rest of this entry »

If you are going to be successful selling luxury travel to high-end clients, you need to know firsthand what you are selling. This has been a cornerstone of my philosophy since launching my business 10 years ago, and came as a natural extension of years spent traversing the world as a travel journalist. I realized early on that I needed to see the places I was writing about in order to do them justice, and the same holds true now when I am editing choices and curating vacation plans for my sophisticated clients.

There is just nothing that can replace firsthand knowledge, especially when you are dealing with so many requests for places and properties around the world. And, while it’s impossible to get everywhere and know everything, it’s never too late to get started on getting out there and visiting as many as you can! Read the rest of this entry »

For as long as I can remember, January 1 has always been my favorite day of the year. I like it even better than my birthday as January 1 is the day we can officially say goodbye to whatever we didn’t like about the previous year, and get going on whatever new goals we have set for ourselves.

In the luxury travel world, I especially like January 1 for the opportunity it gives me to breathe deep after an insanely busy holiday travel season and reset as we look forward to the upcoming trips our clients are asking us to plan for 2016. All of a sudden, Spring Break and summer vacation periods aren’t so far away, and this translates to getting back to what we do best—creative luxury travel planning for fascinating people who desire to experience the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Never Stop Learning

Whether you’ve been in the luxury travel business for months or years, one of the most important lessons to always keep in mind is that there is always more to learn. This thought crossed my mind today while I was sitting with a few of my newer Independent Contractors at the Montage Beverly Hills hotel listening to the Sabre trainer we hired to do a three-day crash course in air and hotel booking.

I learned early on in my luxury travel career that having GDS skills was key to my efficiency as a travel advisor as it allows me to address client requests at any hour; I am able to track and run reports for clients who travel frequently, and the speed with which I can research and book hotels and air is unmatched. In general, it’s just an invaluable tool to take with me on my global travels so that I am never more than a wifi connection away from a flight change or last-minute hotel booking. Read the rest of this entry »

In addition to being a business owner and a luxury travel advisor, many of my friends and followers on social media have come to know me as a self-motivator who often shares daily messages of encouragement. Typically, these posts are along the lines of not being afraid to go after what you really want, dream big, and of course, do bigger. While at times the messages might sound a bit cliché, they are often the extra little push to get me through a current challenge or to have the strength to both deal with a difficult client and complete a punishing spin class in the same hour. I love when I get a message from someone else telling me they “needed that today”, as it’s clear I’m not the only one who needs constant reminders that I really can do whatever I decide to do. Read the rest of this entry »

For the 10 years that I have been a luxury travel planner, customizing vacations for high-end clients to every corner of the globe, I’ve never had the guts to use the word “vacation” in my own “Out of Office” automated email response. As the business owner and Chief Decision Maker, it just didn’t feel right to me that I should take a vacation from vacation planning. Read the rest of this entry »

A few weeks ago, a travel writer called me and, ironically, asked me if I would mind being interviewed about the topic of “how to get quoted in the press”. I thought to myself, “That’s an interesting topic,” and of course, I was happy to spend time answering her questions. After all, she was calling to ask my expert opinion and planned to quote me in her upcoming article. Read the rest of this entry »

A few weeks ago, I was up on stage in Las Vegas, having been invited by Travel Research Online to give the opening presentation to a robust crowd of independent travel advisors at the Home-Based Agent Forum. While much of what I told them is second-nature to me by now (after 10 years as a luxury travel specialist), preparing for my speech was a terrific way to remind myself of key and basic tenets to success in this business. Read the rest of this entry »

Decisions, decisions, decisions. This is what I feel like my life as a luxury travel business owner has been all about lately and is probably something most of us in this industry can relate to. Every day, there is a series of decisions to be made ranging from which hotel should I book the client into for his last-minute business trip to who should I hire as additional support to is it time to fire a particular client to what time should I leave for the airport to catch my 6 a.m. flight? Small decisions, big decisions, it varies everyday, but what stays consistent is that I need to remember to stop and think each decision through (if only momentarily) before making the mistake of not following my gut. Read the rest of this entry »

Luxury Travel: Not a 9-5 Career

It’s no secret that running your own luxury travel business comes with a set of demands that aren’t for anyone who likes to close up shop at 5 pm daily. The nature of this business, along with the expectation for consistent and rapid responses, dictates that it’s pretty challenging to completely turn off the phone and email (despite knowing that doing so is good for your health). As a student in the art of meditation who is constantly striving for balance and better time-management, I am actually the perfect example of a business owner/travel advisor/entrepreneur that struggles at times to get the balance just right. Read the rest of this entry »

A few weeks ago, a potential new client emailed me letting me know he was in the market for a new luxury travel advisor. He spelled out in this initial email what his frustrations were with his current situation, most notably that he was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in travel yet not quite feeling like he was receiving the level of service he had been promised.

Reading through his initial email, I knew that we were definitely going to be a great match. I didn’t know this simply because I specialize in luxury travel or because I am accustomed to dealing with discerning and demanding clients. Rather, it was just crystal clear to me exactly what this type of client is looking for and I know that I have the product knowledge coupled with the high level of contacts worldwide to ensure he and his family are extremely well looked after wherever we book them. Read the rest of this entry »

With 2015 now in full swing, what are you doing to promote yourself and your (hopefully) growing luxury travel business? There is so much more to being a successful luxury travel advisor than many people are aware of (as I continue to learn on a daily basis). Read the rest of this entry »

Sharing What I Know As I Go

Have you set your goals for 2015 yet? Do they include becoming more organized and maybe a little less frazzled this year, as you aim to increase your luxury travel sales? Mine do, as it seems they do every year. In this world of luxury travel, staying organized, focused and efficient, along with being ridiculously detail-oriented, has to stay top priority pretty much all of the time. The start of a new year is a perfect time to create a “Vision Board” or maybe, as I did this year, an ongoing “Vision Journal” that can be started in January and added to throughout the entire year.
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