Hi! It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Mary Jo Salas with the Alamo Travel Group and I’m thrilled to introduce myself to a group that know what it’s like to be a travel consultant today.
I came into the industry 3 years ago with an open mind and a part time position; and was very curious about what exactly a travel consultant did. When I began working on itineraries, it was obvious to others that I had apparently been born with the travel bug. My company President noticed my natural love for travel and assisting others in their travel planning and suggested I do this full time. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but I went with my gut and I dove in headfirst. I haven’t looked back since!
I quickly learned that although it can be a lot of fun researching and putting together adventurous and exciting itineraries that make people’s dream trips a reality, it can also be very challenging.
As a younger travel consultant, I realized many things in the industry had changed from when my agency first opened and I wasn’t sure if I made the right choice.
On one particular day, while I was swamped with emails, I opened an email from ASTA discussing their Young Professional Society (YPS). In this group, I noticed there were a lot other travel consultants just like me: new to the industry, eager to learn, and with new, energetic, and exciting ideas to share. It was breath of fresh air!
I specialize in the romance department with destination weddings and honeymoons in Hawaii, Mexico, Caribbean and Latin America. I was recently analyzing last year’s bookings and noticed that my demographic has grown to include family vacations and couples’ getaways.
Alamo Travel Group is a full service agency with government, business and leisure travel divisions. Along with being a travel consultant and booking clients, I handle marketing for our leisure department and I’m able to build great relationships with our vendors and get insight into their views of what the customers in our market truly want.
I’m so lucky to have started with an agency that was a leader in different sectors of the travel industry and to be mentored by someone who taught me what it takes to run a successful agency. This also goes for the amazing people with ASTA and their YPS who have openly shared current ideas and marketing trends, branding, vendor relationships and customer service.
Integrating these ideas, strategies, concepts, and plans in my daily practice allows me to share some awesome success stories and cautionary tales for branding/marketing plans as well as showcasing just how valuable travel consultants are to consumers.
I look forward to 2014 as I am currently working on some new projects that will undoubtedly have some ups and downs but will certainly fill up my Travel Agent Diary.
Thank you for your time and it’s been a pleasure meeting you and I look forward to your feedback!
Mary Jo Salas is a 3-year veteran of the industry working for Alamo Travel Group. Alamo is a full service agency with government, business and leisure travel divisions based in San Antonio, Texas. Mary Jo specializes in honeymoons, family vacations, and couples’ getaways.