ADVISOR SHOUTOUTS

JULY 2021

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Joni Wu

LUXE Travel

A FROSCH Company

Irvine, CA

What excites you about the travel industry today? 

The resurgence of travel and the travel advisor's role in it post-pandemic. We've all learned so much through this, coming back stronger as individuals and as an industry, and clients understanding our value more so than ever. 

 

Destinations you specialize in: Mexico, Hawaii, but all destinations globally (heavily in South Pacific, C. America, Europe, Africa, Asia)

 

Highlight a Bennett + Mercado Hospitality hotel or destination, or share why you enjoy working with our team:

The team is the real deal - building genuine relationships with advisors to organically connect their portfolio of luxury hotels and DMCs.

What is something that your peers may not know about you?  

I love boundary pushing adventure, thrill-seeking, exploring unknowns.

 

How have you adjusted your business since the pandemic? 

I started leading scuba diving/off-the-beaten path trips in Mexico during the pandemic and found a real love for both. While many destinations were closed to the US, I was able to send clients to safely explore Mexico deeper than before.

What are you most looking forward to this year?  

The world re-opening for travel and all of us getting back out there. 

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Janelle Ruhumuliza 

Lilacs & Chai

affiliate of Embark Beyond 

San Diego, CA 

What excites you about the travel industry today? 

The people are what makes this the best industry in the world!  I love getting to work with passionate hospitality professionals who are equally committed and excited to provide amazing memories for mutual clients!  

 

Destinations you specialize in: Mexico, Rwanda and Argentina 

Highlight a Bennett + Mercado Hospitality hotel or destination, or share why you enjoy working with our team:

I love Rancho Valencia!  It really is such a special property with the gorgeous casitas, epic spa, orange orchards and endless tequila!  Truly such a gem!  

What is something that your peers may not know about you?  

 I spent a year in Argentina and learned to speak Spanish fluently.

 

How have you adjusted your business since the pandemic? 

I’ve definitely leveled up my business during the pandemic by focusing on refined branding and education.  I secured my CTA certification from the Travel Institute, attended lots of webinars and virtual travel shows.  I also joined EMBARK Beyond where I’ve been truly inspired by my colleagues as we build back better from the pandemic.

What are you most looking forward to this year?  

I’m so excited to see people traveling again!  Since getting my vaccine I’ve traveled to Costa Rica, Charleston and Rwanda.  It feels great to support the communities we explore and get people back to work!  Grateful for life and this beautiful career/industry. 

 

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Desiree Overhage 

Inner Circle Travel

 affiliated with Protravel 

Dana Point, CA

What excites you about the travel industry today? 

That travel is back! Our clients are ready to get out there and travel again and create some amazing memories. It is great to be part of the excitement of taking that first overseas trip after such a long time.

 

Destinations you specialize in: Greece, Spain, France, SE Asia, Japan

 

Highlight a Bennett + Mercado Hospitality hotel or destination, or share why you enjoy working with our team:

I love working with Bennett + Mercado, as they are so helpful and responsive. I would love to highlight my experience with Art of Travel Japan. Together with Kyle, we created a fantastic 21-day Japan itinerary that was a perfect balance of tradition, adventure, fun activities and off the beaten path experiences. No question was left unanswered, and I appreciated the quick responses and turnaround time of the itinerary.

What is something that your peers may not know about you?  

My peers may not know, that besides travel being my number one passion in life, I also have a tremendous passion for cooking and baking. I love to create! Whether it is cheerful succulent cupcakes or traditional ethnic recipes like beef rendang and Okonomiyaki - I enjoy the challenge and it feels very meditative to me (even though I can get quite intense in the kitchen 😊) What I love about this experience, is seeing the end result and have other people taste and enjoy it. That brings me so much joy. Oh, and I play the violin since I was 11 years old. 

 

How have you adjusted your business since the pandemic? 

My specialty was Asia, however considering the continuous shift in travel restrictions, I had to adjust and learn about new destinations that were not my specialty. It’s been such a great opportunity to learn about these amazing places and hear clients feedback on how much they enjoyed exploring places that were near but new to them..

What are you most looking forward to this year?  

Seeing my clients travel again and of course traveling myself!

 

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Patricia Serrano

Myght Travel Network

Travel Leaders

New York, NY

What excites you about the travel industry today? 

2020 & 2021 has been tough for our industry yet I am excited about how my incredibly resilient colleagues have reinvented themselves. I know we are going bounce back stronger than ever and implement all the lessons we learned about financial, environmental and cultural sustainability in our industry! Because, you know, we are all rockstar entrepreneurs!  

 

Destinations you specialize in: I specialize in sustainable travel & off-the-beaten-path adventures for couples and the whole family. Destinations that I most often plan travel to are: Thailand, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Belize, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Slovenia, East Africa (Kenya/Tanzania), South Africa, North Africa (Morocco/Tunisia), West Africa (Senegal), India, Nepal as well as others. 

 

Highlight a Bennett + Mercado Hospitality hotel or destination, or share why you enjoy working with our team:

I was introduced to the beautiful & sustainable country of Belize by Bennett + Mercado and loved every minute of my time there! The eco-properties Bennett + Mercado rep there (Turtle Inn & Blancaneaux Lodge) are top-notch, full of character and totally unique, just like their hospitality.

What is something that your peers may not know about you?  

I have an MFA in Screenwriting from NYU's Tisch School. I wrote 3 new screenplays as well as polished old ones over the course of the pandemic. One of my screenplays is an Official Selection at the New Hope Film Festival 2021, another one was a Second Rounder at the Austin Film Festival 2020 and another one was a Finalist at the Big Apple Film Festival 2021!

How have you adjusted your business since the pandemic? 

Even before the pandemic, I was focused on sustainable travel where we give back to the local communities and I'm never going to stop doing that. I'm also looking forward to incorporating wellness, spirituality, and environmentalism into my business by not only introducing sustainable destinations but also crafting itineraries where travelers can reconnect with nature, rejuvenate their souls, and elevate their minds. After the year we've had, we definitely need it!

What are you most looking forward to this year?  

Other than making sure my travelers get traveling this year, I am looking forward to more family trips! I have always traveled with my mother but I am looking forward to more trips with my father and my sisters and my uncles and cousins. I love beautiful places around the world and I believe they are made even more meaningful when you can share it with the ones you love.