ADVISOR SHOUTOUTS

SEPTEMBER 2021

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Margot Kong 

Journeys Unparalleled

Independent affiliate of Travel Experts

San Francisco, CA

What excites you about the travel industry today? 

While progress is slower than I would like, I am excited about the changes in our industry in terms of a greater focus on both diversity and the environment. 

 

Destinations you specialize in: We specialize in luxury family travel across the globe. That said, I did sell China for 13 years, so I would say that I know that destination better than any other. 

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

I love your company's commitment to making a difference in the industry and the world in the areas of eco-friendliness and DEI.

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

So many things! For starters, I was born in South Africa, formerly sold institutional equities, and used to ride a motorcycle.

 

How have you adjusted your business since the pandemic? 

I've recently begun transitioning my business to an annual subscription model. The idea here is that I would like to be paid for the upfront time spent working on clients' trips (and over the past year and a half, canceling trips!). Plus, it's beneficial to the client in a lot of ways. For example it's a great way to get people thinking about travel earlier, rather than booking last minute. Also it helps them map out a longer-term travel plan and forces them to look at travel from a big picture perspective. I'm bringing in the same tools that I used to use in financial services and applying them to travel consultancy. 

What are you most looking forward to this year?  

We are already seeing a massive rebound in travel from our clients and I hope to continue seeing that growth in the months and year(s) to come. I'm also looking forward to having more of the world open up -- Asia especially -- in the coming year. 

 

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Rani Cheema

Cheema's Travel, a Tzell Travel agency

Oakland, CA

What excites you about the travel industry today? 

The kind of travel that my clients want to do. With this pandemic and the lock downs, they're becoming more mindful about travel and its impact on the environment and on communities. I always thought that I was planning travel with integrity, but my clients are are forcing me to really think differently about how I play and travel. 

 

Destinations you specialize in: My speciality is culinary travel. I most obsessed with South Korea, Japan, South Africa, Portugal, and Spain.

 

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

Il Borro is one of my most booked properties and everyone who says there loves it. I recently had the opportunity to do almost all of the things that my clients do, such as horseback riding, enjoying a private cooking class with the executive chef, eating all the food, drinking all the wine, and having a spa treatment. 

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

I've always wanted to be an astronaut. I'm obsessed with the night sky, the universe, and seeing our planet from space. I used to go to space camp! 

 

How have you adjusted your business since the pandemic? 

I took the time to rebrand my business and redesign my website. I now use my newsletter to connect more deeply with my followers and clients. I spent months connecting more deeply with people. My clients and followers have told me they can feel that and this is why they continue to work with me.

What are you most looking forward to this year?  

I cannot wait to finally send my travelers on their trips that have been postponed 3 or 4 times.

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Jonathan Garcia

First In Service Travel

New York, NY

What excites you about the travel industry today? 

It’s exciting the desire to travel is still there and how innovative we can be! We adjust, we adapt despite the hardships we have endured this past year. We are resilient and I am proud to be part of the travel industry today. Cheers to all of us!

 

Destinations you specialize in: 

The US, Mexico, Europe, and the Caribbean

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

Jamaica Inn in Ocho Rios, which is family-owned. My home away from home with beachfront views! Their service was top-notch! Bennett + Mercado’s portfolio is one of the best in the industry. Each product is carefully chosen and unique. B+M are very responsive and always going above + beyond for us and our clients.

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

I enjoy going to concerts, I like to snowboard, and I have a cat even though I am a dog-lover.

 

How have you adjusted your business since the pandemic? 

Before the pandemic, my business was mostly corporate and entertainment. The pandemic hit my business hard and I had to get creative. Since then, I have been selling more leisure travel to my high-end clients. Tailoring to their special requests and expectations.

What are you most looking forward to this year?  

Traveling more, travel shows and connecting with colleagues/clients/vendors in person.