There are times in your business career when you meet someone and intuitively know you found your kindred spirit. That occurred for me during a Wanderlux Collection happy hour in February. Who was that person? None other than Oliver Banham owner of The Business-Travel located in Los Angeles, California. Oliver thanks for agreeing to be our #GuestWanderer for the month of May!
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WLC: Why did you become a luxury travel advisor?
Oliver: I have worked in many avenues of the travel advisor role – from front line retail travel agent, to corporate travel manager, to entertainment travel specialist – all of which had the element of luxury travel sprinkled in. I am pleased to be able to offer our current clients all those skills rolled up into one neat service offering. We pride ourselves in partnership, product knowledge and making well informed, previously experienced offerings. I find building relationships with clients and vendors alike a real pleasure and take great pride in grooming those relationships accordingly!
WLC: If you could go back in time and give yourself advice when beginning your travel advisor career, what would that advice be?
Oliver: Do not over think it! I think we put ourselves under so much pressure, you have to understand “no one expects you to know everything and have been everywhere.” It is so important to rely on the industry peers for advice and recommendations, and not be shy about saying you are going to research personal recommendations from your team/peers/friends in the industry!
WLC: What advice do you have for new travel advisors?
Oliver: Have a plan! So many people come into this business and just treat it like a hobby. Consider yourself as a business from day one, set targets, set goals….and live and die by the business plan! There is nothing more rewarding than seeing you hit your goals and know you are on track to succeed! How are you supposed to understand where you are going, if you do not know where you’ve been?
WLC: What trends do you see in the upcoming year?
Oliver: For the Anti-Vax’ers to finally go back under the rock they emerged from. I jest - wait, do I?
WLC: What is your social media presence?
Oliver: Having had the Covid-19 effect on my business and clientele, I am trying to do a better job of refining my IG Social Media Presence. Is it where it needs to be? NO! Is it taking steps in the right direction to resemble something I am prouder of – absolutely! It is a journey, and I think your social media presence is an evolving task we can all do better at! You can be a professional, but the goal posts continue to move!
WLC: What is your favorite 5-star destination?
Oliver: MALDIVES MALDIVES MALDIVES. Having largely considered the Maldives a “once in a lifetime” destination (and not just due to price, but mainly due to the sheer distance from Los Angeles), I was so impressed by the unparalleled levels of customer service, food & beverage and hospitality; that it’s gone from being the other side of the world, to the other side of the coin. You simply cannot compete with the luxury of the Maldives when you travel to other tropical destinations within a 6-12 hour flying time.
WLC: What is the wildest thing you have experienced while traveling?
Oliver: The Wildest, literally – was a pack of wild dogs in Botswana stumble across Bambi while they were heading home for the night and Bambi was no more. I have NEVER experienced anything so wild: the bone crunching, the devouring, and the pure shock horror from the sights and sounds. While I know it is the circle of life, I am not sure anything prepares you for the emotion of a kill. I am just glad I don’t live on the savannah’s (although after COVID-19, it might be my best option!) Where every day could be your last… you better live you little life Bambi! R.I.P!
Sage business advice for new advisors. Oliver thank you for being the May #GuestWanderer. Better days are ahead for the luxury travel industry!