Sam Yaffe, the Chief Executive Officer of Crafty Getaways, a Miller Place, New York-based travel advisory firm, shares his inspiring journey to becoming a successful travel advisor.
Getting Started in the World of Travel
Yaffe’s fascination with the travel industry ignited in 1998 when he began his career in hospitality. After seven years at The Plaza Hotel in various front office roles, he transitioned to the Westin Times Square’s business traveler department. However, it was his curiosity about the world beyond New York that fueled his passion for travel planning. Yaffe’s exposure to diverse stories and cultures motivated him to explore the world and create remarkable travel experiences for others.
Building a Thriving Business
Yaffe’s journey to success was marked by his relentless pursuit of unique travel experiences. He started by curating distinctive adventures for friends and family, gradually extending his services to strangers, all based on his guiding motto: “Do something different.” His business grew organically through word-of-mouth recommendations, as he consistently delivered unforgettable travel experiences. Yaffe’s proactive approach led him to forge valuable partnerships with travel providers and continuously seek fresh opportunities to create cherished memories for his clients.
Key Characteristics of a Successful Advisor
Yaffe attributes his success to his genuine passion for travel and his ability to connect with his clients’ desires. By staying updated on the latest travel trends and technological advancements, he ensures his clients receive the most relevant information, guaranteeing seamless and unforgettable journeys. His unwavering commitment to top-notch customer service builds strong client relationships, with his attentiveness, quick responses, and problem-solving skills providing clients with invaluable support.
Facing Challenges and Celebrating Accomplishments
Yaffe acknowledges the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing the industry’s united effort in overcoming cancellations, uncertainties, and restrictions. He appreciates the industry’s collaborative spirit, emphasizing that there’s no competition but rather a collective desire to enhance the field.
Yaffe’s proudest achievements include launching his business during the pandemic’s height in 2020, which has since grown over 100%. Additionally, he has cultivated significant relationships and partnerships within the music industry, with plans to manage tours for renowned artists in 2024, offering comprehensive travel and production services.
Valuable Tips for Aspiring Travel Advisors
Yaffe’s success offers valuable lessons for newcomers to the industry:
- Find Your Niche: Specialize in an area of travel that aligns with your passion or expertise to become an expert in that field.
- Build a Network: Establish connections with airlines, hotels, and tour operators to access better deals and offers for your clients.
- Stay Tech-Savvy: Keep up with travel-related technology and platforms to streamline your business and reach a broader audience.
- Invest in Education: Attend industry events and workshops to stay updated with the latest trends and developments in the ever-changing travel industry.
- Exceptional Customer Service: Providing attentive and responsive service, and going the extra mile, fosters trust and loyalty among clients.
- Showcase Expertise: Demonstrate your knowledge by creating engaging content through blogs, social media, and sharing personal travel experiences.
- Stay Organized: Use tools such as calendars and task lists to manage the multitude of details involved in travel planning.
- Personalization is Key: Tailor your recommendations to meet each client’s specific interests, budgets, and travel goals.
- Persistence Pays Off: Success in the travel industry requires consistent effort and dedication, even during challenging times.
- Seek Feedback: Collect feedback and reviews from clients to refine your services and attract potential clients through positive testimonials.
Sam Yaffe’s story is a testament to the enduring rewards of passion, perseverance, and personalized service in the travel advisory industry.