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A passion project in retirement that turned into a thriving business: Two reasons why and the how: First, a little background: After twenty years of trading risk arbitrage and equity derivatives in downtown manhattan, the time had come for chapter two, or no chapter at all; the latter option was not appealing. My dad said, "what about being a travel advisor? You love to travel, have a great client list and have been to +60 countries. We use an advisor and it makes all the difference in the world?" I love the idea, but where do you begin? With Wall Street clientele, the appeal of Virtuoso as the luxury leader in travel helped me narrow my search for a host agency on this very site. The other requirement was a real education; only GTN had both. The year-long program was vital to my success. One could launch without the education on the back of my extensive travel and business experience, but aren't your odds of success drastically higher if you are a true expert? Doesn't that take immersion and mentorship? Would I have done more damage to my budding travel reputation with the finance clients I hoped to convert to travel clients had I not? Would I get more than one chance from those clients? Fast forward to December 2021, I am in GTN's top producers club (top 30) in my first full year of business! I am invited to the Virtuoso ultraluxe community, attended Belmond's signature Bellini event for 10 USA advisors in Sicily and was on a top producer retreat with GTN. Without education, it would not have unfolded this way and certainly not this quickly. The second reason is: In real estate, the most valuable metric is location, location, location, but at a host agency, it is culture, culture, culture. The collaboration and support amongst advisors in our community is the silver bullet and goes hand in hand with the educational foundation of GTN. Imagine how much the collective mindshare benefits our clients. I was not expecting instant responses to questions or requests for advice yet opening up the browser to 7 responses in thirty minutes is common. It's another level of vetting and advocacy, but it only happens if the culture is there. We are not competing like local real estate agents who might compete for a listing in town. Our clients are worldwide, an enviable difference, and it means we are not competing so let's help each other win. We share tips, insights and experiences on our internal system in discussion groups that pale in comparison to snarky online forums. We travel together, 14 GTN advisors and I are just back from 12 days in Tanzania, and as a result, we grow together. It's made all the difference in professional growth inspired by culture and education. What more can you ask for?
on Gifted Travel Network
I have joined Fora just recently and I already love it. Fora has so many resources available at our disposal and a very helpful and welcoming team. I am excited to work alongside these wonderful people and this amazing company. The Fora team knows the business and I am so happy to use my passion for travel to start a new chapter.
on Fora Travel
Avoya does an excellent job on educational training opportunities, support request responses, Accounting backup/tracking process (to include efficient processing of negotiated vendor receivables allowing more timely payables to IAs), the unique Agent Power lead program, customer record system and marketing support that Avoya provides for both the Agent’s personal and Avoya’s lead-generated owned clients. I value highly the respect that Avoya has garnered with suppliers, supported by their committed efforts to grow their business. The Business Owners of Avoya Travel set and maintain high standards and continue to achieve growth and respect in the Leisure Travel Industry. The Avoya Travel Owners and Staff form a great goal-oriented Team! I am proud to be an Avoya Travel Independent Affiliated Agent
on Avoya Travel

Host Agency Reviews is an independent website connecting travel agents to industry resources. We connect advisors to host agencies, franchises, consortia, and industry events, while providing stellar resources through our blog and podcast. Founded by Steph Lee, HAR is the largest B2B travel industry directory on the web. Oh, and we like to have fun. Lots of fun.

Hi, I’m Steph! I own the site. :)

I’m passionately curious, always up for something new! I love to travel, read/write, and meet new people. I have a Collie mix named Rigel and an Aussie called Fennec that keep me company!

I grew up in the travel industry, my parents’ travel agency was in the basement. Later on, I built and worked at a host agency for years. Sometimes I get so excited about things, I think I leave a trail of rainbows in my footprints! :)