This is what it’s REALLY like to be a luxury travel consultant

Forget old-fashioned travel agents – the new and improved way to travel is to have your holiday designed start to finish by a luxury travel consultancy.

Lara Cruickshank is a Lifestyle Travel Manager at the award-winning luxury travel service Quintessentially Travel, based in London.

Like its ‘members only’ lifestyle sister brand Quintessentially*, QT caters to its clients’ every whim and desire, making for a mindblowingly awesome holiday that most of us could only dream of.

Lara has been with the company for four years and has risen through the ranks to become one of the top sales girls in the biz. Aside from handling travel requests and making the vacation dreams of the jet set come true, she gets to enjoy her fair share of perks as well.

We spoke with Lara about her passion for travel, and the challenges and advantages of her high-flying career.

1. Did you always want to work in travel, or is it something you stumbled upon?

For me, travel has always been a deep rooted passion and quite honestly it is my favourite thing to do! So the travel industry was always a clear career path for me and when I was younger, I used to say that I wanted to be on holiday for my job – I guess I’m almost there!

2. How did you get your job and what exactly does it involve? What did you do before this?

Like many people in the industry, I started my career working in admin for a luxury tour operator before moving into sales. Once I had a strong understanding of sales, I then made the move to Quintessentially Travel as a Lifestyle Travel Executive before becoming a manager.

3. What are some of the perks of the job? 

Undoubtedly the major perk of working as a Lifestyle Travel Manager for a luxury travel company is the opportunity to travel… and travel in style!

Our clients expect us to know every element of every hotel, at every destination. Obviously this tall order is only achievable through visiting and experiencing the destinations and hotels ourselves. We then have the knowledge and first-hand experience to recommend relevant trips for our clients.

When we travel for work, we do have to learn a lot and visit many places but that’s a small order for the amazing trips we get to go on. Other members of the team joke that I have a constant tan as I am regularly away on work trips!

Image via Lara Cruickshank

Image via Lara Cruickshank

4. What are the biggest challenges?

When your company’s tag line is ‘The Answer is Yes. Now what is the question?’ you know the service offering has to be of the highest calibre – and this can be the biggest challenge there is. Ensuring that each and every client is given the best possible service from the moment they enquire, to the moment they return from their trip and everything in between, as well as securing them the best properties at the best possible rates, can certainly prove challenging. Quintessentially Travel’s clients expect more from us than your regular luxury travel agent.

5. Talk us through a typical day – what time do you get up? When do you finish?

There is no such thing as a typical day at Quintessentially Travel! I am constantly on the go sourcing, designing and creating a variety of different travel experiences for clients. I do anything from booking a last minute private jet to Ibiza to securing sold out accommodation in Barbados for New Year and finalising round the world itineraries, to meeting hoteliers and suppliers, as well as clients to discuss their annual travel plans.

6. What’s the best advice you could give to someone who wants to do what you do?

Firstly, I would recommend immersing yourself in the industry. So get out there, travel and read as much as possible to increase your knowledge base.

Secondly, if you really want to become a Travel Specialist, the best way to get into the role is to start at the bottom in an admin or sales support role. This way you will have such a strong foundation and knowledge base that you can then use to work your way up the career ladder.

7. Have you ever had a moment of self-doubt? What happened?

Yes – this job can certainly test you! I had a client once who hadn’t read the travel documentation and details of their trip I sent through. As a result they didn’t have the correct documentation in hand when travelling, resulting in a number of issues when trying to cross borders! I managed to speak with our contacts on the ground who made sure that they were allowed into the country so they could enjoy their holiday.

8. What are your #LifeGoals?

Easy: to have been to every luxury holiday destination in the world! I’m making quite good headway so far….

*Clients do not have to be a member of Quintessentially in order to enjoy the fab holidays organised by QT.

Now what?