Today we’d like to introduce you to Albert Valera.
Albert, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I loved reading your FAQ and learning how your families came to America with nothing but a dream. While I was fortunate to be born and raised in Miami, FL, my grandparents left Cuba with very little and came to America to give my parents a better life. My great uncle was the General Manager of the Fontainebleau hotel back in the 90s but he actually started as a bellman and worked his way up the corporate ladder to one of the most iconic hotels in the world. Inspired by what he accomplished, I went to FIU and studied hotel management and worked my way from a front desk agent to a Director of Sales for a 5-star hotel. Sales and Marketing allowed me to travel the world meeting with clients and building an incredible book of business.
In the fall of 2019, I decided to leave hotels and become a Travel Advisor with SmartFlyer, a powerhouse full-service luxury travel agency headquartered in New York. Right off the bat, I was flooded with inquires and bookings from past clients, family, and friends and then COVID-19 hit. I decided to start a travel blog called “Everything Travel Guy” dedicated to sharing my personal experiences, hotel reviews, exclusive promotions, and favorite spots along my journey. I also started to branch out to find ways to help the hospitality industry by creating custom masks with a local designer in Miami that are high quality and fully branded for upscale resorts so that their employees would feel safe and special returning to work.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Being a Travel Advisor is not as easy as it looks. If you are someone like me that is a perfectionist, I am constantly trying to make sure every client trip is elevated in the highest form possible. Advisors work night and day, I take calls at 10 pm and 7 am when some of my executive clients only have time to talk. When COVID-19 hit, many of my major bookings were canceled which meant, hours, days, and weeks putting together every detail of a trip were wiped out in a matter of minutes as well as the income expected. You also realize that you have some amazing clients who understand all that you do and the perks and value you bring to the table and those that will just always second guess you and find ways to find something to pick on. At the end of the day, it’s a service-driven business and you just need to remember that you aren’t saving lives, rather creating memories, it’s okay to let go of those that just aren’t healthy for you.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
As a travel advisor, I spend hours researching destinations, I also personally travel extensively to tour hotels, cruises, restaurants, and private tours to ensure they are up to the level I would expect for a client. My role is to do all the leg work for a client, such as organize their air (commercial or private jets), transfers, hotel rooms, dinner reservations, and create a formal itinerary. Trips I plan can be as simple as a beach weekend in Miami, a Broadway trip to New York, a week in Hawaii or a month in Europe hitting different destinations. I work with a variety of clients.
However, as a Virtuoso Advisor, my specialty is the luxury market where I can give my clients special perks like 4th night free promotions, room upgrades, breakfast included, resort credits, and even a personal welcome from the General Manager curbside. What sets me apart from other advisors is the fact that my social channels (Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Twitter) are always up to date with the latest hotel reviews, special promotions, and beautiful videos and photography. I am also very proactive in reaching out to sales reps to get the latest scoop before it goes out to the masses so that my clients always have first dibs. I am also selective on the number of clients I take on as I believe the asset of having a travel advisor is that you don’t have to wait on hold for a call center – 99% of the time, I can pick up a call within three rings.
What were you like growing up?
So funny, a week ago someone sent me a picture from my middle school yearbook and I was voted most friendliest. I’m a libra, so naturally, I am balanced and always pretty calm in life, I am panic on the inside but I never really let it show. Growing up, I did suffer from anxiety and remembered having major panic attacks. If you would of told me in high school that I would be traveling the world and getting on camera to do hotel reviews, I would have said you are crazy. I think in life you need to push yourself and sometimes be a little uncomfortable to grow. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories, which benefited me as most of my clients are all referrals.
- I don’t charge for a standard hotel booking, especially if the client has an idea of where they are going. If a client needs full service (air, restaurant reservations, tours, car transfers, etc) my fees start at $150 per person depending on the scope of the trip.
- Website: www.everythingtravelguy.com
- Phone: 3059268739
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/everythingtravelguy
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/everythingtravelguy
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/everythingtrvl
- Other: www.smartflyer.com