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Amore Travel Designs-Cathy Rowland

Amore Travel Designs-Cathy Rowland

Amore Travel Designs has been in place since the end of 2017.  We are a luxury travel agency that provides full service/white glove concierge to clients.  We assist with planning and designing authentic, off the beaten path travels and immersion into the culture.  We provide full support from transfers, accommodations, experiences and more.  

I like to collaborate with my clients upon onboarding them to glean their travel styles and interests so that I am able to plan the perfect trip for them.  Finding out what makes a vacation special for them and their particular needs is how you create success.  Whether its a must have for a gym or for another having a spa on site.  Some want more outdoor experiences in nature and in only small villages somewhere in Europe.  These is the special sauce that differentiates an OK vacation from a great one.  

Founder’s/Owner’s story and what motivated them to start the business

My name is Cathy Rowland, and I am mother to 3 grown children, wife to a wonderful husband, Gigi to 4 amazing grandchildren, and the head luxury travel designer/owner at Amore Travel Designs.  I have always been an entrepreneur, and this is my third career.  I had previously owned a doll supply company for 17 years prior to the start of Amore Travel Designs.  I have always felt that the best businesses come from your passion and interests.  I needed a new challenge and found my passion of travel was the ticket for my next new business.  After planning and experiencing several wonderful vacations with my family, I knew this was what I was destined for in my next career.  I jumped in with both feet and joined the Travel MBA with my (now) host agency and learned how to be a profitable travel advisor.  I haven’t looked back yet and Amore Travel Designs has now grown to include 2 employees and 5 Independent Contractors working under my brand.  I am looking to continue growing the Amore Travel Designs team in the future.  

The challenges the business/market is facing

Well, there is covid… of course that was an extreme challenge on the business for sure.  Everything shutting down for 2 years was an unprecedented experience, especially as a new agency barely off the ground.  While I had excelled in my first year of actually booking travel, I had the glory of learning how to undo everything I had done for the previous year, while assisting my clients to get their money back or a new vacation rebooked.  This process continued for the better part of two years and was quite a challenge.  Once the world opened up again, there was the continued challenge of restrictions, testing, procedures to enter some countries, while others were still closed.  Clients were still not fully open to travel and visit family, attend funerals and weddings among other things.  While there are a lot less protocols and restrictions now, the new problem that has arisen is staffing. 

With the staffing shortages going on all over the world, we are still experiencing some backlash from covid with flights, tour operators, businesses that didn’t survive the pandemic.  Airlines do not have enough pilots, flight attendants, ground personnel, TSA workers and more.  Because of these shortages, flights are constantly being cancelled, rescheduled, people are sitting in airports with no clue what is going on.  Luggage is constantly being lost due to again, staffing shortages and cancelled flights.  And this is just the airline industry.  Similar problems can be seen in service with hotels and restaurants as there are not enough people to work them especially with the resurgent demand for getting back to travel. 

And to continue with the repercussions from all of this, is the ever-rising prices for travel – from airlines to hotels to food and gas.  This is being felt in all industries as well and is causing challenges for even the moderate budgeted travelers.  

The opportunities the business/market is facing

While covid was certainly an extreme hardship to the business and the travel industry in general, it is now also propelling travel advisors to the top of the client’s minds for their next travels.  People are spending more money for an authentic, luxury experience and they don’t want to figure it out for themselves and have something go awry again.  Clients are seeing the benefits of an experienced, professional travel advisor to organize their trips and special occasions, letting us handle all the details and arrangements.  Clients are also finding that they want to travel more with their friends and family, as they missed out on those opportunities for 2 years during covid. 

With the never-ending flight problems, clients are being to book more frequently their own private charters and flights to have more control over the times and availability.  Of course, this is more of a luxury client, but it relieves a lot of the headaches with the airports and airlines.  They can just drive on the tarmac and take off!  

Most clients are also more likely to book private tours and experiences than in a group setting (unless with their own family and friends).  This also seems to be reflected from the covid restrictions and such. 

Advice to others about business

My advice to others about using a travel advisor would be to respect the experience and patience that it takes to be a service industry person.  We sit on hold for hours and hours, so you don’t have to.  Most all travel advisors charge a planning fee to cover the hours/weeks of travel planning and communication that we do for our clients.  This is just like your accountant and/or lawyer do for their time in preparing your cases.  We want our clients to have the best experience that we can and to take the stress and worry off your plate.  

We have connections with suppliers and operators all over the world and with these connections, we can create the perfect vacation for our clients.  Sometimes with our connections we can get you things you cannot get on your own with perks and amenities.  This is the added value that we bring to the clients.  

My other advice would be if you are interested in being in the industry, there is no better time than now to start.  I open enrollment for new advisors twice a year, so I am happy to have a conversation with anyone interested in the travel advisor realm.  And if you are just needing a travel advisor, you can contact me here and I will be happy to assist with that too.

Ksenia Sobchak, BA (Hons) Fashion Communication: Fashion Journalism, Central Saint Martins Ksenia Sobchak enjoys blogging on fashion, style, lifestyle, love and CBD areas. Prior to becoming a blogger, Ksenia worked for a renowned fashion brand. Ksenia is a contributing author to leading fashion, lifestyle and CBD magazines and blogs. You can bump into Ksenia at her favourite cafe in South Kensington where she has written most blogs. Ksenia is a staunch advocate of CBD and its benefits to people. Ksenia is also on the panel of CBD reviewers at CBD Life Mag and Chill Hempire. Her favourite form of CBD are CBD gummies and CBD tinctures. Ksenia is a regular contributor at leading fashion, lifestyle as well as CBD magazines and blogs.

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