The first time I met Bill Brown, I knew he was a man with class. Anyone who knows Bill will say he’s well-bred, well-spoken and a charming southern gentleman. But, to be honest, I didn’t feel an affinity for the work Bill was doing with luxury travel. I was a mass market travel agent and group tour operator making my money in volume and increasingly hard work.
I often taught group sales at trade conferences and I would see Bill there. He’d invite me to experience a Platinum Seminars seminar at sea. I didn’t see the point. I was one of five children raised by a widowed mom. Our yearly vacation was a trip to visit my aunt who lived by the sea. She would pick us up because we didn’t even have a car! Even though I was now traveling the world setting up groups, true luxury travel wasn’t something I ever even thought of selling. I was trapped in my childhood travel mode and happy plugging away selling ten people to make the profit I didn’t realize I could make on one luxury client.
I once read that an overweight person who loses a lot of weight still sees a heavy person in the mirror. They have accepted the bigger person for so long, they can’t mentally lose the image. I was that way with travel. Even though I could now afford luxury vacations, and so could some of my groups, I was stuck in the mindset that mass market was my way of life.
Then one day I accepted Bill Brown’s invitation. They say today’s luxury traveler expects surprise and awe. Those words certainly describe what I felt from the moment we were delivered by limo to the luxury ship. We were met shipside with champagne, and once on board, the crew always knew my name. Little delights were everywhere. Most memorable to me was when I discovered at dinner I left my reading glasses in my suite. I was wearing a white beaded dress. The server overheard me saying I couldn’t read the menu. In minutes he appeared with a silver tray holding a pair of white reading glasses. I was sold.
But even better than the service and amenities was Bill’s seminar. Even though I had heard trainers deliver these words of wisdom to agents before, there on the ship surrounded by beautifully appointed rooms, impressive art, fine crystal and linen tablecloths with thread counts I could only imagine, Bill’s words of wisdom hit home. He said, “Don’t sell out of your own checkbook.”
It was then I knew what I had been doing in the lean years, selling out of my own checkbook. Imagine how much faster my business would have grown, how much less work I would have had to do, if only Bill Brown had invited me on that cruise years before. I would have better understood who buys luxury, why they use and even need an agent, and why I didn’t have to work so hard.
After Bill’s seminar, I became so enamored with luxury travel; I began to write about it, speak to agents about it and eventually write the first accredited Platinum Seminars Train the Trainers curriculum then ultimately trained at sea.
Bill Brown graciously invites agents to experience first- hand what luxury travel is.
He has cruised on over 600 luxury ships and his seminars have benefited over 25,000 travel agents. If you are already selling luxury, come on board for a refresher course. If you are an agent selling out of your own checkbook, or your old checkbook, sign up now. You deserve better.