We had the good fortune of connecting with Shelly Whitley and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shelly, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Really the thought of starting my own business was very scary and just the whole part of not knowing where to start. So when travel agent came up I was like wow never thought of that. I had never personally knew a travel agent or used their services. I had to do some research once my mind was made up that I had to get out of the work I was doing which at one point it was three jobs I was working. I don’t know how I maintained that I couldn’t tell if I was coming or going. I just made it to a point where I felt there had to be something better for me to do. I had witnessed discrimination, bullying and so many other things that was not right working with my last employer and I was just so stressed and done so I had to find a better way. I began to research how to become a travel agent because once again I did not know where to start then I realized the best way to get in the business and how to get started quickly. Since I was still committed to two jobs at the beginning I treated my business like a hobby.

I couldn’t do that too long because a yr after becoming an agent my mind was already focused on quitting both jobs. So I started networking and sharing it with everyone and initially people watch you to see if you’re serious but I was so serious because just the travel perks alone was enough for me even if I didn’t have one client. I started to do trainings and became certified for different brands that I would present and sell to my clients. I was then able to be in a position to quit my drive and I’ve been able to travel and get hands on in destination experiences doing the whole pandemic I took full advantage of the amazing flight prices combined with my perks and discounts as an agent.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My work as a travel agent brings so much joy to me I’m constantly learning and perfecting what I do and what I bring to the table. People questions are usually why do they need a travel agent. My response to that is won’t it be great to have someone who is trained, certified and has destination insight and knowledge to help make your vacation planning super easy because we work out all the details and give you everything you need to just pack n go so you can just enjoy your trip. I really have love for what I do and so much patience and understanding.

I’ve had clients who I had to walk them through their whole flight process by just going through the details step by step with them letting them know exactly what to do to go through the airport and get on their plane because they had never flew before or it had been a really long time, Also with the pandemic there is so many constant changes going on in the travel world so I have to keep my clients updated and let them know what will work best for them. I have to get to know my clients so I can know what their expectations are and likes and dislikes so I can give the best options when I quote their trips. It’s definitely been some challenges along the way but it just made me push harder so each year I set realistic growth goals for myself and my highlight of 2021 was this past July I locked in a group of about 50 people when my goal was about 40 and we all went to an amazing all-inclusive adult only resort in Los Cabos. It was a huge challenge because it was a lot to hold so many people to a travel commitment while in a pandemic. I learned so much along the way since it was my first huge group. It was great that I was able to be apart of the group and actually in the destination with them to experience how things were operating. Now moving forward I have way more confidence to take on the challenges of a group booking. I have big groups planned and in the making with wrapping up final details for 2022 to places like Dubai, Africa and Greece.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Having a friend visit I would definitely do like a staycation type of situation. I would have us setup to stay at a nice hotel most likely right downtown at the Marriott Marquis. I love the lazy River pool shaped like the state of Texas. We would first take full advantage of all that hotel has to offer and hang at the pool then eat and drink at the restaurant right on site. Day 2 we would do a picnic at Discovery Green. Day 3 we would check out the Galleria and water wall then end the day at Taste Bar + Kitchen where the drinks and food is so delicious.

Day 4 we would do some bar hopping in the Heights. Day 5 we will check out a movie at the Rooftop Cinema Club Uptown on Post Oak. Day 6 we would go out and support some small business owners at a couple of the local pop up shops which I absolutely love to see what other small business owners are selling or offering at the local spot where they are set up.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We’ll definitely my best friend we have both had some pretty difficult times to get through and we are always right behind each other to one another’s back she’s a caterer shoutout to Mel Dz Catering! I’ve always told her to keep focusing on her business and growing because she loves to cook and has a true gift and passion for it. So when I made my mine up to be a travel agent so many people didn’t take me seriously and she definitely started as my first client by letting me book her a hotel. From then to now she’s my best customer and we travel all the time together something we once rarely had a chance to do since we were fully committed on jobs that pretty much consumed our lives. I’m definitely still building and progressing in my business and she’s right with me. We have a dream and vision to see both of our businesses grow beyond our wildest dreams and we will both keep pushing each other until we get there.

Instagram: travelersrus_2021

Facebook: Shelly Whitley-Travel Agent

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