Get Us in Your Inbox
As COVID-19 significantly changed the landscape of the travel industry, many travel advisors also found ways to shift their business models and better serve their clients.
Sam Dorfman, co-owner of CuratedCoast, an affiliate of SmartFlyer, and former leisure relationship manager for MilesAhead, is one such advisor.
Here, she explains why she decided to start her own agency during the global health crisis.
What made you decide to make this career move now?Creating my own company has always been the end goal, and it was just a matter of when that would happen. In my normal day-to-day routine, there was always a reason to put it off, either because one of my top clients was about to travel, or I had a conference or some other event in the pipeline.
But because of the coronavirus pandemic, my normal routine was put on pause. This gave me time to disconnect, reflect and really think about what I wanted to be doing for myself, my career and my clients. With client travel requests few and far between — and all the cancellations and postponements taken care of — I decided it was a good time to move on from my existing position at MilesAhead and take the leap to start CuratedCoast.
With life in a momentary standstill, my partner, Rachel Grosso, and I have had time to build out the company, focus on our brand and prepare for when our clients begin traveling again.
What do you want potential clients to know about CuratedCoast?CuratedCoast is an all-encompassing hospitality brand. We can assist with a full international itinerary for a big family vacation, domestic flights for business trips, finding the best restaurant in a city for date night and everything in between.
We also can help book air, tours, hotels, rentals and charters (for homes, apartments, yachts and planes), in addition to assisting with all other concierge-related requests.
What are your goals with the company, especially as it pertains to operating during the pandemic?Our goal is to be a resource to our network. We want to break the barrier of a typical travel agency and serve as our clients’ go-to for all hospitality-related requests, whether that be a detailed itinerary or just a simple hotel booking. We want to assist with the intricate details, as well as the simpler ones, too.
We understand relationships are at the center of it all. We want to push that even further and be a close contact to our clients for all of their hospitality and travel needs.
Creating the company during the pandemic allows us to be flexible. We are starting fresh and adjusting to the new landscape of travel as trends and interests are changing.
How do you see the company adapting to the new normal?Rachel and I have discussed how we want CuratedCoast to fit into our travelers’ ecosystems during and after the pandemic. We know that we can’t predict what the future will hold. Instead, we are focusing on strengthening our relationships with our suppliers and clients and further educating ourselves on the most requested destinations. In the end, it will be our clients who determine what their future holds. If we listen to them closely, we will be prepared for whatever it is they are looking for.
We understand international travel may not be back for some time, so we are focusing on innovative domestic itineraries. We want our clients to feel safe and socially distance themselves while still enjoying the experience.
How has your focus as an advisor shifted since the start of the outbreak?At the start of the pandemic, my time and attention was spent getting travelers home from overseas, ensuring refunds were given and postponing itineraries to a later date. My main focus was making sure the clients were comfortable and happy with the outcome. I plan to apply the same principle to CuratedCoast by paying close attention to cancellation and deposit policies; border restrictions and travel bans; and health and safety requirements.
We strive to know the answers to these now common client questions before they’re asked.