Jessica Battista’s love of travel was sparked by her grandmother’s stories of her trips to Spain and Morocco. During Jessica’s semester abroad at Oxford, she realized her desire to explore the world and experience different cultures. After many years in event planning, she turned her passion into a career by becoming a luxury travel advisor.
In 2016, Jessica joined Brownell’s Hosting Program after years in the industry. Learn more about her decision to choose Brownell as her host agency, her advice for becoming a travel advisor, and a few of her travel tips below.
1. Why did you choose Brownell as your host agency?
First and foremost, Brownell has a phenomenal reputation, both with clients and travel partners. Equally important is Brownell’s hosting program, which is unrivaled in the industry. Every day I’m grateful for the hosting team’s support (which extends to the marketing team as well). Their response time is amazing, and they never make you feel like you are wasting their time or that you’ve asked a silly question.
2. What aspect of Brownell are you most excited about?
Brownell truly feels like “family.” It’s clear that everyone in the organization is committed to the success of their colleagues and makes sure to celebrate those successes.
3. What advice would you give to someone who wants to join the travel industry?
It’s not enough to “love travel.” Here are a few points to consider before making the move:
- Be patient but persistent. As with any new endeavor, there is ramp up time to building your business. Don’t get discouraged. Stick with it, keep plugging away and before you know it your business will take off.
- Once you’re up and running, you’ll be juggling multiple trips at varying stages of planning so prioritizing and staying organized is paramount.
- It’s not all “sunshine and rainbows”…in fact, it’s occasionally hurricanes and tropical storms, and you have to maintain grace under pressure while managing these situations.
- Relationships matter. A good travel advisor is nothing without the trust of his/her clients and the support of his/her industry partners. Be insightful. Be gracious. Be honest.
4. What has been the most inspirational destination you’ve visited?
Myanmar. It’s hard not to be inspired in this beautiful, primarily Buddhist country dotted with stupas and pagodas. Belmond arranged for us to attend a private evening prayer service in one of Bagan’s temples…it absolutely moved me to tears. But it’s really the people of Myanmar and their hope for their future which is the most inspiring…perfectly described this sign we passed along the road: “Myanmar – Brimming with Optimism.”
5. What is the best travel advice you’ve ever received?
I was 20 years old and had just begun a 5-week hike along the Camino de Santiago in Spain. After 13 hours of mostly uphill walking in the Pyrenees, I called my mom from a pay phone to tell her I’d had enough and I was coming home. Imagine my surprise when she replied, “No, you’re not. Give it a week. You’ve been planning this for months and despite how you feel right now I know you’ll be disappointed if you give up on yourself.” Needless to say this was not the comforting “mom chat” I expected, but she was 100% right. After a few days I hit my stride and completed the 500-mile journey in less time than originally anticipated. Walking the Camino is one of the most personally fulfilling accomplishments of my life and, even though I may not have felt it at the time, I am thankful to my mom for the encouragement.
6. What is the up and coming destination right now?
Cuba. Though more flights are being added from the US to Havana and more and more Americans are going, Cuba still retains its old-world charms. There’s no telling how long that will last so best to visit sooner than later.
7. What popular destination lives up to the hype?
Italy. There’s something for everyone – rich history and culture, diverse landscapes, varied outdoor pursuits, top-notch food and wines. Great for families and perfect for honeymoons or milestone celebrations. Even clients who have traveled to Italy on multiple occasions can still find hidden gems still waiting to be “discovered.” It’s a home run.