As a child, Beth Taylor traveled with her family, visiting Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and other “usual places.” She was enthralled by the diversity of all she experienced during a three-week trip out West, seeing Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore and the country in between—so different from her Ohio home!
Beth had a great aunt and uncle who traveled the world to places that were extremely unusual for people to visit in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Each year brought slideshows and stories of the places they’d gone. Beth knew she wanted to see as many of those places as she could when she grew up.
When Beth began in the travel business in 1982, cruising was up and coming. “I loved reading all I could about it. Then I took my first cruise, and I was hooked!” A couple of years later she opened the first Cruise Holidays in San Diego, and was fortunate to go on many cruises. “It’s been in my blood, ever since. First and foremost, I love to sell cruises.”
Beth has been involved with SBN since 2009. She became SBN San Diego Chapter Director when she realized, soon after joining, there was no chapter there. “Scott Koepf was the president at the time, and he encouraged me to start the chapter. I’m really glad I did.”
She enjoys the sense of “family” SBN membership brings. “A handful of people started coming to chapter meetings back when we started, and it has grown over the years. We get to know each other, and support one another, which is great.”
Being highly involved in and supporting SBN events increases Beth’s professionalism and broadens her knowledge of many aspects of the travel business. Meetings and supplier presentations keep her up to date on the latest industry developments. The local ASTA chapter joined forces with the SBN San Diego Chapter several years ago, and the groups work hand-in-hand. “We’ve worked together to develop both our memberships and support each other’s efforts. It’s nice to have the blend of brick-and-mortar agents alongside SBN’s home-based agents.”
One of the things Beth appreciates most about their meetings is the networking time to get to know others and learn what they specialize in. “We all feel we can contact one another to get answers to questions or learn from them. Several times, we’ve had new agents come to our meetings. The veteran agents reached out to welcome them, answer their questions and support their efforts to get into the business.”
Getting to know suppliers is also a means of support. Since she owned her Cruise Holidays, Beth has understood the importance of working closely with business development managers for the suppliers she uses most. “It is so important to maintain an open relationship with them, to keep on top of the latest developments in their company and to use their expertise to grow my business.”
Travel supports business growth as well. “As anyone in the business will tell you, the more you’re able to travel and learn firsthand about the destinations you’re selling, the easier it is to sell that product. Whether it’s a cruise, hotel or particular country, the knowledge you gain inspires you to sell that product to your client. It also builds the credibility you have with your client, who often relies on your personal experiences to help them in preparing for their vacation.”
Beth has had a varied background in the travel business. She’s worked as a full-service agent and as owner of a cruise-only agency. She’s worked for an incentive travel company and in Convention Services at a large hotel. For several years, she worked for a small tour company where she coordinated all the aspects of the tours and escorted quite a few of them, which she really enjoyed.
“All the experience I have had in the travel business over the years made it possible for me to become a home-based agent in 1997, when I had my second daughter. I knew I wanted to be able to stay home with her so—before it was a common thing—I started working from home. I drew upon the clientele I had built up over the many years I had worked, and was able to build from that.
“I have been blessed to be able to work in this industry for as long as I have, and plan on working in it for many years to come!”
Beth’s Best Bets
Beth Taylor has lived in and loved San Diego, California, for almost 40 years, and offers that is has many areas worth exploring. Here are a few of Beth’s Best Bets for visitors.
Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo are highlights most people try to take in. I always recommend them to friends who visit.
The beach areas are always enjoyable—and no two beach communities are alike. Start south in Ocean Beach and work your way up to La Jolla or even Del Mar. The scenery is beautiful and each beach has its own personality.
For a fun, unique dining experience, I recommend Hodad’s in Ocean Beach. It’s the home of one of the greatest hamburgers you’ll ever have, it’s a block from the ocean, and it was featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. The line may be long, but it’s worth the wait!
Experience San Diego with ASTA at the ASTA Global Conference 2017 | Aug 27 – 29
Whether you’re a large or small travel agency owner, front-line agent, or in the corporate or leisure space, join us at the ASTA Global Convention as we chart the course to the future. We’ll question, celebrate, reinforce, champion and lead the navigation of our industry’s exciting, challenging course. It’s unique, it’s renowned, it’s for you! Learn more at ASTAGlobalConvention.org
Written by Amy L Charles.
Photo courtesy of Deb Knoske.