An industry veteran shares a few pointers with those new to travel.
Everyone’s path to their career is filled with interesting stories and, sometimes, interesting twists and turns. How Greg Antonelle went from a career as a professional recruiter to promoting a travel business that specializes in Disney vacations is one of those interesting tales.
Greg Antonelle and his wife Elyssa both attended Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, Greg spent the next 15 years recruiting for many top companies and attracting world-class talent to their organizations. It was during this time that his wife, Elyssa, was a stay-at-home mom raising their three boys. She was always spending her free time researching different resorts, restaurants, and attractions for the family’s next Disney vacation.
“Even though it was a hobby, I realized she knew as much, if not more, about Disney vacations, as I knew about recruiting,” said Antonelle.
Several years ago, the couple decided to combine both of their passions and turn them into their MickeyTravels business. It’s a division of responsibilities in the company as Elyssa handles the day-to-day functions of booking vacations and is the liaison to all of the agents. Greg handles all of the social media, branding, digital marketing, and the company’s online presence.
MickeyTravels currently has 100 travel agents spread across the country. “In 2016, we were one of only 10 to 12 travel agencies in the world to earn platinum earmarked status,” he said. “We were recently informed that we earned that same status for the 2017 fiscal year.”
What kind of skills do you feel you brought to this job?
The most important skills I brought to this job are my forward-thinking mindset and my relentless pursuit to be the best. I’ve always been very competitive at everything I do – in work and everyday life. It’s always been inherent in me to be one step ahead of the rest of our industry. I’m not afraid to take educated risks. I never feel as though I’ve done enough and, therefore, I’m always looking for new ways to improve our agency and increase our brand awareness.
What kind of skills do you feel that you learned on the job?
I definitely learned to be aggressive. In the corporate recruiting world, there are a number of policies and procedures you must follow and, often times, following processes take time. With the travel industry, and specifically MickeyTravels, we are always looking for innovative ways to improve. We move quickly in a number of ways and are proactive as opposed to reactive. I learned to make decisions quickly and to move forward decisively with our plan.
What tips would you give someone who is going on an interview for a job in the travel industry?
Know your audience. What you may like in a vacation could differ greatly for your client. No two vacations are the same, and cookie cutter vacations simply don’t work well in this day and age. Listen. Listen to what your client wants and have enthusiasm. Have a lot of energy with your clients! When you’re enthusiastic with your clients, it gets them really excited about their vacation. Planning vacations shouldn’t be stressful, it should be fun!