First in Service News

Agent Spotlight: Mayla Melo, Leisure Dream Maker


MaylaBrazilian-born Mayla Melo is exactly where she planned in her 11-year agency career – running the F1S leisure division. “I sell dreams,” she sums up. “What’s not to love?”

A lot has changed since she began her first agency job in New York where she was the youngest by 20 years. She cut her teeth, learning the leisure business inside and out, and crafted a specialty in luxury cruises. In 2010, she was named one of Travel Agent magazine’s 30 under 30. Two years later, First in Service gave her an offer she couldn’t refuse: to build the company’s leisure business.

Nowadays as part of a new breed of travel agents, she sees the industry shifting towards what she is passionate about: experiential travel. “People, including me, don’t want to take a vacation to just see famous landmarks. They want to experience it like a local – and even give back. There are no cookie cutter trips anymore,” she explains. Mayla is applying this trend to building the F1S leisure brand as specialists in custom travel experiences. “If a client wants to have custom jewelry made in India, we’ll send them there to meet with the actual designer. That makes the experience priceless,” she adds.

Mayla travels every month to keep her knowledge fresh. Some of her recent top picks include Marrakech, St. Petersburg, Jamaica’s Port Antonio (“a well kept secret”), Zhangjiajie in China, and her all-time favorite destination – her native Brazil, where she says, “it’s rich in everything a visitor could want.”

While growing up in Brazil, Mayla toyed with studying law as her dream was to become a judge. The lure of travel eventually proved more exciting. She admits she never shies away from sharing her two cents on travelling. “I have lots of opinions. It’s the judge in me!”


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