Does it feel like summer is moving too fast? Travel, like summer, is all about savoring the moment. Don’t worry. There is definitely still time to get away to places near and far. This month, we visit Japan, go on a family cruise to the Caribbean, and share why private jet charters are on the rise.
Erika Reategui and Fernando Gonzalez
Before Susan Quillin became an affiliate with First in Service, she traveled the globe as a talent executive in search of the next hot face for some of the world’s biggest modeling agencies.
For 25 years, she would leave her home base in New York, London or Paris and fly to Moscow, Istanbul, Stockholm, and other world capitals for meetings, castings and media interviews. By the time she left the world of fashion in 2005, she says, “Everyone I knew was contacting me for travel access. I felt like a personal Frommer’s.”
A light bulb went off as she decided to turn her passion for travel into a second career. She contacted First in Service, her travel agency of 20 years, and the partnership was instant. She already knew how to advise clients on where to go, what to see, and where to stay. With F1S, she could now access the best rates, and destination specialists who would help her shape the perfect journeys for her clients.
While Susan specializes in luxury leisure, and to a degree corporate travel, she emphasizes that luxury travel is no longer about the most expensive or most exotic. To her, it’s about exceeding expectations. She elaborates, “It means hearing my clients’ whims and desires, and translating that into something extraordinary. Whether my client’s budget is $5,000 or $100,000, my goal is to give them experiences that they will never forget. Value is a really important part of that.”
Over the years, she’s had a lot of experience exceeding client expectations. One favorite was planning a 25th wedding anniversary in China. “The couple wanted something jaw-droppingly romantic,” she explains. “I arranged a truly James Bondian experience: dinner in the bottom of a limestone mountain shimmering with lights and attended by the best chefs available. They still talk about it.”
Susan is always in search of an adventure herself. She is a big fan of China, Australia and New Zealand for “their intense heritage, but laid back style.” Next year, she is looking forward to exploring Bhutan, Nepal, Mongolia and northern India. She adds, “If you want to discover the whys of a culture, you must explore its least trodden destinations.”
At home in the Catskills, she is an avid gardener and cook, and takes those passions on the road. “If I am at a gorgeous property in the south of England or a vineyard in Spain, I am happiest with muck boots and a trowel, harvesting the day’s freshest ingredients to prepare lunch in a complete stranger’s kitchen.”