Today All Star Travel Group (ASTG), a branch of Travel Leaders Group, officially announced that Susan Duffy will serve as Director of ASTG’s Elite Advisor (IC) Division and oversee VIP Client Development.
Earlier this year, Susan teamed up with All Star Travel Group’s founder and President, David Odaka to create an incubator devoted to developing a new breed of travel advisors, focused on innovation and finding new ways to propel the industry forward.
For over three decades, David Odaka, has been at the forefront of the luxury travel industry. Notably, Odaka was one of the early travel advisors to pioneer travel management for the entertainment industry in the 1980s, and has built a business catering to an impressive list of high-net-worth clients and high profile entertainment giants such as William Morris Endeavor and United Talent Agency. With its sights now set on Silicon Valley, All Star Travel Group has expanded its client list to include the who’s who of the tech world including an ever-growing list of cryptocurrency clients and tech moguls looking to tap into Odaka’s ability to service the most demanding clients and make the impossible happen.
Susan Duffy spent the early part of her career as a seasoned marketing and business development executive working with Fortune 500 clients at agencies including Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide and Hudson Global, which was ultimately acquired by FCB. She has spent the last 8 years focused on the luxury travel business, and has since become a sought-after business growth strategist and entrepreneur who specializes in implementing smart, effective out-of-the-box strategies for luxury brands that drive revenue and profit growth. Her long-term relationships with a wide network of industry leaders, high-net-worth individuals and C-Suite executives made her a natural fit for the ASTG brand, as she is often hired as a game-changing weapon by clients looking to tap into her circles of influence.
Until now, Duffy and Odaka have flown under the radar quietly developing their incubator, but the pair’s combined industry expertise, entrepreneurial mindset and innovative thinking has already created a buzz within the industry.
“Our ultimate goal is to welcome ideas and innovation into the brand from outside of the industry as well as within our own community. We are constantly seeking out thought leaders, change makers and forward-thinking entrepreneurs who can help drive that mission forward,” explains Duffy.
It’s no secret that that public perception of travel agents is that they are a dying breed. When in fact, it’s quite the opposite, particularly in the luxury sector. ASTA has reported the highest number of travel agent bookings in three years. Travel agencies in the U.S. alone have produced $148B in annual sales (that data excludes OTAs like Expedia and Priceline), and 22% of US travelers use a leisure or corporate travel agency.
“The travel industry is a fast moving, fragmented sector with endless possibility and the human element of high touch service isn’t going anywhere, particularly in the luxury sector. It’s never been a better time to be in the travel business. Yet we recognize that the travel agency industry as a whole has been stuck in a bit of a time warp and it’s time to change the face of the game,” said Duffy.
Inside this incubator is a place to allow those involved to think differently. Curiosity, creativity and embracing the new is on par with ASTG’s luxury brand, as it has continuously expanded beyond the standard offerings to focus on designing intensely inspiring travel experiences for its high-profile clients. And with the launch of this new division comprised of a select group of the industry’s elite, there will be a shift toward creating a new breed of travel advisors who are business savvy entrepreneurs focused on innovation and constantly looking for new ways to evolve and grow.
As such, the project will act as both an incubator and talent scout.
“We are looking for people who organically fit under our umbrella,” said Odaka. “We are developing a very selective program that seeks out serious players who are the right cultural fit for what we are building.”
While ASTG has never advertised itself in traditional ways, it’s foundation was built on Odaka’s reputation as an industry leader who has remained humble while quietly building his billionaire clientele through word of mouth alone.
“We haven’t yet announced some of the new initiatives we’re working on. Right now we are focused on building something great and attracting top talent. The rest will reveal itself in time,” said Odaka.
“At the end of the day we want to feel inspired and continue to do what we love. Creativity and curiosity drive everything we do and it’s that same spirit that brought us together to create a community of like-minded entrepreneurs,” said Duffy.
About All Star Travel Group
All Star Travel Group redefines today’s standards in luxury travel. Headquartered in Los Angeles with a global affiliate network, ASTG is one of the nation’s premier travel agencies catering to the entertainment industry, corporate world, special interest groups and sophisticated leisure travelers on a referral only basis. With over thirty years of experience, ASTG is recognized for its unparalleled high touch service, creating elaborate customized travel experiences for its VIP clientele.
Interested in joining the ASTG Elite Advisor team?
Contact: Susan Duffy [email protected]