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Meet Claudia Fernandez-Davila

Today we’d like to introduce you to Claudia Fernandez-Davila.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Claudia. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
Travel has always been a large part of my life. With family in Nicaragua (where my mom is from) and in Peru (where my dad is from), I was lucky to be able to spend several summers in these countries. From those trips, my curiosity of the world began, and I’ve visited many parts of Europe, Central and South America, Africa, and the Caribbean.

In addition to travel in general, I have a love for historic hotels. Growing up in San Francisco, I was surrounded by beautiful properties, and I ended up working in some of the best hotels in the city.  One of my favorite jobs was working as a concierge. I truly enjoyed helping guests plan their days, suggesting things to do, recommending my favorite restaurants.

When I moved to LA, I decided to start working on the agency side of the travel industry, and I worked as a Travel Consultant for a firm in Beverly Hills. I used my hospitality background and firsthand travel experience to put together itineraries for clients, but this time on a much larger scale and to destinations around the world.

While working at the travel agency, I met many travel agents that worked as independent contractors and learned that the business of selling travel was still lucrative. After LOTS of research and planning, I started Claudia Austin Travel in 2015.  My goal is to work closely with each client and create a custom itinerary based on their unique preferences.  Booking a trip with my agency does not take away the fun of planning; it just makes it easier.

Travel should be personalized, and by starting my own business, I knew that I could devote more time to designing memorable travel experiences for the high-end leisure traveler. I am an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso member agency and the first travel firm in North America, and I can use their extensive relationships with the very best travel partners to take trips to the next level.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Being your own boss is not easy! Everything falls on your plate, and it takes a lot of discipline to keep everything on track. I also had to learn that not everyone is my ideal client. At first, you’re excited when someone contacts you and will take whatever comes your way. But sometimes it’s not the right fit, and it’s ok to say no. I want to make sure I add value to every client’s travel experience, and if I can’t, I will direct them to someone who can.

And of course, letting people know that travel advisors still exist! Even with all the information on the internet, we are here to save you time from going through Google or TripAdvisor and give you unbiased information from our onsite suppliers. Plus, I can add a lot of value to your trip through my affiliations.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Claudia Austin Travel is a boutique travel agency that specializes in customized trips for the discerning traveler. All trips are tailored to your specific tastes and requests. It all starts with a call to learn more about what kind of a traveler you are, where you’ve been, your favorite travel memory, the activities you enjoy, and even your favorite cocktail. I’ve had clients that have no idea where they want to go, but after a conversation, I made suggestions based on what they like and they had an incredible trip!

Everyday in this job is different and gives me the opportunity to be creative. I’m currently working on many fun itineraries to the following destinations: France, Spain, Mexico, California, Jamaica, England, Ireland, South Africa, Chile, and Argentina. I’m arranging activities like making croissants in Paris, a private tour of the Alhambra with a local archeologist in Granada, golfing in Anguilla, a tango show in Buenos Aires, and walking tour of hidden London, to name a few.

I am also constantly meeting with suppliers and hoteliers from around the world. These relationships help make travel seamless and special for my clients as they are treated like VIPs. I love when a client sends me a picture or a text about their experiences while they are traveling. I know they’re being taken care of and that the time spent planning was well worth it!

In addition to designing trips, I also travel to grow my knowledge. I have been on trips where I’m visiting five hotels a day! I’m meeting with suppliers, drivers, tour guides, hoteliers and scoping out anything that may be of interest for my clients. The travel industry is constantly changing, and I love staying on top of the trends.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have had a website up sooner. It took me forever to get it done and find the right person that understood my goals. It’s important to have this resource so potential clients can learn more about you and what you do.

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