If there was one person who could truly be called an icon of the travel industry, it was Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart.
VANCOUVER — What makes the new Wells Luxury Travel Ltd. a unique travel agency? It’s being launched in the middle of a pandemic and it’s charging clients an hourly fee.
Started by award-winning travel industry leader Kemi Wells, who currently sits on Virtuoso’s Global Member Advisory Board and the Travel + Leisure Magazine’s Advisory Board, the new Vancouver-based agency focuses on concierge-style travel management to meet the rising demand for luxury travel.
“I strongly believe in the pent-up demand and that the luxury travel industry will rebound stronger than ever,” says Wells, who prior to her role as President served as director at North South Travel. “My gut was telling me to make the move and turn this crisis into an opportunity; Wells Luxury Travel was born. The down time now gives me time to strategize, prepare and be ready for the boom.”
As for why she decided on an hourly fee-based model, Wells believes that charging fees for leisure travel is becoming increasingly expected by affluent clientele but has yet to take hold on a broad scale within the Canadian marketplace.
Wells Luxury Travel is part of Virtuoso’s global luxury network and will only accept clients on a referral basis. It will focus on supplier partnerships in the growing luxury categories of celebration, adventure, wellness and sustainable travel.
The agency’s growth strategy for independent consultants will be just as selective – it is considering only advisors who solely focus on luxury travel or who are new to the industry with a strong luxury-focused business plan.
“I want to build a collective of like-minded, passionate luxury travel advisors who are forward thinking and prioritize superior service for all clients,” added Wells.
Joining the team as founding affiliates are industry veteran Samantha Jervis and travel writer Julie-Anna Vogel. Jervis brings with her 28 years of luxury cruise and hotel experience, while Vogel, who boasts years of luxury travel and lifestyle writing experience, was recently nominated as one of Travel + Leisure’s Rising Stars for 2021. Wells, meanwhile, has managed the community for the Young Vancouver Travel Professionals for the past five years and was awarded the ‘Tomorrow’s Leader Award’ in 2015, just one year after entering the industry.