July 21, 2024

Adventure Destinations League

Navigating Travel Wonders

A passion for exotic cars put this agency in the fast lane: Travel Weekly

Jamie Biesiada

Jamie Biesiada

At LuxRally Travel, a Miami-based host agency, technology intersects with highly motivated sellers to provide a home for more than 300 independent contractors.

But LuxRally wasn’t always an agency. It started as an exotic-car rally headed by husband-and-wife team Courtney and David Eisen (Courtney today is the agency’s chief marketing officer).

The Eisens would bring car groups to hotels, who in turn would ask if they wanted a commissionable rate. Initially, Courtney said, David thought that would increase the price of the hotel room for the guest. But when he learned what it actually meant, David swapped his career as a cybersecurity contractor for that of a travel advisor.

Leveraging his network of high-net-worth individuals in the exotic-car space, he found success, selling around $11 million a year in 2021 and 2022.

In 2022, the Eisens decided to start their own host agency with free training for advisors.

“We want people that are taking this as a serious career and not so much as a hobby,” Courtney said. “Nothing is wrong with that, but that’s the choice that we want people to make before they decide to sign on with our host agency.”

To that end, the training program developed by LuxRally is “really, really hard,” Courtney said. It takes about 80 hours to complete and includes both online learning modules and more personal components, like role playing and sales training.

“We’re for people who want to earn a lot of money,” Courtney said.

David estimated that, of the 1,500 people who apply to join the agency each month, only 6% to 8% of them become advisors: Most are eliminated early in the process, he said, with fewer being eliminated by their final exam.

LuxRally doesn’t charge advisors fees, either upfront or on a monthly subscription basis. There is no GDS fee. David said the agency does have an emergency handling fee, if an advisor is unreachable and clients need help, but that fee is more to dissuade agents from not servicing clients.

The host does have a commission split of 80-20, or 90-10 for advisors selling more than $100,000 annually.

The agency does not allow its advisors to charge fees. David said that’s based on his belief that advisors are paid in commissions and that charging a fee interrupts the sales process.

“We tell our agents if you’re with us, you can’t charge fees,” he said. “And a lot of people say that’s not for me, and that’s OK. We’re not the agency for everybody.”

LuxRally is a member of Travel Leaders Network and does around $40 million in annual sales.

At the intersection of travel and technology

LuxRally recently released two pieces of technology created by David: the booking platform FastBook, and the FastTrack Portal, which helps track cooperative marketing funds.

FastBook aggregates rates from more than 750,000 hotels and, with a five to 10 second search, returns multiple rates for travel advisors. David said it was designed to more quickly return a variety of rates for advisors to choose from.

“It speeds up that process for the agent, which makes them more efficient, which drives more sales,” David said. “It’s cyclical.”

The FastTrack Portal offers a way to track the return on investment of cooperative marketing funds from suppliers.
“When you spend a dollar, you know where it goes and you know how it’s performing,” David said.

A portal to work with travel influencers

The portal also enables LuxRally and suppliers to work with influencers.

Courtney said after testing, LuxRally found that the closure rate on leads that come in via influencers was around 20% to 30%, much higher than the closure rate on leads coming from online ads. The agency assigned a handful of its top advisors to an influencer’s campaign to engage with followers and close deals (all tracked by the portal). The influencer, in turn, receives a commission for three years for each client sent to LuxRally.

David said the agency is focused on integrating as many suppliers as possible into FastBook and automating its onboarding of agents with checks to verify they are who they say they are.

He is also integrating the 3D Secure security protocol into LuxRally’s credit card authorization forms, so when an agent receives a client’s credit card, they know it has been verified as belonging to that person. That should help eliminate the risk of fraud.