With almost 40 years of experience under her belt, Kit Neil has come a long way in the travel industry. Neil is now one of Tully Luxury Travel’s top advisors, selling luxury cruises to the tune of $9 million in annual revenue. But, her career in the industry had more humble beginnings.
“As a young 17-year-old living in Oakville, Ontario I landed my first job at Eaton’s Travel in Downtown Toronto as a receptionist. And from there I worked my way up,” she says.
After five years at Eaton’s, Neil was recruited by Marlin Travel in Ontario, where she was a top sales agent for 16 years. Then, it was on to Cruise Professionals in 2003, which eventually rebranded and became Tully Luxury Travel. Neil started at Tully with little but a penchant for hard work and a passion for travel. In time, she built her network to become one of the top-selling advisors in the company.
“I started here 15 years ago with no clients and built my clientele up to $9 million in sales. I could not have done that without the tremendous support I have around me. This includes management, my co-workers and our leader, Mary Jean Tully,” she notes.
Today, Neil specializes exclusively in luxury cruise lines, selling travel to an international group of clients mainly in the 55-to-85-age range.
“My focus is Regent, Crystal, Seabourn and Silversea. I book several Full World Cruises and Grand Voyage Cruises every year. I do other cruises too, particularly expedition and river. I am one of the top producers in our company for Tauck Tours, as well,” she tells us.
Neil says that many of her clients are loyal, with repeat and referral business being a major key to success.
“If a client trusts you, they will follow you and book with you for life,” she says. “I get to know them and their needs, by giving them honest advice and offering the best customer service I possibly can. This day and age, it is about relationship-building.”
Looking ahead, Neil emphasizes the importance of maintaining an online presence to increase her business.
“Social media is an excellent form of increasing business. It’s about getting your name out there, posting photos of your own personal trips. As soon as your client sees you somewhere, they instantly want to go there too!” she says. “Word of mouth is still the best way to advertise.”
Neil also notes that diversifying your offerings is another key to success in the industry.
“We are branded with three divisions: Cruises Professionals, Private Travel Designers and African Dreams. So, essentially, when I have a client who books a cruise, the following year if they want a land trip and ask about an African safari, or a villa stay in Tuscany, I can swiftly coordinate them with our land experts in Private Travel Design or African Dreams,” she explains. “By doing this, we have increased our business immensely because our cruise clients now have become our land clients, too. That is how you grow your business.”