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Travel Agent's Magazine 30 Under 30

August 19, 2013

Here they are: The future of the travel industry, the next generation of agents who will discover new places to go and new ways to connect with travellers. They exist in a 24/7 world of nonstop information, and communicate with each other, with other industry professionals and with clients through multiple platforms. They tweet. They share. They snap pictures and chat about their experiences. And they sell travel in ways that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. They are Travel Agent's Top 30 Under 30 for 2013.

Over the past few years this feature has created a buzz in the industry and also helped fuel a community of young professionals who enjoy being a part of a special growing niche in the travel industry. This year's list of young agents, all of whom were under 30 when the year began, is a testament to our combined success.

We trust that being named to this list, the selected young agents will be encouraged to stay in an industry that so clearly embraces new talent. We are also inviting them to participate along with past "Under 30" alumni, in our fourth annual Young Leaders Conference during Luxury Travel Exchange International in Las Vegas. Now, read on for the 30 freshest and most innovative young travel agents in the business.


Sarah Nelson (Wandrey), 27, Mesa, Arizona

Travel Leaders/Tzell Travel

Sarah Nelson (Wandrey) knows that part of being a successful agent is being a solid problem solver. So when she used a preferred supplier to send clients to Puerto Vallarta and found out the hotel had been oversold only after she got a call from a worried client who didn't have a room, she didn't panic. Instead, she called her supplier, explained the situation and within minutes her clients were given a room. They did have to stay in a lower category for the first night, but they were given a partial refund.

"It's impossible for travel to be flawless 100 percent of the time, especially when we are sending our clients on a long journey, using multiple airlines, rail, hotels, suppliers, etc.," she says. "So when there is a crisis, I find it's best to remain calm and reassure the client that I have their back, and that I am going to help them resolve their problem as quickly as possible." When she was hired by Travel Leaders at the age of 20 as an office assistant, she was tasked with answering phones, stocking brochures, greeting walk-in clients and making lunch runs. Over the past six years, however, her responsibilities evolved to encompass many aspects of the industry, including selling travel--mostly cruises, family travel, and all-inclusive trips. "Over the years I have learned the value of using suppliers that we have great relationships with," says Nelson. "The better the relationship with the supplier, the better the reaction time and the better the response. When I have used a non-preferred supplier, and had a crisis, I have never found the solution to be as desirable for my client, if we were able to get a solution at all, without changing tactics and making an entirely new booking."

Sarah Nelson Wandrey became a part owner of Travel Leaders San Jose, CA and Mesa, AZ in late 2013 after the release of this article.

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Travel Leaders has been assisting travelers for nearly 30 years through our nationwide independently owned and operated franchise locations affiliated with Travel Leaders Group – a leader in both leisure and business travel. Travel Leaders Group was recently again named among the Top 10 on the Travel Weekly Power List.

As professional travel agents, travel is our passion and our life work. It’s what we do all day every day. We have personally been to destinations worldwide, stayed at the resorts, sailed aboard the cruise ships and taken the off-the-beaten path tours, so we know what to recommend and what not to recommend to our clients. We have established relationships in the travel industry that enable us to offer you special offers and amenities you won’t find anywhere else—even online. We will be there for you if anything unexpected occurs on your trip. We have the education and the experience to ensure you enjoy exceptional travel experiences throughout your lifetime. Our promise to you…

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