KHM Travel’s Agent of the Year 2018: Emily Kladivo

Written by: Sydney M Crago on March 11, 2019

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Successful business owners often make their achievements look easy. Those at the top must have it all figured out, right?

The reality is that the challenges associated with running a travel business don’t disappear after a certain number of years or a certain number of bookings; they just change. Whereas new agents may wonder when they’ll see a steady flow of requests, those with established clientele may find themselves wondering how to take a real vacation without their business suffering.

Our 2017 and 2018 Agent of the Year, Emily Kladivo, understands the hard work, time, and energy needed to be successful. She also knows that achieving her professional goals and maintaining her personal wellbeing is a balancing act. If you’re an agent striving to increase sales year after year, establishing a daily routine is essential to keeping that balance. We asked Emily to walk us through how she structures her typical day and provide insight into what the life of a top-producing travel agent is really like.

Emily admits that she has struggled with finding balance in her daily routine. After attending Destination Success last July, she revamped her approach and actively started working in more time for self-care…

“The reality of how much I work really hit me. So, I have tried to get better,” she said.

One of the most important things now is starting her mornings off right. She takes time for herself first, by getting ready for the day, eating breakfast, and going to the gym. She knows that once she starts working, she’ll be all in, so taking time for herself before even checking email ensures she won’t skip out on these important parts of the day.

Once she sits down to work, emails are first on her to-do list. Her goal is to start reading emails between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. each morning. After that, she returns phone calls and voicemails. Once these housekeeping tasks are accomplished, Emily starts working on quotes and itineraries for her interested clients. Usually, she prioritizes quotes by the traveling dates, being sure to stay on top of anything that is quickly approaching, so that she doesn’t miss a potential trip by being too late.

There’s always something new popping in the life of a busy travel agent, whether it be new emails or a phone call from a client. She stays on top of it all by staying connected with her clients even when she’s not at her home office.

“I work from my phone ALL the time. If I’m at the salon I can work, at the gym, I can work.”

As she goes through the day, she jots down important things to do and things to remember, rather than using a daily checklist. To help her stay on task, she avoids her social media feeds, since they end up distracting her take time away from her clients.

The truth is that even a successful business doesn’t run and continue to grow on its own; it still requires dedication and discipline.

“To be completely honest, to be successful in this business, you have to do the work. I am guilty of working until 10 at night, but it’s because I am happy to. Balance is hard. I lost it, but this job makes me happy, and that’s what matters most to me right now, is a successful career.”

Emily has seen her dedication pay off as her business has grown and developed. The sales are impressive, but earning Agent of the Year means more to her than just numbers.

“It means everything to me. I know everyone is doing this for their own reasons, but I came from the very bottom and worked extremely hard to get to where I am,” said Emily. “I never expected it to become this big. It makes all the long hours worth it.”

Thank you to Emily for sharing her insights with us, and congratulations on another outstanding year! Want to learn more about our award-winning agents? See the full list of 2018 Crystal Award winners and read about our Rising Star Agent of the Year, Ashley.


KHM Travel Group is a leading host agency dedicated to helping people start and grow their travel businesses. To find out more about what it means to be a KHM Travel Agent and how you can get started, fill out the form to the right or give us a call at 1-888-611-1220.