KHM Travel Group’s Rookie of the Year: Susan Fithian
Written by: Amanda Bailey on March 08, 2016
With 29 years as a travel agent under her belt, it might not seem appropriate to call Susan Fithian a rookie.
But after being employed at a brick-and-mortar agency for more than two decades, she was encouraged by her husband, Tad, to go out on her own. She joined KHM Travel Group as an independent travel agent in November 2014.
Her agency, Fithian Travel LLC, grew so rapidly that she earned our Rookie Agent of the Year award for 2015.
Susan’s success is partially due to the loyal base of clients she brought with her from her former agency. Because of her outstanding customer service, she has had clients that have stuck with her since the beginning.
“After 20+ years together, my clients are more than that–they have become dear friends,” says Susan. “Friends that refer new friends and that is better than any money spent on advertising.”
Even though she had decades of experience and knowledge behind her, Susan still made training a priority. The week after joining KHM Travel, she attended our New Agent Boot Camp at our home office. She also attended both our spring and fall editions of Destination Success in 2015.
“These events are a huge impact for me as it reaffirms the need for us to continue to expand our knowledge for this ever-changing trade and to partner ourselves with vendors who will help us grow our business,” Susan says.
It hasn’t been completely smooth sailing, however. Her husband passed away suddenly in October 2015, soon after she attended our fall Destination Success.
Tad was the one who inspired her to launch her travel business, and he also supported Susan’s business by helping with the day-to-day tasks, like data entry, ordering supplies, and sending out travel documents.
“He truly was the heart and soul of Fithian Travel,” says Susan.
To honor her husband’s memory, she continues to strive for excellence by learning as much as possible about her trade, and by living it as an example to others.
She eventually plans on hiring more help, but for right now, is growing her business by keeping her repeat clients happy and through referrals. New travel agents looking to follow Susan’s example should focus on building relationships. She lives by her husband’s motto, which is, “treat everyone not as if they are your only customer, but your BEST.”
“New agents stop me at trainings and ask me how did I do this,” Susan says. “My reply is this – you cannot compare your short amount of time to my almost 30 years in this crazy business but what you can do is make every client count.”
Congratulations on an outstanding year with KHM Travel Group and thank you for sharing your inspiring story, Susan!