LoveShack Vacations Agent of the Year: Erika Lafata
Written by: Sydney M Crago on May 02, 2019
Since launching her full-time romance travel career seven years ago, Erika has found a home in the travel industry, and for the past two years, a family in the LoveShack Vacations team. Her motivation and passion for travel have helped her reach the top as our 2018 LoveShack Vacations Agent of the Year.
Prior to starting her travel business, Erika spent many years working as an advertising sales representative, tasked with finding non-traditional advertising solutions while also planning events and promotions. After advertising for a travel agency and working behind-the-scenes at bridal events, Erika put her experience to use and launched her romance travel business.
“I am a planner by nature, love to travel, and had the many years of sales skills, so I rolled them all together and joined this industry,” she said.
With five years of experience as a romance travel professional, Erika was ready to re-invigorate her travel agency and step up her branding and marketing efforts. After meeting another of our LoveShack Vacations agents, she felt that our resources and opportunities were exactly what she was looking for.
“I specifically joined LoveShack Vacations because of the marketing tools available… I thought ‘why reinvent the wheel? LoveShack Vacations has it all figured out for me,’” Erika adds, “If I am not successful, then it’s on me because I certainly have all the tools!”
In the past two years, Erika has seen her romance travel business blossom. While she spends time working with couples to plan their destination weddings, she finds that most of her clients come to her to book honeymoons and anniversary trips. She says the resources available through LoveShack and KHM Travel Group help her connect with her clients and create the best possible travel experience for each couple.
Erika believes that her client connections set her agency apart. Working with local clients makes it easy to meet with them face to face and allows her to showcase the value of the personal touch a travel agent brings to the client’s experience.
“I like to do an in-person visit to drop off trip documents and answer any last-minute questions they might have. I still do book some family travel, so if there are little ones going on a trip, I bring a few gifts like books and other things to keep them occupied during the plane ride.”
Not only is she dedicated to planning the best possible trip for her clients, Erika stays up to date on travel industry news and attends travel industry events. For the past two years, she has attended our annual Crystal Conference and Awards to connect with her fellow LoveShack Vacations and KHM Travel Agents. She also participated in our consortium, Travel Leaders Network’s EDGE Conference. Erika says that she finds events an important opportunity to connect with the BDMs of travel suppliers and other industry professionals.
“Relationships are everything in this business and KHM Travel Group creates the environment to grow them. The leaders at the top of KHM Travel Group are very well respected in our industry because of their strong relationships with our travel partners, and I always beam with pride when I tell other industry professionals who my host agency is.”
Though there is a lot to love about working in travel, Erika’s says her favorite part of her job is the moment she knows her clients have successfully arrived at their resort, and she starts seeing social media posts about how much they are enjoying their vacation.
So what advice does she have for her fellow travel agents?
“If you aren’t comfortable with sales and closing business, then you’re going to have a hard time making a living doing this…find a seasoned agent to buddy up with, to bounce things off of, and take advantage of KHM Travel Group’s Coaching Program.”
Congratulations to Erika on being named our 2018 LoveShack Vacations Agent of the Year and thank you for sharing your travel agent journey with us.
If you would like to learn more about becoming a KHM Travel Agent, you can fill out the form to the right or give us a call at 1-888-611-1220. If you’d like to learn more about our LoveShack Vacations program visit LoveShackVacations.com.