Why did you start your business?
I started Haute Holidays because I was at a point in my life six years ago where I desired a career change into something that I was really passionate about, which was seeing the world. The travel bug had bit me from the moment I studied abroad in Barcelona in college.. from then on my husband and I spent more money on airplane tickets than anything else (except when I worked for an airline for four years and we frequently traveled on standby!) I am a CPA with a masters in accounting, so a detailed numbers person by trade, and I realized that my background would easily translate into running my own travel business. The ability to work with budgets, provide great client service, and multitask like crazy are all paramount to my success! Helping clients travel smarter and better is the biggest reward of all. Last year I expanded my team to include my amazing travel coordinator Haleigh, and together, we love crafting the perfect trips for our clients.
What is unique about your business?
Some people still think the internet replaced travel advisors, and that is just not true! If anything, it created a need for a professional to be able to help sift through the millions of hits online, for say, Mexico honeymoon. We don’t just sit behind desks all day; I travel at least once a month myself, typically checking out 4-5* properties, trying experiences, and meeting with sales managers of hotels. The key to my business is personal relationships- building them with my suppliers and hoteliers, who help keep me apprised of the latest info at their properties and destinations (and who also spoil my clients when they stay!) as well as client relationships.
What’s on your Playlist?
I’m a little embarrassed to say I still love some good 90s hip-hop.. mixed with today’s artists like Imagine Dragons, Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake! I also walked into my bungalow several years ago at Ponta Dos Ganchos, this absolutely stunning beach resort in southern Brazil, and playing in the room was a mesmerizing samba CD that just made you want to grab a caipirinha and dance! I made a playlist of some of those songs and love to listen to it when I travel.
Where do you find inspiration?
Many times when my clients have an interest in a place, if I haven’t been yet, it inspires me to go as well! That is the main reason I took recent trips to Bali and Morocco.. I wanted to make sure I understood them better in order to plan my clients’ trips there. (By the way, these are two of my favorite countries I have been!)
Also, being able to travel as much as I do, I definitely am inspired by ALL of the hard-working people in hospitality around the world! There are so many behind-the-scenes details that go into perfecting your travel experience.. from personalizing your welcome amenity at the hotel, to selecting the best guides, to making sure all details run smoothly. Hoteliers and tourism professionals are some of the hardest working and kindest people I have ever met!
Finally, strong working mothers inspire me daily. Being a mom is a full-time job. My career as a travel advisor and business owner is a full-time job. I love both and seek to show my kids the benefit of hard work and never giving up on their dreams. Any working mother is a hero in my eyes, and it takes a real passion and tenacity to do it all!
Why did you decide to work with Doodle Dog?
I found Nikki initially when I started my business over five years ago because I searched event planners in Dallas to look at their websites (figuring my business was similar!) I saw the Doodle Dog logo on the bottom of several and really loved her aesthetic.. fresh and creative without being fussy or boring. Doodle Dog was so easy to work with, and I was thrilled with the launch of my logo and website!
Why did you feel the time was right to kick-off this project?
I had a the 5-year itch for a re-design.. I have really grown as a business and brand over the past five years and desired a more mature, more luxurious, and gender-neutral look.
What’s your favorite part of your new site or new brand?
I LOVE that it still incorporates the airplane motif but into a more mature design with a color palette that I love- navy and orange. Any shade of blue reminds me of the water, which so many wonderful travel destinations are centered on! And as a lover of pumpkins, fall, and the University of Texas at Austin (hook em!), well, that’s why I love orange. My logo and site convey that I plan luxury leisure travel, but with a fun and un-stuffy feel.
What advice would you give to someone considering a new brand or new launch?
Really think about what service you are providing or what good you are selling, and who your target market is. My initial design felt a little girly, which I loved at first, but I work with so many men as well, and wanted my logo to be more neutral. Think about your audience and what they will respond to, not just what you like personally.
Also, give in to the 5-year itch! Just as people mature, businesses do too, and sometimes you really aren’t sure exactly what your brand should convey when you start, but when you start to have that gut feeling to change something a few years down the road, you are probably right.. so definitely give it a shot!
Is there anything else you would like to mention?
Thank you Nikki & the Doodle Dog Team for being my creative partner!