Nikia Morales is the Owner of The Travel Agency a VIP travel agency that specializes in working with Celebrities, Entertainment Executives and other High Net Worth individuals. She recently took the time to share with readers some of her observations on the premium travels service industry and it’s relationship with security.
So descriptive name notwithstanding, what exactly is The Travel Agency?
The Travel Agency is a full service boutique agency specializing in the unique needs of clients in the entertainment industry. We offer a full suite of services tailored to each client’s logistic requirements. We create unique experiences wherever our client’s needs dictate, be it touring, one/offs, production or executive day to day.
Can you describe the profile of the type of client you service?
Our clients are VIPs of the Entertainment Industry…Artists, Tour Managers, Label Executives and Management/Talent Agency Executives. Because of their unique lifestyle, these individuals have unique needs and require a Travel Management Company willing to service their accounts accordingly.
Wouldn’t a celebrity or executive just have an assistant book the travel directly with the airline?
When a celebrity or executive calls me it’s traditionally because their travel needs have exceeded a simple on-line booking platform (ie orbitz, travolocity, etc). Most Assistants don’t have the time to manage the travel of a busy celebrity or executive, not to mention the plethora of changes and details that go along with moving VIPs from point A to B to C and sometimes more. In addition to the confidentiality, a service like mine provides a one-stop shop option in Travel Management. This includes, providing reports for accounting, negotiated hotel rates, and detailed flight options that range from the least expensive to the most comfortable. In addition, direct routing and detailed movement spreadsheets are prepared for the convenience of Management and Security.
Do you see a value in using airport VIP Services?
There is a huge value in using VIP Airport Services. These Greeters will have access to restricted areas and have key knowledge on how to navigate the airport with minimal fan interference or long delays in customs and security. Airport Greeters help to streamline the process and connect all the dots from ground transportation to gate arrival and everything in between. I’ve found them very helpful with outside of the norm request like last minute prescription delivery and getting un-ticketed bodyguards security passes to the gate so that they can receive their clients. The key is to have a relationship with a VIP Service provider that has reliable contacts worldwide.
Besides the Iraq’s and Afghanistan’s of the world, are there any locations you see an influx of executive or VIP travel that you would consider dangerous?
Brazil, South Africa and Russia are places that I’m seeing an increase of Entertainment focused travel that have heightened security concerns. All of the above countries are relatively poor and there is a very high occurrence of personal crime as well as tenuous relationships between the ruling government and the common people. While you guys are the experts, my advice is to try and always have the client stay in the hotel chosen for you with help of the local resource and your travel agent.
You interact with Client Security (Bodyguards) as part of their planning the Security Advance. Do you feel that is necessary, or do you ever get the feeling security is “stepping on your toes” in planning trips?
We are part of one team. I find that when it all goes down The Team (Tour Managers, Managers, Assistants, Security, Travel) are so focused in our respective roles that the only “ego” that matters is that of our mutual client.
Can security personnel reach out directly to a service like yours, particularly internationally?
Yes. However, it’s vital that travel is all run through the same source. Streamline communication is very important as the less people you have to deal with in logistic coordination the better.
With international travel, what’s a solid tip that your client’s (and their security) should live by?
Always be respectful of another Country’s customs and be aware of the political environment before you arrive.
For additional VIP and Executive travel Information including bookings, Nikia Morales can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org