Lansing Community College - Associate's Degree in Business Administration
For Anna Yott, Disney World really is the "happiest place on Earth" — or in the very least, just the place she needed to go to find that certain career spark.
After graduating from college, Anna was unsure what kind of career she'd pursue. But after a trip to Disney World, family and friends began asking her for her advice and Anna enjoyed helping so much, she began to research a career in travel planning.
Today, Anna works as a travel consultant for Dream Come True Vacations. And in her role, she does so much more than booking a hotel room for a client and calling it a day. Anna spends her time learning about her clients' personalities and styles, then making recommendations on where to stay, what to do and how to save them as much time and stress during the trip as possible. It's Anna's little touches — from ordering a cake for a celebration or finding the best spot to view fireworks — that ensure each client has a trip they'll never forget.
You have the ability to make magic every single day in your life, so use your time wisely.
What inspired you to pursue a career as a travel consultant/agent?
I’ve always had a passion for travel and educating myself about new destinations and cultures. After graduating from college, I found myself unsure of how to use my new degree (business administration) and which direction to go, careerwise. I had recently returned from a Disney World vacation and had multiple people ask me for advice on their upcoming trips. Turns out, I loved helping my friends and family with their questions and thought about how much I’d love to do something in travel.
At the time, I thought the travel agent was a thing of the past, but I was very interested in it. I started to do research; reading every book I could on the topic, and from there, I slowly worked to where I am now!
It took a lot of time, trial and error to figure out exactly where I wanted to go with this, but I’m happy for every bump in the road and every lesson I’ve learned. But, more than anything, I’m so grateful for all my mentors and everyone who's helped me find my way in the travel world.
What does your job involve, and what types of responsibilities do you have in your position?
As a travel consultant, I don’t just book a hotel room for a client and call it good. My job is to create an experience for each family I work with.
I typically start off by taking the time to learn about my client’s personality, style, etc. Then, from there, I make recommendations on where to stay, what to do and how to save them as much time and stress during the trip as possible. Little things like making dinner reservations, reserving a cake for a special birthday celebration, or just giving advice on the best spot to view fireworks are what create the whole package and make for a memorable experience. My main responsibility is to make sure each client I work with has a seamless trip that they'll never forget.
What is your favorite part of your job?
When someone returns from a trip they just took and they tell me, “Thank you; our trip was so special because of your help!" or they share a wonderful experience they had during their trip -- that's the best feeling in the world.
Also, I like a good challenge. If a client is looking for something very specific or different and I can find a unique solution, that’s always a fun day.
What challenges keep you awake at night?
Everything! Any time a client leaves before their trip, I'm mentally going over every detail and possible scenario so that I can make sure everything is perfect before they go.
Also, my creativity keeps me awake. I have a lot of projects on the back burner and would love to tackle them all right now. Certain creative outlets, such as my blog, or something like taking a new travel class, can fall to the wayside due to a busy week and these are the times I wish there were more hours in a day.
Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
This is something that I struggle with daily. I may have a client that has a travel emergency at 10 p.m., or a last-minute trip that needs to be booked ASAP. Things like these can blur that line between work/life balance frequently. One thing that works well for me is to take a deep breath (or 20) and walk away. Sometimes a five minute mental break can do a world of good and you can try and restart from there.
Was there ever a moment in your career where you’ve thought, “I made it!” What was it?
I don’t think I’ve ever thought that I’ve “made it” and, to be honest, I don’t really ever think I will. Learning about the world, travel and different destinations is a life-long commitment; you’ll always be learning. And each trip that I work on is unique and special in its own way. Every day is different with different successes and challenges and that’s the way I like it!
What are some of the rules you live by?
You only have this one life; this one chance. Take advantage of each day and every opportunity that you can.
It’s true that if you work a job that you love, you’ll never really work a day in your life. Make a difference for yourself and for others and you’ll find your happiness.
Always try and treat others as you would like to be treated.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
I think passion is a big factor for this line of work. You really need to love the job to be able to do it. But I think you also need to be detail-oriented, willing to continue learning, have great listening skills and the will to adapt to changing times.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?
I would tell myself that each day is gift. You have the ability to make magic every single day in your life, so use your time wisely.
Also, I'd tell myself to stop getting caught up in trying to plan or predict the future; it’s most likely not going to turn out how you plan, anyhow. It can keep you from having an open mind to new opportunities -- ones that could be sitting right under your nose.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
On the next big adventure! I can’t wait to see what five years will have in store for me. Bring it on!