Her first paying job lasted all of three days, travel agent Annie Davis said. She was a flight attendant for a fledgling airline that went belly up.
“Quite a disappointment,” she recalled.
But it led to work as a founding member of another airline, Midway — and in time, to a career sending others around the world.
Davis, 45, went on to become president and owner of Palm Beach Travel in Manalapan at a time when much of the traditional travel industry has been fundamentally reshaped by online options.
“We are the new generation of store front travel agencies,” she said.
Her agency specializes in things travelers don’t necessarily find just anywhere, she said, including “first class and business class airfare, international travel, luxury travel, tours, safaris, private islands.”
And yes, this gig has lasted more than three days. The agency grew from one agent (her) to five and just celebrated its third anniversary.
Name: Annie Davis
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Where you live now: Hypoluxo Island, FL
About your company: Palm Beach Travel is a boutique luxury travel agency located in Plaza del Mar in Manalapan. We are one of the few store front travel agencies in Palm Beach County specializing in first class and business class airfare, international travel, luxury travel, tours, safaris, private islands, unique travel, private jets, private yachts, American Express Platinum and Centurion Travel.
How your business has changed: When I first opened Palm Beach Travel, I was the only agent. Within 6 months, we had so much business we had to expand. We now have 5 agents and are looking into expanding our square footage. I am also very proud to share that since opening three years ago, I have been named the world’s only American Express Travel Insider for the British Virgin Islands, and one of two for Dubai. We have also just expanded our cruise department and have been planning some great trips for our clients!
First paying job and what you learned from it: My first paying job was at an upstart airline. We were only in business for three days. Quite a disappointment for my first job! From that experience, I gained the skills to be a founding member of a second airline, Midway Airlines. Midway Airlines ran successfully from 1993 until the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
First break in the business: My biggest break in business was the day my first airline shut down. I was watching the news story at a restaurant about the airline closing. I started talking to the man sitting next to me about it. Turns out he happened to be involved in another airline. He asked me to give him my resume. The rest is history, my travel and aviation career took off (literally)!
Best business book you ever read: Money: Master The Game, by Tony Robbins
Best piece of business advice you ever received: I have had the opportunity to meet Tony Robbins personally. I attended his Unleash the Power Within and Business Mastery seminars and gained some sound business advice. The piece of advice he gave me personally was, “Where focus goes, energy flows.” I live by that now and it has helped me make Palm Beach Travel one of the top travel agencies in the country.
What you tell young people about your business: The travel business is always evolving. You have to stay current with travel trends and new technology. Because of the Internet, the world is becoming a smaller place, and people want to see it. There are a lot of opportunities in travel related fields. Especially in South Florida.
What do you see ahead for Palm Beach County? I see great things for Palm Beach County! I am happy to both live and own a business in this great area. We are seeing record numbers for tourism. I see the tourism numbers continuing to rise and Palm Beach County continuing to be a great place to live and own a business.
Where we can find you when you are not at the office: On a sailboat! My family and I have always sailed. My children are great sailors now too! You will find me sailing our crystal clear blue waters if I am not in the office.
Favorite smartphone app: Uber - Can’t live without it!
What is the most important trait you look for when hiring? You must be self motivated. I will give you all the tools you need to be successful but you need to have the motivation to take what I give you and run with it.