KK Chronicles: Ioana Brooks
Finding a trusted advisor can be tricky and travel is no exception. As the new generation of travel advisors, KKTWW is dedicated to delivering a safe and seamless travel experience while crafting meaningful memories for our clients. How do we do that and how does it set us apart from the rest of the industry? It’s not as simple as offering good service and some added hotel benefits. With visits to over 100 countries (on all 7 continents) and a combined 150 years of valuable industry experience, our talented team of travel professionals offers an unparalleled expertise and a unique ability to exceed expectations through a thoughtful and collaborative approach.
We understand travel planning can be extremely personal, which is why we’ve launched our KK Chronicles series so you can get to know our advisors and get a glimpse into what they’re seeing in the ever-evolving luxury travel industry. Keep reading for our interview with Ioana Brooks, one of our top travel advisors based in San Diego (and check out our previous interview with Nora Parry, too!).
What travel trends are you seeing for the fall?
This fall, many travelers are opting for domestic getaways closer to home, including Napa and Sonoma in Northern California, where the weather is ideal for wine tasting outdoors, biking through the vineyards, or relaxing by the pool. Travelers feeling a bit more adventurous and ready to tackle ever-changing entry requirements are headed to Europe, to enjoy old favorites or explore new destinations alongside few other tourists. Later this fall, after the Atlantic hurricane season, and just when temperatures drop in many parts of the country, travelers will return to the Caribbean and Mexico to enjoy the sun and sand. Regardless of destination, multigenerational travel and villa rentals are trending this fall.
What are your favorite trips to plan for your clients in the fall?
Italy and France are wonderful in the autumn months. Summer crowds disappear and the weather cools, but temperatures are still mild enough to enjoy most outdoor activities. Fall is my favorite time to visit Paris, to stroll through the changing colors and falling leaves in Jardin du Luxembourg. The most vibrant orange and red fall leaves I have ever seen were along the banks of Lake Como in Italy.
What’s your personal favorite hotel to visit in the fall months?
When pumpkin spice lattes first make their appearance, it’s still beach weather in southern California. San Diego’s fall doesn’t make an entrance until late November, if at all. So for fall weather, I enjoy traveling to New York City, and The Mark Hotel is the perfect backdrop. After some shopping and a walk through Central Park, The Mark Bar is a cozy refuge from the crisp air outside to warm up with a drink.
Living in San Diego, what are your all-time favorite getaway?
We are spoiled with year-round warm weather in San Diego, so I seek a change of scenery in the winter, and I head to the mountains for snow. A favorite getaway is Park City, Utah, an easy long weekend trip from San Diego. I can ski on Utah’s signature powder in Deer Valley, and go to Main Street in Park City in the evening for dinner at one of the many lively restaurants.
The logistics of traveling are a little challenging right now—how do you help your clients navigate this tricky time?
I am staying up to date on rules, regulations and advisories, and making sure that my clients have all of the information they need when planning current and future travel. As requirements change, I ensure updates are efficiently communicated.
Do you have any tips on how to approach travel these days?
Patience and flexibility are more important than ever. Uncertainty will not go away anytime soon. Travelers who are returning to a destination should expect that their experience might not be the same as it was in the past. I suggest hiring a private guide when traveling to a destination for the first time. This is a great way to gain a local perspective of the destination, while also supporting the local hospitality industry.
Is there still time to make travel plans for the holidays?
Absolutely, even I have not finalized my holiday travel plans yet! But I am planning to visit Montana with my family. Whether my clients wish to enjoy winter activities, explore a new city, or read a book in a beach chair, there is still time to plan holiday travel. As with all travel right now, it is important to maintain flexibility.
How does working with KKTWW elevate your travel experience?
From the beginning of the planning process through the return home, by working with a KKTWW advisor, travelers have an advocate working behind the scenes to make the travel experience as seamless and memorable as possible. Our relationships with partners around the world translate to a more personalized travel experience for our clients.
What advice do you have for travelers who have never worked with a travel professional before?
Give us a try! Constantly changing rules and restrictions have become a part of the travel experience today, so having an advisor by your side is more important than ever. We have a worldwide network of partners, colleagues, and resources to help navigate the current travel landscape.
What questions do you usually ask a new client on your first planning call with them?
I ask new clients about past travel experiences, including specific highs and lows. By understanding past experiences, both good and bad, I can create a memorable itinerary that will exceed my clients’ expectations. I also ask my clients to tell me how they envision spending their days. Do they prefer to relax, learn more about the destination, or spend time outdoors? This helps my clients really focus on their own priorities, beyond what they might have heard from a friend, seen in a magazine or on social media about a destination.
What sets KKTWW apart from the rest of the industry?
Our team of professional and dedicated advisors sets us apart!
Finally, as a travel expert, what would you never leave home on a trip without?
A great pair of comfortable walking shoes. Walking around (and even getting lost!) can be the best way to explore a destination, by discovering new neighborhoods in a city, hiking in the mountains, or walking along the beach (no shoes required!).