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KK Chronicles: Libby Brown

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Libby Brown KK Chronicles

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 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 Libby Brown, one of our top travel advisors based in DC (and check out our previous interview with Maggie Jones, too!)

We know you’ve loved to globetrot since childhood —what was the first memorable trip you took, and what made you decide to pursue travel as a career?

The first memorable trip I took was to the UK with my mother and grandmother.  We started in London with a stay at The Goring (still one of my favorite hotels), went to Wimbledon, and then spent a few days exploring the private gardens of the Cotswolds. In terms of pursuing a career in travel, planning was always as fun to me as traveling.  I was a client of KKTWW for years and loved the perks of working with them but always wanted to map the details out myself.

As a KKTWW travel consultant, what are your specialties?

My biggest focus is Europe, which also happens to be one of my very favorite destinations.  I plan a lot of travel for families with young children, multi-generational groups as well as honeymoons.  Europe is such a diverse place and offers something for everyone, which I just love.

What trends are you seeing for travel this fall?

Travel is back!  There is tremendous pent-up demand, and clients are starting to view international travel as attainable again.  People are so eager that they’re even squeezing in long-weekend trips overseas to places like Lisbon and Paris, and I have a lot of families who are spending the holidays in Europe this year.  I also see a lot of requests for once-in-a-lifetime trips, as I think that Covid has given people a new eagerness for these experiences.

You have two adorable boys! What are your top travel tips for family travel?

This is my favorite question! International travel with children is far more attainable than people think — in addition to being extremely rewarding. Pick visually stimulating cities to keep kids entertained, don’t pack your days too full, and try to find a travel advisor with children or at least experience in family travel to help craft an itinerary that will keep your entire family happy.  Managing expectations is also important – the trip won’t look like an adult-only trip, but the overall experience can be far more special.

​Which cities are the best for family travel?

London is absolutely the best.  I also love Amsterdam, Rome, and Munich (at Christmastime).  These cities are visually stimulating for kids and offer a wide range of activities and food so everyone in the family will be happy.  Munich at Christmastime is magical for everyone.

What are your favorite hotels in Europe, and why?

Palazzo Avino in Ravello is a fabulous family-owned property with the best views in all of Europe. In London, The Goring and The Milestone are so authentically British and come with some of the most personal services anywhere. They are also wildly family-friendly, which I love. Hotel Sacher in Vienna also has a feeling of authenticity combined with fabulous service and one of the best hotel breakfasts anywhere. The Waldorf Astoria in Amsterdam is relatively new but steeped in history through its rambling townhouses. Belmond Cipriani is a true gem and serves as a perfect oasis in the chaos of Venice. Finally, the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park is the epitome of luxury inside and out, with great connecting options for parents traveling with children.

Many travelers view Europe as a summer travel destination. What are the perks of traveling to Europe in the fall, and what are your favorite European destinations for an autumn getaway?

Early fall is shoulder season in most resort destinations, and we can plan trips for clients at a fraction of the cost and with far fewer crowds. Portugal and the Amalfi Coast are two of my favorite destinations for this time of year, as the weather is still wonderful.  Late fall, leading up to Christmas, is also a great time to travel to Europe because of the Christmas Markets.  Munich and the rest of Bavaria serve as the hub of this, but the markets can be found in almost every other city.  They all feel local and festive, and even our children have formed some of their favorite travel memories around our Christmas Market trips.

Which destinations within Europe are your favorite?

London is my favorite city in the world and is the perfect starting point to explore the rest of the UK. And Italy is always a good idea, offering something for everyone – including fabulous food. I also love Portugal right now, as it is a manageable size, and there are multiple places you can easily visit within a week — from the city (Lisbon) to the beach (Madeira), to wine country (Douro Valley).  I also love Scandinavia – it is a very underrated destination. Cities like Copenhagen and Stockholm are beautiful and easy to navigate, and there is so much to explore in each country. (Even Finland in the winter if you want a true Christmas experience!).

What advice do you have for first-time clients who have never worked with a travel professional before?

A lot of clients are used to being in control of their own travel, and it can be hard to give that control to someone else.  Be patient!  We are experts and do this for a living and are always working non-stop to confirm every detail.  Also, be upfront about the budget and dates, as it makes the planning process far more efficient (which benefits everyone!).

How do you facilitate the perfect trip for your clients on high-pressure occasions?

I like to start the process with a phone call to get to know the clients and understand what they’re looking for in a trip.  We then start big — a long list of destinations and hotel possibilities and narrow it down to what is most exciting for them.  Then we are meticulous with details and schedules to ensure everything is set to their expectations.  Even if it is a last-minute trip, we try hard to keep the same process in place!

How does KKTWW elevate the travel experience for its clients?

Our personal networks and the relationships that KKTWW has in the industry set our agency apart.  Collectively, our team knows someone at each hotel or within each hotel organization.  We work with our partners to ensure the best on-the-ground experience for our clients, and craft a personalized stay for our travelers at each destination. The perks we have to offer are invaluable!

Finally, as a travel expert, what would you never leave home on a trip without?

My Away suitcase, my Google Sheets full of travel notes and recommendations (which is constantly being updated), and most of the time, my children.

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