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In Conversation with our favourite US Travel Agents

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The US was where LTR Co-Founder Andrew Loyd first gained experience of private estates, managing several for high-profile American families. In the last two decades, Loyd & Townsend-Rose has established itself as the leading bespoke travel company for discerning American visitors to the UK and Ireland. We have forged close-knit friendships with many US tour operators and love curating unique and memorable travel itineraries for their clients. From visiting the iconic Highland Games while staying in a grand Scottish castle with full staff to antique shopping in the Cotswolds or private dining in the capital’s most exciting restaurants and experiencing the top golf courses, we organise each and every detail for our visitors. We are proud and honoured that our vacation and concierge services have become among the most trusted and sought after for US travellers. In our latest blog we chat to a few of our closest US travel agents, from Manhattan to Little Rock, Arkansas, and find out more about their travel inspirations, passions and plans for the new year, as well as hidden gem destinations and what  they love about working with us!

In the first of our series chatting to the travel world’s movers and shakers, we meet the fabulous Mollie Fitzgerald from Frontiers Travel, based in Pennsylvania and an intrepid traveler!

What is something special you can share with us about Frontiers Travel and what is your own passion in travel?

In 1969, Frontiers was started by my parents and is today owned by my brother, Mike Jr and I.  We branched out to create “Frontiers Elegant Journeys” which caters to the fully independent traveler.  One of the cornerstones of my philosophy is the “lost art of listening”.

I am a die-hard Atlantic Salmon fisherman and now look forward AVIDLY to annual pilgrimages to beloved rivers in Iceland, Russia and Norway – my Arctic summer – sometimes I feel like I never get to wear my summer wardrobe!

I love exploring exotic and hard-to-get-to places – like Camp Leakey in Borneo, Easter Island, the upper reaches of Burma, the steppes of Mongolia, etc…

Having been in the industry for so many decades how have you seen travelers needs change, particularly in the recent past?

At the highest end, I’ve noticed a transition from those solely seeking the “experience of luxury” (i.e. copious tins of caviar, champagne-filled bath-tubs, etc) to an appreciation for the “luxury of the experience” (i.e. private entrée access, after-hours visits, and bespoke excursions)

Where would you choose for the ultimate honeymoon especially in our current climate?

There is no one answer to this! My ideal honeymoon would be India – start Shakti Himalaya in the mountains, paired with a little Rajasthani indulgence (maybe The Serai in Jaisalmer) and end with a few nights in Maldives.

What do you love about Loyd & Townsend Rose?

Andrew has mastered the aforementioned “Lost Art of Listening”; so he knows how to match the clients’ personality with a property and then he “gets” the USA traveler so can customise the whole experience to a T!

A very big thank you to Mollie Fitgerald from Frontiers Travel for taking the time to answer our questions so insightfully.

Next up we welcome Laura Blair from InVillas based in Greenwich, Conneticut, who has kindly agreed to speak to us.

You work with such fabulous villas and private homes have you seen an increase in travelers choosing independent properties over hotels in these times?

Absolutely, private, luxurious homes are much more secure in these uncertain times.

What do you see are the advantages of choosing villas and houses over hotels now that we are living in a period where people value privacy and seclusion more than ever before?

It is much easier to monitor the staff and safety protocols for all occupants in a small private setting.

In your years of travel which place has stood out to you as being an amazing destination, off the beaten track, for those looking for something memorable and a little different?

Well, places that used to be off the beaten track are not as much anymore but many still maintain their authenticity such as Puglia, Italy, a region I love.

Finally, why do you love working with LTR?

LTR works very much the same way my company does in that we stay small with all hands on deck, knowing our product and regions well, to deliver the best possible experience to our clients.

Again, thank you very much to Laura Blair for taking time to answer these questions for us.

Next up we have Ellison Poe from Poe Travels in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA who took over Birkhill Castle in Scotland a few years ago.  Some pictures below.

Where are you based Ellison and what inspired you to start Poe Travel?

My parents, Fred and Tina Poe, founded Poe Travel 62 years ago….I’ve grown up in the business and you could say that travel is my DNA.

We are fans of your travel magazine, PoeGoe, what do you have coming up in the next issue that excites you?

Funny you should ask this, as Margaret Kemp, my business partner, and I are having a meeting with Katherine Wyrick who writes PoeGo in the next couple of weeks.  I do know that it will be a virtual PoeGo and want it to have a positive tone of voice for travel moving forward.  It is so tricky right now as I know you understand …. I want it to be inspiring and thought provoking without a big “sales pitch” as we just don’t know what 2021 will look like yet … good news about the vaccine.

The face of travel is changing, what do you think will be popular for international travelers in 2021?

The tsunami of travel is going to hit most likely the end of 2nd quarter of next year … but that is just a guess …. everyone I know is itching to get back to Europe … and I think LTR is in a brilliant position as I think most will want to use a villa/house as “home base” and travel from there ….

Finally, what do you love about working with LTR?

Obviously, Andrew’s love of wigs!

At Loyd & Townsend Rose, we help our clients organize luxury vacations to the UK. We feature grand and opulent accommodation, including historic castles and magnificent, quintessentially British stately homes for an unforgettable stay.

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