Nothing surprises me,” says Stacy Fischer-Rosenthal, President of Fischer Travel Enterprises, of her clients’ myriad requests. “As long as it’s legal, I’ll make it happen.” A hospitality industry veteran with over thirty years of experience, Fischer-Rosenthal and her father, Bill Fischer, who founded Fischer Travels a generation ago, work with their team of thirty, based in midtown Manhattan, to satiate the wanderlust of the world’s ultra-wealthy elite. Together, they are constantly pushing the boundaries of what defines luxury, and luxury travel, forward, making what most perceive as impossible and out of reach, a tangible reality.
“We have clients who have started with us fifty years ago,” she explains of her loyal clients, all of whom pay hefty dues of approximately US$100,000 per annum to join her roster of high-profile jet setters. “They have traveled with us, their children have traveled with us, and what we’re finding now, which is a beautiful thing, is that their children are becoming clients because they’re so accustomed to working with the people at Fischer. We watched them grow up, we know what they like, we know what ticks the box when it comes to delight and really exceptional offerings, and as they’re now entering their lives, whether they’re in their mid-twenties, going on honeymoons, or later, having their own families, it’s all building into a new age.”
She cites those who are at the top of their respective fields in finance, law, real estate, and entertainment, as her primary clientele, also tapping into the Silicon Valley start-up world. Their service is so exclusive, that they’ve managed to keep their presence offline— they need only rely through word of mouth. “We’re very adaptable and incredibly resourceful,” she explains of her company’s ability to cover the gamut of needs, and to anticipate them even before they’re requested. “What’s so nice for our clientele is that they have flexibility when traveling and can be impulsive—their itineraries are always fluid—without having to deal with what it takes to make it all happen, because we’re available to them 24/7, no matter where they are in the world,” she says.
Recently, Fischer-Rosenthal’s clients have been heading to hotspots like Antarctica, the Maldives, Iceland, St. Barths, Courchevel, Gstaad, and, in anticipation of the 2020 Olympics, Japan. Their requests can include anything from chartering a Boeing 737 for a surprise birthday party in California’s wine country and hiring chef Thomas Keller and his team to cook an intimate dinner; to securing seats at the most coveted eateries in the world, like Jiro in Tokyo; planning for a summer-long sojourn to Europe for a family; or preparing for a last-minute surf safari in Panama. “I always believe in my heart that there is a room and a table somewhere being held by somebody,” she explains, “and it’s just about how do we make this happen to make it ours?”
She finds that her clients’ primary motivation for traveling is to find respite from their high-intensity work environments. “[They] value time to reconnect with themselves and their families. Often, they want to detach by surfing, hiking, biking, exercising, and practicing meditation and yoga,” she adds. “They’re really, really looking at experiential travel too. What we do is to listen to the clients and what their travel goal is, and through guidance and relationships with people that we know on the ground, to create those lifelong memories. Maybe we have them get a little outside of their comfort zone.”
Over the years, with increased technology and ready access to information available to all travelers, could the same service be replicated online? Not a chance. “It’s almost information overload,” she argues. “What I’m finding is that people are so limited with time, they don’t want to spend it trying to research something and trying to figure out if this is going to be the right quality or experience. When people think about going to the best in their trade or industry, they want to go to the person who has that experience, but also people on the ground. It’s not like we’re just booking a hotel… there are so many different dimensions and levels in which we service the client. They want to go in to a restaurant, but do they want to go to a private table in the kitchen? Maybe we create one if it doesn’t exist. We’re always trying to just up our game.”
“When it comes time to putting money down, and making sure that your time is going to be best spent per dollar, and not making a mistake, people are going to look to me to send them the experience, the options,” she explains. No detail is overlooked in the process of crafting multiple travel proposals per client, some of which, can be 60-100 pages in length, and include everything from security details to floor plans. “We give them all the tools… and the vendors that you find online are not going to be the same vendors that are vetted through our company. We spend an enormous amount of time traveling around the world to make sure that these people are an extension of who we are and that they’re going to really handle them with care.”
Another point Fischer-Rosenthal makes about the Fischer Travel experience, is just how collaborative and optimal it is, beginning with her staff. “The goal here is that we work as a team. We are very, very passionate about what we do. Most travel companies are independent contractors who have their own set of clients,” she says. “All of our clients are actually Fischer Travel clients, so we all pull on our strengths and understand each other weaknesses, and the assistance, the people who are coming in, a travel consultant or two, who are understanding the hotel that we book and reconfirming and triple conforming, they understand the culture here.”
Fischer-Rosenthal and her team also travel a few times a year as a group to put theory into actual practice. “We go to a destination where we tour the hotel, we talk about the pluses, the minuses, the benefits, and who we could see selling this to. We also take little trips. We fly privately, so [the team] gets to see the whole experience of leaving from Teterboro. We take them through the motions, so that when they’re on the phone, they can articulate from an experience rather than reading from a brochure. Nothing is like doing it yourself.”
Helping those who have it all and have seen it all, to feel delight in something new, seems an impossible task, but Fischer-Rosenthal constantly delivers. Her key is to remain humble and full of gratitude. “We’re always asking for feedback and information, and trying to make things unique and individualized, adding in those thoughtful gestures which go a long way, and I think that when you receive an email from somebody who has everything in the world and has everything at their fingertips and can work with anybody they choose, that says, “Thanks,” or “Oh my gosh, incredible,” it all becomes worth it.”