We had the good fortune of connecting with Leah Kirgis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leah, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Having been in the industry since 2005, I spent many of years building up my book of business and list of clientele. I always toyed with and liked the idea of going Independent and starting my own company and brand but could never find the time to set aside, as an employee in travel, for the many intricacies required in starting my own business. I loved the thought of being independent and having the capability to work from any corner of the world, which I couldn’t always do as an employee.
When the pandemic hit the industry like a ton of bricks in March 2020, I was extremely worried about the future of my beloved industry. Like many others, the crisis eventually caught up and I was left unemployed in early April of 2020. I found myself absolutely devastated and in complete and utter disbelief. After 2 weeks of wallowing, I sat down with a pen and paper and started to think about my future and the future of travel.
My thoughts were….People still love to travel. People still WANT to travel. This pandemic can’t last forever. When travel returns, it’s going to return with a vengeance. Why not take this down time of being locked in my house (there were only so many walks a day that my dog could handle) and make the most of it so that I’m officially ready for return of travel?
So I did just that. I first came up with names, researched what names were available in the state of California, wrote down the steps that I needed to take, etc. Little by little, and step by step, World of Luxury Travel began to take shape and officially became a business on May 14, 2020.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
It’s all about status you don’t have to earn!
I’ve spent years building personal and professional relationships with the world’s top hoteliers, cruise lines, tour companies, and private villa, jet, and yacht charter companies around the world. These relationships, combined with our industry affiliations, mean you often benefit from unmatched perks during their trip, at no additional cost to the consumer.
At your favorite luxury hotels, perks can include room upgrades, complimentary breakfasts, resort spending money to use toward spa treatments or dining, early check-in, late check-out, and much more. Love to cruise? Perks can include extra shipboard credits, exclusive shore excursions, and more. You also receive the added bonus of speaking with the same dedicated advisor who knows your preferences and customizes your travel to fit all of your ultimate travel goals and needs.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love San Diego! After moving here 18 years ago, I officially call San Diego home. A visit from a friend or relative always starts out with an airport pick-up followed by drinks and bites along the water with a view of the San Diego skyline at Island Prime/C-Level to set the tone for the visit. It’s a beautiful city and it’s so nice to sit and take in the view after a flight.
I always spend a day in La Jolla Village which starts out with breakfast/brunch at The Cottage (Hi Jason and Trevor and team), followed by walking it off around the village…shopping and spending time down at The Cove to watch the seals. A trip to La Jolla Village wouldn’t be complete without lunch at George’s Ocean Terrace followed by a quick wine tasting at We Olive on their intimate, ocean view patio. It truly is the perfect day!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
A very big shoutout to Marianela Ariza who took me under her wing back in 2005 and allowed me to learn and grow, throughout the next decade, into the advisor that I was becoming. Another big shoutout to Wendy Burk for pursuing me and for assisting me with VIP leads along the way. I perfected the art of travel at Cadence Travel along with the partnership of Virtuoso Travel, an exclusive, invitation-only, global network of the top 1% of luxury travel providers globally.