Last week we took a behind the scenes look at the life of the incredible vacation planners in charge of your dream trips.
This week, we spoke to Megan, the original brain behind it all — to find out just a little more about Bella Vita’s origins, her life as founder, and her favorite things about the Bella Vita team.
Take a look below!
Stemming from a childhood trip that made her fall in love with Italy at the age of 13, Megan ultimately moved to the Mediterranean in her adult years, and Bella Vita Travels was a company born from years of experience in the travel industry, a lifetime of love, and a whole lot of insider knowledge about all the best vacation spots.
What started as a travel concierge service in Italy, is now a flourishing luxury travel business operating in Italy, France, Greece, and Spain thanks to Megan and her growing team.
Can you remember the first vacation you planned?
“It was for family friends visiting Florence, the Tuscan countryside and Umbria. They were an elderly couple, although well traveled, so they were willing to do and see lots but at a calm pace. It ended up going so well that they sent me their son’s family later the same year. It was the beginning of our “word of mouth” clientele.”
What’s been the most difficult thing about creating a thriving travel company like Bella Vita?
“Growing so quickly and trying to stay on top of everything! In 11 of the 12 years since starting Bella Vita Travels, we have at least double our business each year. I wear many hats to run the business (from marketing to bookkeeping to business development and when I’m lucky trip planner too), that it is easy to get overwhelmed. Many people think it’s all fun but there is a ton of behind the scene elements that go into planning a trip at the level of excellence we strive to deliver for our clients. This is, and probably always will be, the challenge — if we are lucky!
… And what’s been the easiest thing?
Keeping it passionate. I am a wanderlust addict, and I love what I do, so creating amazing travel experiences for others is a joy. I just hope in the near future someone else could eventually do the accounting!
How do you feel about your team?
“I feel extremely fortunate to have found a group of people who share the same passion and curiosity that I have for travel. We are fairly close knit, willing to share ideas, and assist across the board — even if it’s not one’s assigned client.
Without trying to sound cliche, there is a great sense of teamwork and unity. I often say I was spoiled by ‘my girls,’ and that if and when the time comes to hire another person, there are some big shoes to fill.”
What’s your favorite part about your job?
“There are several but probably the two the most come to mind are:
When I get to describe a particular destination to a client. I recently had a call where a return traveler was deciding between Sicily and another destination. She told me she could sense my face lighting up even through the phone when I spoke about Sicily and she was ‘sold’ on Sicily just by that.
The other would be when we receive post-trip reviews from our clients. It is a big responsibility to deliver one’s expectations and when we are told we have exceeding those, it’s an amazing sense of satisfaction.”
And lastly, what are some of your favorite working memories so far?
Again, there are many of them, but here’s two:
One would be an impromptu vow renewal we did on our home terrace a few years back. This group had done a cooking class with my mother in law on our terrace, and they fell in love with the place. I received a call the next day from one of the men in the group asking where he could surprise his wife with a small ceremony. He wanted a garden like setting with a view “like your home” and I said “why not our home?!” So that evening, we pulled off an unforgettable experience for this couple. It was one of the magical moments in life I won’t forget.
Another would be introducing clients to a Cassata, a typical Sicilian cake made with ricotta and almond paste. I will never forget the look of her face when she bit into her first piece. Tears came to her eyes and she said “I have found heaven on earth.” That was the beginning of a week long adventure on the island that I was eventually told the most special week of this woman’s life so far.”