Shane Ortega is an experienced travel agent based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. After obtaining a degree in Travel and Tourism from Virginia Tech, Shane went on to work for several popular cruise lines, where he furthered his knowledge of the hospitality industry. Now as a full-time travel agent, Shane enjoys helping others book their dream vacation. Having traveled the world, he is well versed in the most popular tourist destinations and attractions.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
Travel has always been a passion of mine, and I always make an effort to visit new places whenever I can. While I am not traveling around six months of the year, I still enjoy helping people plan their dream getaways. I am able to use my personal experiences to help them book the trip of their lives.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Despite some misconceptions, my job is very research-based. I invest a lot of time into every one of my clients. I want to be able to locate the best resorts or hotels while remaining within their budget. My job is to make the entire process run as smoothly as possible.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My ideas or inspirations are based on my personal travel experiences. I consider myself to be well-traveled, and I have had the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful countries in the world. I want to take my knowledge and experiences and help others make the most of their vacations. I typically start by getting to know the client, and then I take the time to come up with a rough itinerary.
What’s one trend that excites you?
How hotels are utilizing technology. This goes far beyond online bookings through a third party platform. Hotels are incorporating sustainability into their accommodations in an attempt to reduce their ecological footprint. They are also enhancing guest experiences through the use of remote check-ins and mobile keys.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
While I wouldn’t say I am an entrepreneur I am well-versed in the business world and I think that the key to success is remaining organized. Handling so many clients at one time is challenging, and I can’t afford to make any minor mistakes. People trust me to plan their vacation so I want to ensure the process is stress-free.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would probably have started travelling more right after university. I wanted to wait until the time was right, but I realized later on that I was just holding myself back. There is never a right time for anything. Do what makes you passionate and just enjoy the ride.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That you can have a luxurious 5-star vacation on a budget. I have so many clients come in wondering what they can do within a certain budget and they are often surprised to learn that there are plenty of destinations that offer luxury amenities at an affordable price point.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Never stop learning. I know that sounds cliché, but the travel landscape is always changing so it’s important to stay on top of industry related trends. I want to be a reliable source of information for everyone using my services, and I do this by keeping up with the latest news from around the world.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I would have to say make an effort to form professional relationships with clients. A lot of my business is referral, so I always take the time to establish an open line of communication. As a result, I get a lot of recommendations from current clients.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I can’t think of one specific setback I had but I do know that I face challenges every single day I am on the job. The pandemic really took a hit on international and domestic travel, so there was a lot to learn in terms of rules and restrictions. A lot of my clients had to unexpectedly shift their travel plans due to unforeseen circumstances. So, I needed to really come up with a long list of alternative travel options.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think an app to help you save money for a trip would be really helpful. A lot of individuals are uncertain of various costs and I think an app could help them shed light on what exactly to expect.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently went out to a restaurant with some of my friends. I am quite often a workaholic, so I think it’s important to have that balance between personal and professional obligations.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I recently started using a software by the name of Technoheaven. It allows me to create custom packages and manage my client’s bookings all in one place. It has really saved me a lot of time and energy.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
In 2015, National Geographic came out with a book called Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places. I recommend this book for anyone looking for an adventure or something to do outside of the regular all inclusive vacation.
What is your favorite quote?
“If you think adventure is dangerous try routine it’s lethal” – Paulo Coelho.
- Never stop learning
- Take the time to travel and explore
- Strike a balance between your personal and professional life.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.