Travel Agent Profile: Eric Grayson
Photo courtesy of Eric Grayson
Most kids worship athletes and movie stars, but when Eric Grayson was 13 years old he spent his free time researching new hotels, destinations and activities and worshipping Isadore Sharpe, the CEO of the Four Seasons.
“In my adolescent opinion, he had built the best luxury brand in the world,” said the now 27-year-old who is the founder of Discover 7 in New York City. “For my Bar Mitzvah, I received some Four Seasons stock and enjoyed owning a tiny piece of the company, but I also had a long game.”
Although he wasn’t old enough at the time to drive a car, he still attended the annual meeting as a shareholder. “I was thrilled to listen to the executives riff on the future of the industry and describe the values and strategies the Four Seasons relied on to make their brand so superior,” he said. “I wasn’t such a luxury travel savant that I understood any of the technical or financial terminology, but I did make sure I had the opportunity to personally meet Isadore Sharpe.”
Today, Grayson said that he loves sharing his passion with others. “We have an opportunity to enrich people's lives,” he said. “Vacations are a time that people look forward to for months or years. The fact that we have a hand in shaping such an important experience is amazing.”
Grayson has had his own amazing experiences, exploring Morocco, Botswana’s Okavango Delta and Bangkok. Over the past 10 years, he’s visited nearly 40 countries and stayed in over 100 luxury hotels and properties.
He says that he started his business with one mission: to offer exceptional customer service. “Clients have responded to that in a very positive way and it has allowed our business to grow quickly through word of mouth,” he said. “We are up over 120 percent.”
Discovery 7 has a global reach, but Grayson says that his company has established a network of global partners through a program called Local Footsteps. “Through this program, we have partnered with a local guide in more than 30 countries,” he said. “These individuals serve as our eyes and ears on the ground. Anything from a new restaurant opening to an interesting local gallery — they are on top of it and we in turn can customize unique itineraries for our clients ensuring they have amazing experiences.”
Recently, Grayson put together a package for a client who is looking to climb Mount Everest. “We take care of everything from matching them up with the best trainers so they are prepared for their climb to taking care of licensing and visas,” he said.
He is proud of how far he has come in the industry and credits service and knowledge for his success. “We pride ourselves in offering unmatched service,” said Grayson. “We do not have business hours. Many of our clients lead very busy lives and do not want to speak about travel in the middle of the work day. Most people in this business are only available after hours for an emergency. We are available at 9 p.m. on a Tuesday just to speak about a trip to Southeast Asia a year from now.”
For more information about Discover 7, visit http://www.discover7travel.com/about/.
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