Interview

Alpis Flores: The changing needs of travellers

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May 26, 2020

Mexican born and raised, Alpis Flores is Managing Director of Agencia de Viajes Prestigio, based in Mexico.

He speaks five languages, thanks to his Swiss schooling in Mexico and his studies in Europe during the summers. He’s a 1.6 handicap avid golfer and proud father to five-year-old Sofi.

Tell us a bit about your company

Agencia de Viajes Prestigio was founded in 1983 by my father and uncle because they loved to travel. By 1993 my uncle had left, and my mom stepped in. Since then, they’ve successfully built a company that to this day has no website, or Facebook page – if we don’t know you, we won’t work for you.

We are a 100% word-of-mouth agency. I re-joined them after two years in the telecoms sector when I realised that working for myself would be more profitable and fun than working for somebody else.

Valladolid, Mexico

Tell us a bit about yourself

I sold perfumes to supplement my income during college, while working at the family agency. I’ve been to 72 countries in my short but interesting life and will reach 100 before I’m 50. I’ve got two pythons in my office meeting room to greet my clients and suppliers!

Describe a typical working day for you

I open the office personally and am in the ‘bullpen’ by 9am with my team, my sister and my father, taking calls, booking and tailor-making FIT; while my mom takes care of the numbers for the rest of us.

Around 7pm we close the office, but our cell phones are still ringing with existing or potential clients.

How have you adapted your offering to suit changing demands?

We adapt only when the client is ready to. If we adapt by ourselves, our clients won’t follow us that easily and will get lost in new trends without buying trips from us.

We adapt as quickly as a client might need it – but only when we see the need for it, do we show them new ways to go.

Namche Bazaar viewpoint, Namche Bazaar, Nepal

What does luxury mean to you?

To be in the right place, with the right people, for the right amount of money. It can be trekking up a mountain or staying in a luxury camp in Africa.

As long as you’re with the people you need to be with, that is luxury.

How have your clients’ needs changed in the last few years?

They are much more active on instant messaging, therefore our information needs to be extremely fast and accurate.

Tarangire National Park, Arusha, Tanzania

How has technology changed your business?

It’s made it more complicated to close deals, because our experience and knowhow is undermined by OTAs that make the client believe it’s easy to travel in the way that we’re helping them travel.

What are you looking forward to at TFest?

To understand new ways of connecting with suppliers.

What excites you about the travel industry?

Exploring the world. Travelling with my family. Being one step ahead of everybody else. Knowing the world.

What do you value most when you travel?

To learn about a new country. Its location. Its history. Its wars. Its language. Its people. Its cities. Its currency.

Arequipa, Peru

What is one thing you want people to know about you?

You can count on me if you need me.

How do you make sustainable choices?

We try to recycle and have low waste impact by printing on both sides; food waste is used to make compost in the garden, and we make sure the daily logistics spend the least amount of gas as possible.

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