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Travel Advisor Success Stories: Rachel Slabotsky and Shivani Meave, The Beyond Borders Collective



Travel Advisor Success Stories: Rachel Slabotsky and Shivani Meave, The Beyond Borders Collective

Claudette Covey

Success Stories focus on how advisors achieved success. Here’s a look at Rachel Slabotsky and Shivani Meave, cofounders of The Beyond Borders Collective, an affiliate of Jetset World Travel.

How did you get your start as travel advisors?

We started The Beyond Borders Collective in 2020 as a travel blog from a shared passion for adventure and experience-driven travel. Together, we’ve explored all seven continents and over 50 countries (and counting)! At the time, we both were working full time jobs in completely different industries and sharing our travel experiences was a way for us to escape when the world was shut down. Once we began exploring where to take our careers next it became abundantly clear that the answer was right in front of us.

Rachel: In 2023, I took a leap of faith and left my full-time position at a startup company and began down the path of becoming a travel advisor. This was daunting as I had worked over a decade to build my career in my previous industry, not to mention relying on a steady, predictable salary. On the other hand, it was exciting as this was the first time in my life that my work aligned with my passion. We teamed up with Jetset World Travel as our host agency, which has been extremely supportive while allowing us to maintain our autonomy as a small business.

Shivani: While I continue to work at my family business, Rachel being able to take this on full time allowed me to also be a part of turning our blog into a business. I aim to also join her full time when the time is right!

How did you build your business over the years?

Our main focus thus far has been through referrals. Kansas City is such a supportive local community and we’ve established relationships through our networking groups and boards that we are members of. We are also aiming to partner with local wedding coordinators to plan clients’ honeymoons. Finally, we appreciate our friends and family who have followed along our personal travels that have trusted us to plan their travel. Through these channels we have managed to secure some repeat clients and are eager to take on more!

What characteristics make you successful advisors?

Our passion for travel and firsthand experiences are what fuel us and also have led to a majority of our referrals. We focus on luxury and experiential travel at 4.5 to five-star properties, as this aligns with our personal experiences and partner connections. We understand that travel is an investment and seek to identify the experiences that provide the best value for our clients’ budget. We also curate unique experiences that make trips memorable: a sunset picnic in the African bush, a private cooking class at a local’s home, glamping underneath the Northern Lights or a professional photoshoot to capture a stunning landscape. It’s the unique elements and details that make the difference.

We also serve as our clients’ advocates before, during and after their trips and are ready to go the extra mile when things don’t go smoothly.

What have your greatest challenges been?

Rachel: We launched our business while we were both pregnant with our firsts. Shivani actually signed the agreement with our host agency the same day that she ended up getting induced! Finding a balance between raising our children and building our business (which we collectively refer to as our other baby) has its challenges. The first six months were the greatest adjustment and now we feel like we have a better footing.

Shivani: Just like any industry, there is a lot to learn when you first get started. It took some time for us to get the lay of the land, look at best practices and integrate all of that into how we want to run our business. Furthermore, the travel industry is an ever-changing landscape of new travel restrictions, health advisories, visa requirements and airline policies, all of which can change rapidly.

What have your greatest accomplishments been?

The greatest metric of success is our repeat clients and referrals. When our connections not only trust us to plan their trips, but also refer us to their networks it’s extremely rewarding. We believe that travel sparks curiosity and open-mindedness and so we try to inspire our clients to travel to destinations otherwise not considered. We recently convinced a client to pivot from spending their holiday in a touristy part of Europe to the Colombian coffee region of South America. Without trust, this wouldn’t be possible.

On a personal front, as new moms, we remain committed to traveling – both with and without our kids. We have left our four- and six-month-olds behind to visit South America, Africa and Japan. At the same time our babies have been across all four domestic time zones. All this to say we are here to encourage and help our clients plan trips when it can seem unrealistic or overwhelming. We recently helped another young mom plan a getaway overseas to see Taylor Swift. We also are scoping out African safari destinations – traditionally geared toward couples – that are expanding and providing family-friendly accommodations. Shivani recently returned from safari in Botswana and got to experience this firsthand.

What tips can you provide advisors new to the industry?

Find a niche that aligns to the travel you are most passionate about. This will help you come off as authentic and build an added level of trust with your clients.

Be a sponge. There is so much to learn in this industry and information changes all the time. We’ve spoken with advisors that have been in the industry for 15-plus years who are still learning something new every day. Take this as an opportunity to grow and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Good advisors don’t need to have all the answers, they just need to know the right resources who can find the answers.

If you are considering starting your own business, join a host agency. Put in the time to research and interview agencies to ensure you find one that is willing to provide the right level of support to meet you where you are in your career. We love being a part of Jetset World Travel. The amount of support from fellow advisors and the level of service from preferred partners is invaluable. In this industry, connections go a long way.

Lastly, manage client expectations appropriately; over communicate, if necessary. Travel is a deeply personal experience, and each client has unique preferences, needs, and budgets. By communicating expectations ahead of time, you can ensure the most positive travel experience for your client.

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