Jetset World Travel Named on Inc. 5000's List of Fastest-Growing Companies in the US
An Interview with Lindsey Epperly, Owner & CEO of Jetset World Travel
Jetset World Travel has been named on Inc. 5000, a prestigious list of the nation’s most successful private companies. This distinguished editorial award is a celebration of innovation and has become a hallmark of entrepreneurial success where the biggest names first make their mark, including Pandora, 7-Eleven, and Patagonia. Inc. 5000 ranks companies by overall revenue growth over a three-year period.
This incredible achievement honors the entire Jetset World Travel team of advisors for their hard work and dedication to their clients. Lindsey Epperly, owner and CEO of Jetset World Travel shared what this achievement means to her. “As a founder who took a solopreneur career and scaled this to an entrepreneurial venture, making the Inc. 5000 list is a dream come true. This recognition goes so far beyond me as a one-woman show, we could not have gotten here without our fabulous team of hard working individuals dedicated to putting good into the world as travel advisors. Jetset World Travel has already been known as such a well-respected organization, but receiving this honor further validates that, and I cannot wait to see what our future holds after making the Inc 5000 list.”
Overcoming Industries Crises
We all know what happened in 2020, but let’s revisit this crisis. COVID-19 basically shut down the travel industry. Hotels and resorts were at a standstill, DMCs and tour guides weren’t able to operate their normal services, and travel agencies weren’t able to book travel. It wasn’t clear how long the travel restrictions would be in place. Lindsey was determined to make the most of it.
Before Jetset World Travel, Lindsey was the founder and CEO of Epperly Travel. As the pandemic rocked the travel industry, Lindsey adopted the personal mission of being a beacon during the industry’s darkest hour. At the beginning of the pandemic, she launched Nourish, a networking group designed to keep advisors engaged in meaningful problem solving during the height of the pandemic. Then, she launched the Travel Agent Rebuilding Series, a free 15-video resource available on YouTube, with the intention of creating meaningful dialogue to rebuild the industry stronger than before.
In 2021, Epperly Travel acquired Jetset World Travel, another female-founded agency with a parallel culture and ethos. Lindsey’s goal was to maintain the company culture she envisioned and bring together two innovative powerhouse organizations. In 2022, the two teams combined under the Jetset World Travel brand.
As the travel restrictions from the pandemic lifted, the travel industry faced another hurdle. But that didn’t stop Jetset from powering through. “Jetset World Travel has been through the most incredibly challenging time that our industry has ever seen. And I don’t just mean how the industry was leveled due to the pandemic. We’ve faced a second crisis in the form of sky-high demand paired with a shortage of supply of really good travel advisors to bring these dream trips to life. The team at Jetset World Travel has been working so hard and we’re growing fast to keep up. But make no mistake: our fast growth is intentional and thoughtful. It is really validating to be recognized by a company like Inc., which supports that consistent growth is the sign of a healthy company.”
How This Travel Agency Made the Inc. 5000 List
Jetset World Travel is on pace for another record breaking year in sales and has booked over 2,000 trips in 2023. Lindsey shared three ideas that can be credited to making the Inc. 5000’s list of the fastest-growing companies in the US.
The first: focus. “We have been highly focused on our mission to be gracious travel industry citizens. I believe our suppliers, clients, team and advisors see that. The focus on our mission is important because it gives us something larger than ourselves to work toward. That’s been pivotal during times that are extremely challenging, like what we’ve gone through the past few years.”
The second most important thing that has led to the success of Jetset World Travel is the tenacity of the team. “I have never experienced something like the extreme highs and lows that we’ve seen over the past year. From the leveling of the industry to the upswing of more demand than we’ve ever experienced, this team has been so inspirational in their tenacity to say, ‘We are going to roll with the punches because we know what we do is important. We’ve got to keep doing work that matters for our clients.’ They’re extremely tenacious,” Lindsey said.
The final aspect is the team’s willingness to place community over competition. “We at Jetset do this within our walls and I like to think that we do this outside of our walls, as well, within the travel industry. We know that there is enough business to go around and that a rising tide lifts all boats. We can be that rising tide. It is why we believe in pouring into one another and why we have an extremely collaborative culture. We try to go out into the travel industry and be gracious ambassadors to help one another, regardless of what that looks like in terms of competition. Our advisors possess a very open minded, abundance mentality that has led to our success.”
The Future of Travel Agencies
The resurgence of travelers asking for help and coming to travel advisors in a post pandemic world has been incredible. It has allowed for a travel agency that was a 10-person company going into the pandemic to be able to quadruple in size. A travel agency making the Inc. 5000 list shines a beacon of hope and confirmation that the travel industry is growing and thriving.
Lindsey explained her thoughts on the future of travel agencies:
“As travel advisors, we know what our travelers need and how we can help, but making the Inc 5000 list really validates our roles in the industry. I keep using that word, ‘validates,’ because I feel like this honor truly validates what we do for a living – the special role that travel advisors play in bringing dreams to life and stewarding our clients’ memories around the world. It cannot be overstated enough that it is pivotal work and it’s something that we’re proud of at Jetset World Travel to steward.
The travel agent industry is oftentimes overlooked in terms of a modern approach or an upward trajectory. It’s really easy for consumers to look at travel & hospitality companies and see big advertisements for new resorts opening and new cruise lines. It’s always very obvious that these companies are growing quickly.
On the flip side of that, the travel agent side of things was believed to be dead years ago. After the internet came around, after airlines cut commissions, and after all of these things that should have made this industry obsolete. Often, it is overlooked because popular culture doesn’t believe that travel agencies still exist. More so, popular culture doesn’t believe that a travel agency could exist to provide a modern approach for current travelers of this generation. We’re proving that travel agencies are alive and growing.
Receiving this honor as an Inc. 5000 member shows that travel agencies are here to grow alongside other businesses that are making a difference in the world today. At Jetset World Travel, we believe it’s possible for agencies to bring a fresh and modern take on an industry that common culture has long believed to have been left in the dark ages. It is our job as travel advisors and as agency owners to focus on our modernization, innovation, and bringing the best of ourselves and our graciousness to our clients and to our teams.”
What Makes the Travel Industry Special?
“I am passionate about planning travel because I’m passionate about the fragile little gift that a client is giving us and allowing us the opportunity to bring a trip to life. Clients come to us with these amazing requests, such as ‘I have this idea in the back of my head of a dream vacation and I really want to make it happen,’ or ‘I want to surprise my wife,’ or ‘This trip is for a really important milestone in my family. My daughter’s graduating.’ It’s a vulnerable moment that client is bringing to us, asking if they can trust us with these memories they want to create and cherish forever.
I love the ability to give the client confidence that we can absolutely bring their ideal trip to life. For us, being able to play a small role as travel advisors in our clients’ larger dreams is a very special part of the relationship,” Lindsey shared.
Not Your Typical Host Agency
From the host agency side of Jetset World Travel, it is an incredible honor that we don’t look at our advisors specifically as travel agents, but instead we train entrepreneurs who sell travel. “That is an important distinction and differentiator at Jetset World Travel. We act as a platform on which our advisors can stand. Jetset World Travel’s ceiling is our advisor’s floor. We want them to start at our ceiling because they’re working with a company that gets it – that meets them where they are for their needs so that they can go even further, faster,” said Lindsey.
The fact that Jetset World Travel is being recognized as a company that is fast-growing can only mean that the advisors and affiliates that Jetset hosts are also fast-growing. Those individuals are doing that because they’re marching to the same mission and the same core values that Jetset World Travel is. “I see the individuals that we host looking at the community-over-competition perspective. I see them being extremely tenacious. I see them being gracious travel industry citizens. Truly, their success is our success. And our values are their values. And there’s just a really fantastic relationship there for the team members that we host.”
What's Next for Jetset World Travel?
“I am so excited about receiving this recognition from Inc. because it validates that Jetset World Travel has really made an important impact within the travel industry. I wholeheartedly believe in our potential to make an even bigger mark on the world at large. We have the power to show what a female-founded company can really do.
Moving forward, we’ll have a large focus at Jetset on how we can amplify our current mission and what that looks like daily: how can we each individually be the best version of ourselves so that we show up to work for our team, for our clients, and for our suppliers year over year in a way that creates ripple effects through our mission of being gracious travel industry professionals.
Our travel advisors are making the world a better place. And that to me is a continued ‘what’s next’ for Jetset World Travel.”
Advice from Lindsey Epperly, Jetset World Travel's Owner & CEO
“My advice is that if you have a dream of how you can do things differently or better, it is always, always worthwhile to pursue that dream. So often the world makes us think, especially as women, that pursuing our dreams is selfish. What is selfish is to keep that dream hidden because you’re afraid or because you think that it’s an ego boost to pursue it. It’s selfish to keep your gift from the world.
I think back to all of the insecurities that I have had as a leader over time. I chose to push through those insecurities and I did the hard work of diving into all the questions ringing in my head, like where did this sudden imposter syndrome come from? Why do I feel this way? And why is it so challenging to build a company as a young, female entrepreneur? Had I not really worked through those items, I might have stopped back when I was a solo-preneuer. I might have stopped back when we were a five person company or a ten person company. But instead, I followed that nagging little dream I had of building a modern travel agency that could serve a multitude of individuals well, all while maintaining a focus on that strong core community.
This goes for anyone new to an industry, not just the travel industry. If I hadn’t pursued that dream that kept me up at night, then we wouldn’t be able to make the impact that we do on our team, and on our clients, and on our suppliers. I think that would be a really sad and missed opportunity for the world had I not kept going. That is the advice I would give to young, aspiring entrepreneurs.”