The Chamber Review January/February 2019 - Page 18

CC: Working in the travel industry, what is your greatest travel luxury?

Ms. Merkel: I travel frequently, that in itself is a luxury I haven't had in the past. I am working on growing my luxury business so I am planning a river cruise for next year, which is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I try to use premium and luxury cruise lines and luxury resorts whenever I travel. Personal experience is key for a travel agent.

CC: Can you share a few tips that would make traveling easier for all of us?

Ms. Merkel: If you haven't used a travel agent in the past, you should. We can save you so much time, money and frustration. It's my job to think of all the little details, the things you may not know or think about. Beyond that, my best piece of advice is to invest in Global Entry and TSA Pre-check if you travel internationally. It saves so much time when going through customs.

CC: What are you most passionate about?

Ms. Merkel: Besides my grandchildren, I'm most passionate about travel. I wasn't able to travel much while I was younger, but now that my children are grown, it's all I want to do. There is so much of the world I haven't seen, and before I get to the point I can no longer travel, I want to see as much of it as I can.

Sheldon Baker is CEO of Clovis-based brand marketing communications firm, Baker Dillon Group LLC and a Chamber member. He has created numerous marketing communications and public relations campaigns for well-known health companies and brands. Sheldon can be contacted at