The ‘Jaj’ of Travel
Travel is so important! It is the gateway that allows you to people and places. We limit our spirits by not getting up and going. We widen our horizons and we learn so much more than what is offered in a classroom!
Years ago, Janine Ellman Cifelli (Partner, Janine Cifelli Representation) was heading to warmer shorelines to launch her hospitality career when her boss, travel guru Bill Faber, noticed she was ‘on the wrong luxury hotel path,’ and convinced her to go to work for him in New York City instead. There, Jaj – as most people affectionately know her – quickly learned the ins and outs of luxury travel sales, reservations, marketing and P.R; and was soon representing properties like Necker Island, Mustique and Ulusaba Private Game Reserve. It’s been a 27 year-long journey during which Jaj has come to represent the best-of-the-best, most exclusive boutique hotels and private islands in the world.
Her passion came about as a sort of happy accident. “It was a funny thing“, she says, “I really did not know what one could do within the industry…I was in the library searching companies and found a company called Resorts Management (RMI) and sent my resume. It was sort of an accident but it was also really a connection with my first boss, Bill. At first I thought I wanted to be on the hotel side – so Bill sent me to work in Williamstown, MA on site at a hotel. After about six months I realized I did not want to work on property and moved to NYC to work for RMI headquarters. We handled reservations and marketing and sales for Caribbean five star hotels and I loved knowing that I was helping people celebrate their free time“. That’s when she knew what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
In over two decades of experience, Jaj certainly has plenty of stories to share (and some that must stay secret, of course). However, there is one story that holds a special place in her heart. “I met Anthony, my husband and business partner, while working for RMI. He, at the time, was working for Virgin Atlantic setting up their corporate sales department. RMI represented Necker Island; part of Anthony’s role was also sales manager for Necker. So we met, and the rest is history!“, she says, looking so in love that before we know it, we’re smiling with her. It’s so refreshing to meet someone as lively and inspiring as Jaj, who lives her dream and makes it her goal to help others make their travel dreams a reality.
Jaj’s work philosophy can be narrowed down to 3 concepts: availability, dedication, and trust. Her passion for travel shines through, so much so that she wears a smile on her face practically all the time whenever she discusses the topic. “My favorite thing about my job is that it’s never the same. We have so much fun educating agents on the hotels we work with, and we love the success that comes out of that!“.