Lia Batkin – Co-founder of In the Know Experiences

Long gone are the days when a local travel agent was your go-to source of information when booking a vacation. In fact, brick-and-mortar travel agents are nearing extinction. Instead, websites such as Expedia, Travelocity, and Hotwire have captured the market and made it easy to compare destinations and book flights, hotels, and rental cars from the comfort of your living room. But just because you check reviews, book in advance, and pay a fair price does not guarantee that you will maximize – or even enjoy – your experience. And while there are many online resources to help you identify worthwhile activities and restaurants, the time it takes to sift through the deluge of information is neither practical nor does it provide any assurances.

Let’s face it, short of having a friend who resides in our preferred destination, the most effective way to get credible advice and to ensure an enjoyable, fulfilling experience is to seek the guidance of an expert. That’s where Lia Batkin and her company come in. Launched in 2007 as a result of one catastrophic vacation, Lia Batkin and her partner Seth Kaplan combined their knowledge of luxury consumers, VIP marketing, and entrepreneurial spirit to create In The Know Experiences, an exclusive travel and lifestyle consulting agency. In The Know provide clients with personalized experiences, insider knowledge, and tailored itineraries.

One-on-One With Lia Batkins

We reached out to Ms. Batkin to try and get an inside perspective of this intriguing company and industry:

High-end consumers are looking for curated experiences with no surprises, but they are also looking for unique experiences which can distinguish their vacation from those of their peers. What types of experiences are you able to tailor for your clients?

It really depends on the client, we specialize in unique experiences. The sky is the limit for our clients. We can do anything, from attending a film festival, or a trip to Miami for Art Basel, or something that is more food & wine focused, and anything that has more of an experiential/learning/out-of-the-box twist to make that trip the most memorable trip someone has ever taken. Everyone wants to be wowed and have their own story to tell.

What means do you use to gather the inside information that you need to build fulfilling experiences for your clients?

Prescreening must be important?It’s important to know the client, and really discuss what they are looking for in an experience. Ask them what they like and what they don’t like.

What types of people are using your services (age range, etc.)? Are they all high net worth individuals?

We work with VIPs, CEO’s of fortune 500 companies, celebrities as well as families. We book everything from destination weddings, honeymoons, bachelorette parties etc.

In your experience, what are the most common reasons customers have for planning such a curated holiday?

Is it always a simple pleasure trip or are they traveling to celebrate or perhaps fulfill a dream?Family travel is the most common travel, people save up all year to have that one memorable experience with their families – where they can sit back and relax. Everyone wants to be wowed and have their own story to tell.

How affordable are experiences booked with In The Know Experiences? May I ask the current average price per trip?

It really depends on where you want to travel, and what you want to do. We also have a membership program for those who travel frequently. I think the biggest misconception about luxury is that it has to be expensive; therefore anything that is ghastly overpriced is considered luxury, which it is not.

How have you seen this industry change since the company’s inception in 2007?

I do think “luxuries” are expanding to mean and explain a lot more aspects in the travel field. The Millennial is spending more on travel, where past generations haven’t.

What differentiates In The Know from its competitors?

In The Know creates once in a life time, memorable experiences. There is no limit, and we can make anything happen. Also, every recommendation we make, is a true recommendation. We will never make a recommendation if we have not yet tried it. Anyone can book a room or a flight online, but what makes clients keep coming back to their travel professional are the “little something extras”/ the personalization of knowing their likes and dislikes.

One-on-One With Lia Batkins

What do you like most about working in this industry?

Interacting with people, and really see a trip come to life. When a client tells you it was the most incredible experience of their life, and you know that you have wowed them.

What is one of the coolest trips that you have ever planned – one that you would like to have taken yourself?

We once planned a 5 month trip to every continent. We had a couple travel with their favorite chef to 5 of the best food destinations in the world. We chartered a yacht for a client’s 40th birthday and flew in one of the biggest stars in music to perform in front of 20 of this closest friend in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Lastly, the concept of “luxury” is quite subjective. What is your personal definition of “luxury”?

Luxury travel is what YOUR personal luxury is. It could be decompressing on a Yoga Retreat, it could be getting to stay at a new/modern city hotel with all the newest gadgets, it could mean by passing the line of hotel reception and getting checked in inside your room, It could be going to a country you never thought you would get to see, and it could be as simple as sleeping on the softest sheets.

Seth and I are travelers, and just like everyone else, we decided to book a trip through the internet, not knowing any of the local places, the weather, the hotel etc. After that trip, we realized the importance of travel agents, and wanted to appeal to consumers just like us. If you are spending money on something so important to you and it ends up being a disaster, when it really should be a memorable experience, it’s frustrating; you don’t realize you need guidance when you have the power of the internet – but the truth is: you do. Both Seth and I had been in luxury before; we wanted to marry our passion for travel with luxury to create the ultimate experiences.

One-on-One With Lia Batkins

Article Written by Sabrina Tessier.

Maxine Genier

Maxine Genier

Maxine is an adept of design, photography and online marketing. She lives in Gothenburg, Sweden with her husband and two beautiful daughters. She spends her leisure time exploring Europe with her family to perfect her skills as a travel photographer. She can be found in her spare time, strumming her guitar.
Maxine Genier