Interview with Konstantinos Bastas

What exactly do you do?
Are you a travel agent?
What makes you an expert?
So who do you work with?
Virtuoso, what’s that?
I have an American Express Platinum Card or Centurion Card; I already receive these benefits!
Do you book airline tickets?
How about Miles tickets?
There is no way that you can be an expert on every country! How can you offer me an authentic experience?
What about team meetings and events?
I wouldn’t consider myself a “luxury” traveler. Can I still work with you?
Your services are too high-end and expensive. Can I afford this?
Why haven’t I heard about you?
Do you plan honeymoons?
I’m interested in working with you. What’s next?


So what exactly do you do?

I am a luxury travel consultant working with both individual and corporate clients in creating personalized travel experiences. Through my proprietary method, I develop travel programs that include transfers, air transportation, hotels, as well as exclusive tours, guided activities and restaurant experiences. In other words, I act as a luxury travel concierge for our exclusive clients.

So are you a travel agent?

No, I am not a travel agent; I am a luxury travel consultant who works exclusively with clients to take care of their every need. I establish long-lasting relationships with our clients, thereby allowing me to understand their travel needs and preferences. Together with my team, I develop a travel plan which caters to each client’s particular needs. How many times has a travel agent come to your home or office to discuss every detail of your trip so you can travel worry- and hassle-free? Together we create memories and experiences that will be remembered for a lifetime.

What makes you an expert?

I hold a Master’s degree in hospitality from New York University, and I have received formal training from the luxury hotel chain, The Ritz-Carlton. I have also been on the restaurant management side of the hospitality business for over 10 years. Anticipating needs, planning to fulfill those needs, and exceeding expectations in service delivery is what I do best.

I understand the needs of the luxury traveler, because I am a luxury traveler myself. Luxury means exclusivity and unique experiences. There is no “right” hotel or tour—everything must be customized. I reach out to travel suppliers throughout the world so that they can understand the specific needs of our clients, and I make sure that they can accommodate these needs.

My wife and I love to explore the world and discover new locations, products, and services for our luxury clientele. Before we recommend it, we live, eat, and breathe it!

So who do you work with?

I am an affiliate of Protravel Inc. which is one of the travel industry’s premiere travel organizations. With over 22 offices worldwide and a network of over 850 agents specializing in luxury travel, Protravel International is able to offer our clients exclusive travel benefits, services, and opportunities. Protravel International is a member of Virtuoso as well as the Ritz-Carlton Stars, a Four Seasons Preferred Partner, Mandarin Oriental Fans, and Rosewood Elite—just to name a few.

Virtuoso — what’s that?

Virtuoso is the industry’s leading luxury travel network. This exclusive, invitation-only organization is comprised of over 330 agencies with more than 7,200 elite travel consultants in 20 countries in North and South America, the Caribbean, Australia, and New Zealand. Virtuoso offers travelers exclusive travel benefits including room upgrades, hotel credit, daily breakfast, and additional amenities as well as exclusive travel opportunities aboard cruise lines, trains, private villa rentals, and much more.

My job is to connect our clients with these Virtuoso offerings and upgrades. Oftentimes, for the same exact room and rate, our clients enjoy hundreds of dollars of unexpected extra value. This is the unparalleled benefit of working with Virtuoso through Bastas Travel Consultants.

But I have an American Express Platinum Card or Centurion Card—I already receive these benefits!

American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts offers exclusive benefits to card members who book via their travel service. Many of these amenities are similar to those offered by Virtuoso. However, because of our direct contact with property sales managers and hotel managers, I am able to confirm room upgrades and amenities, many times at the time of booking. Amex does not do this, and many times upgrades don’t ever occur. (I know this because I’ve had an Amex card for over ten years, and I know and understand the travel and benefits product very well.)

American Express can only do so much. They are in the credit card business, and their travel department works completely differently than the way we do. How many times has an Amex Platinum or Centurion card booking agent ever taken you out for coffee and surprised you with an itinerary more ideal than you could have imagined?

The good news is that you don’t need to have an Amex card or any specific card to receive Virtuoso benefits—just a Virtuoso-affiliated consultant.

Do you book airline tickets?

Yes we do! Often, we have exclusive rates for business and first class travel that are not offered by the airlines directly to the consumers. At times, we also use consolidators who have specifically negotiated rates with airlines on certain routes, saving customers thousands of dollars.

How about Miles Tickets?

If you have Amex Points or airline and hotel miles/points and don’t know what to do, not to worry! We can consult you on the best redemption strategy for your desired route and book your award ticket as well. And yes, we can also work on mileage upgrades too.

I am concerned that you cannot offer me the authentic experience of a country. There is no way that you are an expert in every country!

You are correct. We are not experts in every country; instead, we are experts in a specific style of travel—luxury. However, through our global Virtuoso relationship, we work side-by-side with local partners who are experts in their home countries. These affiliates are able to make your travel authentic and personalized—no bus full of tourists dropping you off at The Hard Rock Café in Rome, I promise!

This also allows for continuous local support to be available for our clients when they are traveling globally. There will be a local contact by your side in every country that you travel to.

What about team meetings and events?

Our global network of contacts allows us to plan meetings and events according to our clients’ needs. We can easily arrange airport transfers, meeting spaces, hotel accommodations, meals, and activities. If desired, we can also be on-site to assure that any necessary needs are taken care of. Most of our leisure clients have extended their work with us in planning their business travel as well—including business trips, meetings, and events.

I wouldn’t consider myself a “luxury” traveler. Can I still work with you?

Luxury, for me, has no one definition; it is a word that must be defined by the individual. For many, luxury is associated with cost—flying in a premium cabin, staying in top hotels, having meals at fancy restaurants. For others, luxury is a feeling—experiencing a new place with loved ones, being immersed in a new culture, or simply having free time.

That being said, I work closely with my clients to create their personally-defined luxury travel experience.

Your services are too high-end and expensive. Can I afford this?

Clients are always concerned that our travel services are too expensive and not in their price range. Because of our multiple partners, we are able to book luxury vacations that fit your budget.

There is a small travel planning fee that we charge which assures that we can allocate the appropriate amount of time and attention to your project needs. Please see our How We Work page for details.

Why haven’t I heard about you?

For me, the best and only form of advertising is referrals. We take great pride in assuring that every client is well taken care of, and as a result, we only take on a select group of clients. I am a relationship person, and I want to know as much as I can about our clients both in the short and long term.

Because of this, I ask that our clients refer us to friends and family who they believe will best benefit from our services. We do not advertise or promote our services—we work organically from each relationship that we build.

Do you plan Honeymoons?

Back in 1974, my parents got married in New York. The evening of their wedding they packed their car and drove to Virginia Beach. Along the way on the Garden State Turnpike—about two hours outside of New York—my newly-wed mother turned to my father and said she was exhausted and had to go to sleep, so they pulled out at the next exit and spent the night at the Marriott on the highway. The next morning they continued their journey down to Virginia.
Clearly honeymoons have changed since then. Perhaps because of that memory that my parents shared with me as a young child, booking honeymoons is a specialty and passion of mine.

I want to help create memories for you and your loved one. I know first-hand the pressures associated with planning a wedding—venues, bands, wedding lists, wedding parties, and even seating arrangements—all unnecessary stresses! I want to be there for you and assure you that once the big day is over, you can celebrate your new beginning with peace of mind. We will work together in creating a honeymoon that you will remember for a lifetime. From laying on the beaches of the Mediterranean, seeing the elephants and lions in Africa, and even sailing the South Pacific on a luxury yacht, we will find the best location to make sure that those few days of your life will be exactly as you hoped — but better.

And if you need help planning that bachelor or bachelorette party, I’m here for that too!

I’m interested in working with you — what’s next?

Great! I look forward to working together. Getting started is very simple—just call me directly at (212) 203-0397 or email me at info@bastastravel.com so we can set up an initial meeting to further discuss your upcoming travel needs. If you are still confused about where to go and when, don’t worry—that’s what we are here for!