What’s the point of taking a vacation if you have to work hard to make it happen? If you are looking to go on a trip with colleagues or a truly relaxing trip and be able to take in the sights and enjoy the experience without having to worry about where to go or what to do, you cannot miss this episode! Today, the CEO and creative brain behind Lugos Travel, Shane Mahoney, joins Michelle Seiler Tucker to discuss how they’ve taken luxury vacation to the next level and how a well-planned vacation can benefit your business as an entrepreneur. Find out all about it – from getting a quote in just 5 minutes, beginning-to-end travel support, and extraordinary adventures for their clients to enjoy, whether a personal or business getaway, to a custom, full-production, reel to real experience, and all these while giving back to the community.
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Extraordinary Vacations With Shane Mahoney
I’m excited to have a good friend of mine from a mastermind that we are both members of. I have been a member for several years. Let’s introduce Shane Mahoney. He has built a global business in the industry that everyone loves. What industry can that be? Luxury travel, of course. Everybody loves to travel in the United States and internationally.
He has an uncanny talent for creating unforgettable and highly unique experiences. Isn’t that what life is all about? It is creating the experience and memories. Shane found Lugos Travel in 2011 after a lifetime of living and traveling overseas. As a CEO and creative brain behind Lugos Travel, Shane puts together custom luxury adventures and meaningful experiences that are out of the ordinary. They are extraordinary, thrilling, and guaranteed to delight his clients.
I love that you also manage a nonprofit organization that matches donors with Travel2GiveBack travel services that donate a percentage of all your travel bookings to your charity of choice. I love it when business owners take a nonprofit approach to align that with their business, values, and core beliefs to help give back to the community. Well done, Shane, and welcome to the show. Why don’t you tell our readers how you got started in the travel industry. What’s your background? What were you like at the little Shane running around like a little 2-year-old, 3-year-old?
Thank you, Michelle. I appreciate the time to be on your show, connect with your readers and be able to share some of the tips in the industry and things that will help your travels but also possibly your business too and insights into that.
One of the big reasons I wanted to bring you on to the show is because this is a business show, and we have million-dollar, billion-dollar exits that we talk about and what get smart business hacks but entrepreneurs got in the business, to do what? It is to have financial freedom, a better quality of life, and more time with their family. Most entrepreneurs don’t even take a vacation.
I got a client that has been in business for many years. He said, “Michelle, I haven’t had a vacation in several years. I’ve missed all of my kids’ soccer games, baseball games, dances, etc.” I wanted to bring you on to talk about business luxury travel, how that should be part of the entrepreneurial lifestyle, and how we can incorporate that into masterminds and doing deals.
You don’t have to do deals on a golf course. You can do deals all around the world with luxury travel, how we can make better relationships, boost employee morale and have employee retreats. We are going to talk about all of that. I’m excited to unpack everything you have. Let’s get started on this travel adventure together.
I’m excited for your friend that has never taken a vacation in several years. Honestly, the research is out. Taking a vacation is good for your profit. It’s good for your ideas running your company. One of the greatest ideas that I didn’t even think of myself as an entrepreneur was being able to step away from your business for 3 days, 1 week or 2 weeks, and test your systems and processes to better understand, “Do you have a business that runs itself? Do you have to be there to make it happen?” Being an entrepreneur, for me, the whole time has been the ability to structure something such that I don’t have to be there with my finger on the pulse all the time. I wanted to see my son grow up and get to spend time practicing what I preach.
What was your past life? Have you always been in travel? What did you do before?
The long story short is that I got the travel bug by being a kid that my dad was a roughneck. For all intents and purposes, he drilled oil on a ship in the Indian Ocean. That would be like, “I don’t know, let’s try over here.” They would be like, “Nope. Let’s go over there.” I lived in Borneo for a year. I lived in Australia for three years.
Originally, I was from Florida. In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, the bust of the oil fields led to us coming back to Florida. I graduated from high school in Lakeland, Florida. I went to the University of Alabama for a Bachelor of Science in International Marketing. The bug had hit me by then. I did what a lot of people do. I got a great job out of college that had nothing to do with my major. I went with that.
For several years, I went with what made me a lot of money. I was in sales and finance for either homes, cars or construction. I dealt with money, credit, and all that good stuff. I hit 34 years old. I was done with the rat race. I didn’t care about money. I realized I wasn’t leading the life that I wanted. I had hair and had to ask somebody to get haircut permission. I was like, “This is not living my life.”
Did you lose your hair when you went into business for yourself?
It just happened with age in the last couple of years.
I know my entrepreneurs that are reading, going, “He has hair, and now he doesn’t have any.”
I make it look so good. I hit 34 years old, and honestly, I was tired of it. Long story short, I was looking for my passion. I was looking to ask myself what I wanted to do with my life. My path led me to speak to a gentleman in the French Alps who started a ski school. We had a long conversation, and he said, “Your idea to become a ski instructor is not good but maybe you should be a tour operator.”
I had no idea what a tour operator was. I hadn’t even used a travel agent ever. I knew I didn’t want to be in a cubicle. I spent several weeks researching the industry, the statistics, the market, and everything else. At the end of my several weeks, I was like, “This is plan A, B, and C. I’m going to be a tour operator no matter what.”
That was coming up eleven years ago in July 2022. I like what I do. I like that I get to use creativity to be able to solve complex problems of logistics, using multiple different countries, languages, and people, and to be able to deliver custom experiences to my clients in a way that will meaningfully change their lives or their relationships. That’s what gets me off.
You have been in the travel industry for several years.
July 2022 will be eleven.
You went through one of the worst times in hospitality to the travel industry in decades. It could be the worst time ever in the world, where the whole world shuts down, and people are traveling from one room to another in their houses. When they are traveling, they won’t go on airplanes and work. They were staying at hotels. They won’t go on trips. How did you keep your business afloat? How did you survive that? What did you do?
I can’t lie. 2020 was pretty tough. It was a big test. I spent a lot of the year a couple of weeks away from bankruptcy with several months of no business. It is an absolute flat line. Some of the government programs helped us to keep on going on but I also took on investors to be able, not just to survive. What I had was some specific goals of what I wanted to accomplish when travel was back.
It was my firm belief that history does repeat itself. I was looking to the 1920s. Why do they call it the roaring twenties? It is because of the pandemic. Spanish flu killed millions of people worldwide. People stayed indoors for a long time until they got over that. When that happened, the roaring twenties happened because people could go back outside and enjoy themselves again. I felt like I wanted to position my business such that we were ready for a large influx of people who were looking for new experiences and tired of being at home. We are in that moment. War aside, travel is something that people are ready and willing to do now.
It’s not that there isn’t available information; it’s that there’s too much available information.
Everybody is looking to get out, have fun and explore. You see more people traveling inside the United States, more than ever before. There’s still some fear about going internationally because of the pandemic but because of the war now. What were the biggest things you learned, the biggest strategies and techniques you implemented during that timeframe? What advice do you have to others that practically went out of business or almost filed bankruptcy during the pandemic?
I will tell you what has been keeping me busy for close to 2021, and it wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for COVID. Having the time and the ability to be able to work on these systems and processes is what’s propelled us forward and what I’m excited about.
Processes are the therapy in Exit Rich. Have you read my book?
I’m reading it. I have started it. I got my signed Michelle Seiler Tucker copy, and I’m dived in. One of the things I focused on so much was friction in my industry. I have a lot of beliefs about how information in the travel industry has been disseminated over the last several years. Everybody was familiar with travel agents being a necessary tool because we were the only gatekeepers around. We knew where the hotels were, the guides, and all this stuff, pre-internet.
What happened was the internet came out and showed people that they could access the same amount of information as now as what we could. The problem is now different. It’s not that there isn’t available information. It’s that there’s too much available information. What people have is decision paralysis, not knowing how to pick between two different hotels, both of which have great reviews, great stars and are generally in the same location. How do you pick? That’s one facet.
For the last several years, what we have been doing is taking a process, which is getting a quote for travel and shortening that period down so that what we can do is tailor to our customers and let them be able to decide their entire vacation quickly in an afternoon. Whereas before, the stress of vacations was in the planning phase.
Maybe you can tell me that every family in America reaches thanksgiving and Christmas, reflecting on their great year, spending time with their family, and realizing that they didn’t spend as much time with their family as they would’ve liked and that they had a great year. What happens is we all make this note around the dinner table, “We are going to take a vacation next year and spend some time together as a family.”
The stress of planning it is such that it prevents people from doing it until what happens is spring break. The kids are out of school and you are like, “Summer is right there. If we don’t get plane tickets and this, that, and the other. Now, we are going to spend three times as much because we weren’t ready.” That stress compounds on people. What they do is they hit the easy button. They either take a cruise where it’s a quick decision or do something they’ve done before. If this doesn’t sound familiar, this is the American story all day.
The stress of buying a vacation is huge because every company in the world now generally takes about a week to get you a quote. You are interested, you find a company, you’ve isolated tour, and then it’s a week before you even get information. If you ask for any revisions, forget about it. It’s another week before you’ve got more information. What we did during COVID is we found a way to be able to deliver a custom proposal good for any day of the year for any of our clients or any of our tours in under five minutes.
That seems impossible.
It has never been done before. Getting a custom private luxury quote where you can make a custom trip completely yours in an afternoon has never existed.
Does that include dinner reservations, restaurants things of that nature? Does that include all of that?
What we did to make that possible was break the tours into two different sections. We have what we call our essential tour. That’s everything that you would need, whether you have never been somewhere or been there five times. We include private English-speaking gratuity, including transportation anytime you have your luggage, starting from your house and/or anytime it’s more than twenty minutes from point to point.
We include four-star, and up hotels, breakfast included. We always do one category room upgrade. We focus on hotels with a boutique style with an architectural or historical component, typically in a city center and walkable to other things. We include one privately guided tour in each city that you visit. We include a welcome dinner on your first night and a farewell dinner on your last night. That’s our essential tour. That’s what we can deliver immediately.
What’s the average cost of that? Is there an average cost?
It largely depends on where you go. Not when you go but where you go. Some of our countries are affordable. They start for two people, around $750 per person per day, not including airfare. Our least expensive tour starts out at around $7,000 for two people. Our most expensive tour is long and in an expensive place. It’s around $27,000. It depends on what you want to do, where you want to go, and how long you want to be gone.
Let me tell you how we can make this a completely custom tour because the essential tour is good for anybody but there are certain people that want to have a nice dinner. How do we accommodate that? What we do is we found that there are four categories of enhancements that people can pick from. What we did is we curated 4 to 5 options in each of those categories. Our saver category is for foodies. We do tastings, Michelin Star dining experiences, cooking classes, wineries, breweries, and anything that has anything to do with food goes there.
It’s not for me. Cooking classes, no.
I always encourage couples to take a cooking class because I figure invariably, the guy is going to mess up, and he is going to need a meal he can cook for the two of them to say, “Sorry.” It’s a nice relationship tip. Our second category is excite. It’s anything adrenaline-related. We’ve done Ferraris on or off the track, white water rafting, skiing, ziplining, and flown people in P-51 Mustangs over World War I battlefields. It is from mild to wild, anything in that range.
Our third category is explore. That’s our culture category. We do deep dive into people, culture, and places. Our last category is our pampered category. That’s for people who want the best of everything. We will upgrade all your rooms to junior suites or from 4-star to 5-star or both. We will include massage services, spa services or personal shoppers. That’s how we do it. We can deliver that itinerary anywhere we go like that. You click and add whatever it is that you want, and you know exactly how much the price is. It’s very transparent.
Is it included in that package with those different categories or choices? Do we get an instant quote within five minutes using all that?
Yes. The quote is for the essential tour, and you pick whatever options you want. It’s pretty easy.
You must have some good proprietary software.
We use a lot of different software to make that happen.
It’s amazing because one of the biggest stresses about going on a trip is planning it. I don’t find the trip. My husband does that but I have to hear about it during the whole trip. He made these reservations. He says, “I held online for this and that.” It sounds like you all do all of that. You take all the work out of it.
We take a lot of steps to be able to take the stress out of planning a vacation away. I would like to say that it’s a vacation from planning a vacation. We include a lot of things that people need for an international trip. We are going to include adapters. You can plug in your phone at night. We include leather luggage tags. We include an extra battery to charge up your phone in the middle of the day. We include a Wi-Fi device so that you can have Wi-Fi calling and internet everywhere you go that has a cell signal at no additional cost to you because international phone plans can be pretty expensive if you’ve seen or done that.
The adapter is to bring your hair dryer and straightener.
The nice thing is that our clients get picked up at their front door and taken to the airport. There’s no stress in parking, finding a parking space, remembering where your keys were, and hoping that your bags weren’t lost. We are taking care of a lot of the stress that happens around international.
It is like a lot of travel clubs. It’s more of luxurious concierge travel.
Let me ask you this. As a successful business person, how much stress do you want to have planning your vacation? Your vacation is for you to get away from work.
My husband does it. I will tell you it’s extremely stressful. Even if you are going to use American Express or Chase to use any of your points, we are just stuck with a vacation that we are planning in Florida and Palm Beach. I was on the phone for almost two hours, trying to figure out getting the right type of room on the way for us and our daughter using our points. I was transferred and disconnected. I’m like, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”
That’s why my husband was like, “I’m not going through American Express. I’m going through my travel agent.” Our travel agent doesn’t provide anything close to what you provide. It still takes hours, days or weeks to get back to us. I love this. It’s luxury but it’s at an affordable price because the rate you quoted was not extraordinary. They seemed reasonable to me.
What we have seen as an evolution of doing business over the number of years. Pre-COVID, if you asked me what my pricing was, it was pretty steep because we included a lot of the optionals up front. I alluded to earlier trying to get rid of the friction. What I realized was that I was putting a lot of things that were made great tours but there weren’t things that people necessarily wanted.
What it created was this back and forth where I was like, “Here’s a great tour.” You would be like, “I want to cut it back to this or change that.” Another week goes by before I can get you new information, and you want to make another two-week, and then it’s another week. Now it has been 2 or 3 weeks, you want to have it off your plate and know that it’s all good but we are not there yet. I wanted to cut all of that down. We made everything in the essential tour simple, and all the options allow you to make it completely yours.
Let’s take a little bit of a shift in the business. We talked about how business owners are not taking vacations. One of the reasons is they don’t have time to plan a vacation. This is a good choice for them because like I said, I simply don’t have the time to plan. Let’s talk about entrepreneurs because we go to these different masterminds. You and I belong to mastermind.
One thing that you did something last time when we were there, which is extraordinary, you took the leg work out of us trying to figure out we were going to dinner together. You search for restaurants in the area. You knew what restaurants would take a big table versus dividing it up into multiple tables because we all want to sit together. We get to see each other four times a year. We want to see each other. You put that travel together.
To me, it’s imperative for entrepreneurs to get out of the office and the room that we are in when we go to this mastermind and get to know each other through these different trips and things. You said earlier there are statistics that show that it increases your ability to relate, focus, and concentrate on your business. It’s a good test to see if your business can run without you. It’s a great way to make deals other than golf. Let’s talk a little bit more about entrepreneurial travel masterminds networking anywhere in the world. He has six trips a year.
Some of the greatest ideas are born by total accident. We started Entrepreneurs Travel Club honestly, by accident. A client of mine had been through a divorce. He was a family man with two kids. He found himself with his kids half the time and lots of time on his hands. In 2021, he approached me and said, “I want to do a bunch of fun trips for friends and I.” I’m pretty experimental, so I went with him, and we ended up going to Costa Rica and doing a lot of fun, action, adventure stuff, riding horses, zip lines, white water rafting, and stuff like that.
There were six entrepreneurs on that trip. We ended up talking a little bit of business and making some good relationships. A few months later, we did Cabo San Lucas. We drove Baja trucks on a closed 5-mile loop, 600 horsepower. We had paragliders that took us inches above the crashing waves coming in on the beach. We flew over that. We did a lot of fun stuff, and that was with eight entrepreneurs. A few months later, we did a ski trip in the French Alps.
I was invited to go to that one.
We are doing it again in 2023. Get ready in mid-January 2023. I’m putting the pricing together now. I think you know Rey Perez. We were on the lift. We went skiing all the way from France into Italy to have lunch and come back. He said something that blew my mind, “I would have never said yes to this if had I not been able to also talk business with other entrepreneurs.” I was like, “This is the whole point of why we are in masterminds is to meet other entrepreneurs.” Not just meet them but have a deeper relationship than like, “How can I help you in your business? What are you working on?”
The Entrepreneur Travel Club is a way for us to deepen the relationships between entrepreneurs and also expand your network. What we are doing is we are working with various masterminds throughout the United States to be able to curate experiences that their members can coalesce around and have more time with each other in between the meetings. It’s a way to have better relationships with the people you have already invested in.
Do you have to be a member of the club to partake in that? Is that how that works?
We sell two different packages. We sell two masterminds directly at a bulk price that includes all of their members. We also include an individual membership. Individual memberships are $2,500 per year, and that gives you access to the events at either a local, regional or international level.
I have some connections for you that have masterminds that are always looking for entrepreneurial events.
We are working with several now to be able to put together some nice experiences. It’s because of the meetings and with the restaurants that we have been solving those problems too. That’s what I look at my job as is identifying what are the pain points and problems and addressing them. Every entrepreneur does that. I look at it in terms of coalescing people and relationships in a way that meaningfully changes how they interact with each other.
The stress of planning a vacation prevents people from actually doing it.
When they are out there jumping out of a plane or scuba diving, it is that they do. It could be one idea like Rey Perez gave you one idea, and it was a big old light bulb that went off in your head. I find that when you are out and about and beyond the boardroom when you hear some of these ideas that maybe you heard before but didn’t quite register because you are busy putting out fires and working in your business rather than on it.
These are some great lessons, connections, and ideas that could catapult your business to the next level. That’s why it’s important for business owners to take those vacations, not with other entrepreneurs but also with their families. It’s imperative to do that because many entrepreneurs are not doing that.
Let’s shift gears over to employees. We are working with a client now in our road to Exit Rich program. They said, “It’s such an expensive to travel.” I go, “What’s going on with the travel cost?” They said, “We travel for business. Our clients pay us back but we do two major retreats a year for their employees.” I said, “Is it beneficial? Is it cost-effective? Are you online off of it?”
They said, “Absolutely. When we get them out of the office into a nice environment, outdoors, wherever it might be, they open up. They are more comfortable and relaxed. They are not worried about deadlines. They are not worried about what in their list and what they have to get done next. There are free-flowing ideas.” Talk to us a little bit about creating masterminds and events for your employees because it helps boost morale, number one. It helps with creative energy or the business to flourish.
I’m a huge proponent of taking yourself out of your normal modes and modalities. I’m married now but I extended that to when I was dating and to all different ways. What I would encourage anybody who’s in a deep relationship is if you have a problem with your spouse or your other, don’t discuss it at home because that’s your territory. Both of you are going to be defensive about your territory. Always have conversations like that outside of your home. I like to go for walks but it doesn’t matter. As long as you are in neutral territory, now you can both have ideas without being defensive.
Honestly, business goes the same way. When you are sitting at your desk, we all get myopia. We are looking at our emails, we are distracted and doing all the stuff that we should and have to do but we are not doing the critical thinking that propels us ahead. That’s why going to coffee shops is great but you don’t have to go on an exotic vacation to do this mission. It doesn’t hurt. It’s pretty nice.
There are cruise ships here out of New Orleans. It’s easy to drop on a four-day cruise ship.
There are many places that you can go for 3 to 4 days. A lot of people will think you have to invest two weeks into this grand thing, and it doesn’t have to do that. There are a lot of places around the world that you could visit for 5, 4 or 8 days which is fantastic. It will recharge your batteries, put you in a good mindset, expose you to some new ideas, and reform your team. We both know Ty Crandall. He says, “The number one thing that has made him more money than anything else has been going on vacation.” He thinks about his business differently.
The more money that he has ever made is by going on vacation. Number one, you could never make that state if he wasn’t running and operating his business in all such peace. You must get the right people in place because you can’t leave a business for a week, 2 weeks, 3 months or 6 months unless you have the people in place and you have the processes all buttoned up.
If you leave, it exposes where your weak points are. When you come back, you can attend to those problems.
I love being on a plane, local and international, because I get more worked out on a plane. It’s the time that I don’t want to talk to anybody sitting next to me. I could bury my head, get my thoughts out, and brainstorm the future and what needs to be done in business. That’s great. Talk to us about some of your luxurious travel hacks and some things you’ve done that separate you from everybody else and make you unique.
One thing I wanted to mention about the employee thing, though before you go into that, is we have a company that does an employee cruise every other year for their employees. They have a personal travel guru concierge like yourself. We sponsor part of that trip. The reason we sponsor part of that trip is that we get business from this client. We have sponsored it for years.
The concierge goes out of their way to make sure everything with our company name is present. Pubs have our company name and are sculpted with our company logo. Everywhere, even when they go on the cruise, when I get off the cruise and do an excursion, our stuff is everywhere. That is important to have that concierge service. I haven’t met too many people like you and him that go out of their way to create that customer experience and do allow for some sponsorship because I would sponsor some more trips like that. Talk to us about what makes you different and unique. Some of you are travel hacks.
I will do two things that set me apart and my number one travel hack. The way that we look at things differently, I told you about some of the enhancements we have but I didn’t tell you about two of them. One of them is our photography package. The reason is that I came up with this is because I hate vacation photography. It’s forever a selfie with something behind you, manufactured smiles or you hand your camera to a perfect stranger and play what I call the hoping game. You hope that they frame it. You hope that they focus on it. You hope they don’t steal it. There’s a lot of hoping.
Hope is they don’t steal. It is the biggest.
Here’s the result. Every one of those pictures is great for Facebook but I have never seen anybody take that picture, blow it up, pay hundreds of dollars to put it on canvas, frame it, and put it in their living room. They are not that good. I thought there was a mismatch where people were spending large investments to have a life-changing experience but not taking away any good memorabilia about it.
One of the things that we offer, and it’s completely optional, is a photography package where we will match you in 1, 2 or 3 different times in your trip for 2 hours each time with a professional photographer. We have a lot of contractual language with those photographers to be able to say exactly what we want because what we don’t want is a wedding photographer, for instance, where it’s like, “Pose here, do this and chin up.” It’s none of that.
Our photographers are instructed to be like paparazzi and treat you the celebrity that you are. What we want is the real smiles that you inevitably get when you are in the moment, and it’s their job to get the stuff in the background and all that. If I showed you some of the pictures that our photographers have taken over the years, it is top-notch. We get a lot of good remarks.
What we do with the pictures is we release all the digital stills to our client but we also produce a nice leather-bound photo album that they can have as something for their coffee table book. That’s one thing that we do that sets us apart. The other thing is our custom daily amenities package. Unfortunately, there’s no way to talk about this without explaining it fully because nobody else on the planet is doing this. Michelle, have you ever gotten a bottle of champagne in your room when you checked in?
Were you in France when it happened?
I have been to the United States too.
Here’s my point. At some point, you paid somebody for a vacation somewhere, and they got you a French experience, even though you weren’t in France with the bottle of champagne. While I think that people who love champagne are never upset about that, it’s pretty good. There’s an old missed opportunity because when you pay me for an Italian, a Belgian or an Icelandic vacation and if I give you a French experience, it’s not bad. I’m not doing as good as I could.
The other thing, the corollary to that, is I know all of these places. I know that if you don’t go into the right store, walk down the right street or stop in the right place, you will completely miss an experience that is distinct to that area no matter where you are. What we did is we have found the locally sourced, locally produced specialty of every area that we do business in. We have one item delivered to your hotel room each day.
Those items could be knives, jewelry, candles, clothes, alcohol, non-alcohol, food, bowls, and wood crafts. It doesn’t matter what it is. What we are looking for is how we can immerse you in the experience of being where you are and take away 100% of the problems of not going down the right street or going into the right store.
That’s an extra option.
It’s an extra option but with our new system, anybody who pulls a proposal and makes a purchasing decision within five days, we will include that for free for the entire time that you are there.
My husband, daughter, and I went to Amsterdam to see tulips bloom. We hired local tourists to walk us around and show us things. That was good. We got to experience it but I don’t think that it was maximized as much as it could have been. As far as stores to go in, I couldn’t find the right clothing stores. We were never sent any gifts. That’s a huge, extra touch.
Those were the two things that set us apart. Now the number one luxury travel hack I have ever known. Hire a professional. We know more than you do. We will be able to find better deals. We will be able to surprise and delight you. Here’s the real thing. My hypothesis is that you are not lacking information. What you are lacking is time to analyze that information.
You are so far into your job doing what you do well that if you were to research or read everybody’s travel hacks about, “Where are the three best places to go for a beach vacation are or whatever,” it’s not that that information doesn’t exist. It’s that you don’t have time to read it. If you did have time to read it, you wouldn’t have time to then apply it. The whole point of the vacation is to get away from work.
If you look at it and say, “I’m going to do all the research.” What you are saying is, “I’m going to apply for a new job, keep the old job that I have, and double the stress so that I can have control over what I do and where I go.” It’s antithetical to the entire point of a vacation, which is to get away from work. What I wanted to do is I wanted to keep people an expert in their lives and then take away all of the stress otherwise. The number one luxury hack, it doesn’t have to be me but hire somebody who can take care of you because that is what a vacation is having that done for you.
That’s what frustrates my husband is even though we have a travel agent, I love her dearly. She has been working with us for years but she doesn’t do any of this extra stuff. She certainly doesn’t send us gifts. She doesn’t arrange transportation from our doorstep. It’s amazing and great. Hopefully, more business owners will take part in taking more vacations. You can’t keep running on empty. You are burned out.
I always say that we are like computers. Think about your computer. If you have many different things open, what happens? People are the same. We have all these things open. That’s why I always say, “Close the cycle.” In addition, in closing the cycle, we must refresh, energize and take that vacation, rather it’s a family trip or like-minded entrepreneurs, so you can work on your business or with your employee to boost morale and get their creative genius.
Your computer analogy is great because if you never update your computer, what’s going to happen?
We are almost out of time but you got to tell us about your seven-figure James Bond experience.
James Bond experience is something that I wanted to take 100% of what I had learned over a decade of doing this and apply it in a unique and innovative way for one client. It is extravagance at its finest. If you are a fan of James Bond, if you have ever wanted to live a life of action and adventure, then this tour is for you. Let’s get the price tag right out of the gate. It’s $1 million. There are no two ways around it. It’s for 1 person and 16 days for $1 million.
What do we do? Our client, after doing multiple psychological and physical tests and having a deep understanding of what they can and can’t do, will go for three days to a US government-approved training facility that trains everything from the CIA to the LAPD. They would do surveillance detection, routes, shooting from helicopters, shooting, military equipment, performance, and driving techniques. It is a three-day bootcamp on spycraft.
You got to be connected to get that.
We can do that in multiple places throughout the United States too. There are a lot of different things we can do with that. At the end of the three days, we release custom gadgetry. It is a secret to the client, and we release them back home. A hundred percent of the travel with this package is by private jet. That’s part of the cost.
At the end of the three days, we send the client home, and we go radio silent until 24 hours before you are supposed to leave. Our client packs nothing. They get on the plane with nothing but their clothes on their back. They go to Northern Italy for what is an eight-day Hollywood script written, choose your own adventure live-action role play game, where they are James Bond, and they must solve for beating specter.
We include all the toys, the suites, and the casino night, and because they didn’t pack anything, we include all eight days, custom-tailored clothes delivered to your hotel room, including your toiletries of choice, yours to keep for the entire time. At the end of the eight days, once you’ve defeated the specter, we fly you and your significant other, wherever they are concurrent, to the GoldenEye estate in Jamaica, where Sir Ian Fleming wrote the books. That’s five days of all-inclusive luxury, relaxing, and getting to tell your stories.
When you come home, we have a twelve-month Aston Martin lease waiting for you and coming shortly thereafter. We also include a military surveillance team the entire time of your experience, taking video with buttonhole, infrared, and regular cameras. You name it. We are going to produce an awesome video of your conquests and what you did and then deliver that to you that’s in a nutshell.
That’s tailored for men. Have women participated?
That’s tailored for a Jane Bond or a James Bond, either one.
How many people have you had come through that program?
Zero so far but we are open for business on that.
Some of the greatest ideas are born by total accident.
What about the spaceship? Are you doing tours for that?
I am not, but I am friends with Aviation Marie. People in Clubhouse know her. We are looking into that. Now, it’s a crowded field, and there are several years of backlog for people that have paid and are ready to go but can’t go yet. The spaceport industry is interesting, and it seems to be a rapidly growing field that, honestly, as a business broker, I should pair you up with Aviation Marie. I will pair you up with her because she is an attorney, a friend of mine who is working on the space industry and seeing how we can upgrade all the systems as a country to be able to enter this new age.
Any last-minute thoughts, business hacks or travel hacks?
I would be remiss without mentioning two things. One, all of us, me included, travel for regular reasons. These are weekend trips for business, visiting friends and family, a baby is being born, and a wedding is happening. These are the everyday travel things. Quite honestly, for several years, nobody ever called me for stuff like that. Rightfully so, that’s not what we dealt with.
COVID was great for me to be able to think about how we can implement using travel as a tool to implement social change. I started Travel2GiveBack. That’s number two. We adopted a Smile on Amazon model where our clients can purchase hotels, flights, and rental cars at the exact same price as they will find everywhere else for the same dates, times, and everything.
However, when you start an account, you can pick any of 1.3 million charities. You can pick your local church, the American Heart Association or anybody you want, and a portion of the commissions earned at no cost to you and the charity are shared with that charity. Our goal is to donate a billion dollars in the next several years. That’s possible with a small percentage of the US population using our service. If you use Expedia, Priceline, Orbits, or any of those, switch to Travel2GiveBack now, and you will get this same exact stuff at exactly the same price. You will be helping other people instead.
Travel2GiveBack, instead of all of these other companies that you mentioned. How does it work?
The standard is that 25% of all commissions earned are split with your charity of choice. However, because we are looking to kick off this year, we offer a 75% split. $0.75 out of every dollar that’s earned goes to the charity of your choice until July of 2023. Take advantage of that because it doesn’t cost anybody anything. It’s free money for charities. That’s it.
That’s a tax reduction.
I don’t think you can claim the tax deduction because the thing doesn’t come through that way but you know that you are helping somebody you know, like, and trust.
Business travel retreats or a tax reduction for your employees.
Entrepreneurs Travel Club for any entrepreneurs that are out there and want to meet other entrepreneurs or do exciting things is a great way for us to be able to do tax-deductible travel. All your travel expenses would be tax-deductible in that instance. This is not tax advice. Check with your local advisor but we’ve done that, and under the membership service, you can do that. Honestly, if you, your family and your spouse or somebody you love, and want to take a great vacation, go to our website at LugosTravel.com and pull a proposal. It’s the easiest thing ever these days to be able to get that information and make the decision quickly.
I encourage everyone to check you out because I love the instant quote. Anybody else is doing that in the travel space. That’s amazing. Everyone should go check out the Entrepreneurs Travel Club. I’m going to check it out.
You can access all of my information at ShaneMahoney360.com. It has all my websites and information. If you are interested, we have a course where we teach luxury travel tips to anybody that’s interested. You can access all that information on that website.
Any last-minute thought, Shane?
I want to take a moment and thank you, honestly, for your friendship and all your cheery personality but also your information. I have been to several of your spheres. I’m super impressed with your knowledge, what you do for your customers and how you do things. It’s great. I love diving into your book. I have not finished it yet at full disclosure but I will. I want to thank you for taking the time to be able to educate all of us a little bit about what you do and how you do it well.
Thank you. I appreciate that. Did you get the audiobook, Shane, for $2.99?
I got the audiobook. I’m all good.
Before the month of May 2022, everybody can go out there and get that for $2.99.
Everybody should pick $2 to $3 for an audiobook. As an entrepreneur, there’s no reason not to do this.
There were a couple of golden nuggets dropped here, and we talk about them in my book, Exit Rich. I want to reiterate quickly. Number one was he didn’t let the pandemic set him back. He didn’t let the pandemic define him, his future, and his business. He didn’t let it control the rest of his life. He did a travel reset and reorganized his company by figuring out the processes, the synergies, and the systems. That will be able to completely revamp the travel industry and provide that instant quote, which is genius.
The entrepreneurship club is imperative, important, and crucial for all entrepreneurs to participate in. If it wasn’t for that time to reset, you might have never been able to make some of those hacks to “Entrepreneurial Travel Club.” The process is everything. He has been able to test his business time and time again because he travels all over the world. His business still runs without him. He has the right people in the right seats. He has the right processes in mind. He’s making money, which is a six-figure profit.
Well done. Thank you for all the golden nuggets and the words of wisdom you shared here. Make sure you go check out Shane Mahoney. I want you to come out with a book. You need to come out with a book. I’m going to help you write a book. Everybody read it here. I’m going to help Shane Mahoney write a book.
Thank you to all of my Facebook friends, my team that helps put on this show, and most importantly, to all of our readers. Make sure that you share this blog post with your friends, your entrepreneurs, and people who say, “I have no time to spend with you and have no time to take a vacation.” They need it the most. Make sure you share and subscribe. We can’t wait to see you next time on another episode of Exit Rich. Thank you, Shane. You are an amazing, wonderful guest. I can’t wait to use some of your travel hacks.
- Lugos Travel
- Exit Rich
- Entrepreneurs Travel Club
- Clubhouse – Aviation Marie
About Shane Mahoney
Shane Mahoney has built a global business in an industry that everyone loves: luxury travel. Instilled with the belief that travel is essential, as well as an uncanny talent for crafting unforgettable and highly unique experiences, Shane has propelled luxury travel planning from a service to an art form.
Shane founded Lugos Travel in 2011, after a lifetime of living and traveling overseas in places like Borneo, Australia, and Spain.
As the CEO and creative brain behind Lugos Travel, Shane puts together custom, luxury adventures, and meaningful experiences that are out-of-the-ordinary, thrilling, and a guaranteed delight to his clients. When people work with Shane, they get to experience his truly unmatched ability to tap into the culture of a destination, find the most exclusive VIP experiences, and craft a trip that far exceeds their wildest imagination!
When he’s not dreaming up new adventures for clients, Shane manages a non-profit organization that matches donors with Travel2GiveBack, a travel service that donates a percentage of all your travel bookings to the charity of your choice. He’s also a husband and father, and he loves adventuring as a family all across the globe!
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