Travel Careers Series: Kelly O’Shea Talks About Launching Your Own Travel Business


Travel Careers - Kelly O'Shea

You have a passion for travel. You also have to earn a living.

What if there was a way to combine both in a career in travel?

DIWYY is featuring women in the travel and hospitality industries who have found a way to do just that.

Read about them. Learn from them. Then go out and make your own niche in the travel industry.

Kelly O’Shea is President and CEO of KOPR, a full service marketing, PR and event management company specializing in the hospitality and travel industries. I had a chance to ask Kelly a series of questions about how she got started with a career in travel, what advice she has to offer readers, and what immediate next steps she recommends for getting started in a travel career.


About Kelly & Her Travel Career

travel-careers-Kelly-O-Shea-PRHey Kelly. What do you do?

I’m the Founder and CEO of a boutique travel and luxury lifestyle PR agency called KOPR (Kelly O’Shea Public Relations).

How did you first become involved in the travel public relations field?

I interned at a boutique travel PR agency when I was in college.

What was your first break?

Working hard at my internship and earning the role of Account Coordinator there upon graduation.

What has been the biggest help to your career?

My passion for travel drives me to be successful in this industry and it was extremely helpful to start my career at a boutique agency, where I was able to learn more than I would have at a large firm.

Where does networking fit in to your career path? Any advice you can offer our readers?

I live in New York City, so there are ample networking opportunities here and I make sure I attend as many events as I can and talk to as many new people as I can. I have a very active social life and I’m always out there promoting my agency and proactively approaching potential clients.

Who have been your biggest influences?

My first boss and all of the incredible female CEOs that I’ve met throughout my career.


About Kelly’s Business

How would you define KOPR?

KOPR is a boutique agency; specializing in marketing and public relations services for a variety of clients in the hospitality and travel industry. We combine focus, passion, and integrity with extensive industry expertise. Our national network of media relationships and contacts bring our clients the attention they deserve. Our goal is to create targeted, strategic publicity campaigns that increase visibility, build and strengthen brands, and enable businesses to grow.

Where did the idea for KOPR come from?

After working for a couple of boutique PR agencies, and working in-house at a couple of hotel groups, I felt that I had what it took to make it on my own, so I took a chance and never looked back.

What is your typical day like now?

A lot of media relations (writing, pitching, working with them on specific angles that I can peg my clients into, getting them the information they need by their deadlines, planning and executing press trips), calls with potential partners for my clients, strategy meetings with my team and clients, new business meetings and drafting proposals, followed by events or dinners at night

How much of the year are you traveling?

About 30% of my time is spent traveling


The Future & Actionable Advice from Kelly

Where is KOPR headed in the future?

KOPR will continue to grow by taking on more clients that we truly believe we can represent effectively and acquiring new talent with a passion for travel and luxury lifestyle, and the intuition and drive it takes to succeed in this industry.

What do women need to know about personal branding?

When you own your own business, you must always be ‘on;’ there is no real down time because you are the face of the company and you must always present yourself in the way you want people to view your company. And that can be different for everyone; don’t ever let anyone tell you the way you should be perceived. Be yourself, represent the company and the clients that you feel is the best for you. The main reason people start their own company is so they can do things their way.

Do you have any advice for young, blossoming travel journalists or public relations professionals out there? What is the best way to begin a career in public relations?

Take an internship at a PR agency that you feel represents the kind of clients you are most passionate about. If you are good at PR, you can pitch anything effectively, but you will only be satisfied long-term if you represent brands you truly believe in.

One more thing…Explore as much of the world as you possibly can and meet as many new people as you can. Be aware of what’s happening in the travel industry, stay on top of trends and read as much as possible. If you are able to effectively tie your clients into current trends and give editors appropriate information for their outlet in a timely manner, they will view you as a source and contact you for future articles. Honing your media relations skills is crucial to a career in public relations.

Just For Fun

Favorite place?

St. Barth

What is the one item you cannot travel without?

My smart phone


What travel career questions do you have?

Have a question for Kelly? Share your question in the comment section below.


Photo courtesy of MorBCN.

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