The Bachelor and Bachelorette shows have had lots of Sunshine State connections. Contestants on the hit show are from all over South Florida, one breakout star actor is Tyler Cameron of Jupiter who WPB Magazine has profiled before.
Now Boca Raton’s Eltee Travel/GTC and owner Leslie Tillem-Doniger are set for major national attention with a new NBC pilot called, “The Extra Mile Club”, a new travel reality show to air on Saturday, May 20th after the season finale of Saturday Night Live on NBC.
The show features Tillem-Doniger and her Travel Advisor colleague/competitor Curtis Parris planning an ideal New York City weekend for “The Bachelor” stars Ashley Iaconetti and Jarod Haibon. The couple are social media stars with a combined following of more than 2 million people.
The competition will follow the couple as they enjoy two completely different New York City experiences planned by Tillem-Doniger and Parris. Both advisors are part of The Global Travel Collection (GTC) the luxury division of Internova Travel Group and were selected after auditioning for the roles. The episode winner will be selected by the couple and revealed at the conclusion of the broadcast.
“I got a call from the executive producer about my involvement with a travel show,” Leslie told WPB Magazine. “And I honestly thought they were asking for more of a consulting thing, asking me for my thoughts. It was a nice brief call. I hit it off with the executive producer. We started talking about different travel stories.”
Leslie thinks they found her through Internova which has 100,000 agents.
“We do the high-end division and I’m guessing someone in Internova said to talk to Leslie. She’s been doing this for over 40 years.”
“I do the high-end and a lot of luxury business. It doesn’t necessarily have to be high-end, whereas I pretty much sell all travel. They reached out to me; I had the conversation and that was the end of it and I kind of let it go. I remember being in London at a conference, and I got a call saying we’d love you to be in the show. Wow. In the show? My mouth dropped open. I went, what?” she says laughing.
Later she says they had a conference call with this other agent, Curtis Paris, about the whole concept now of the show, which had changed. Two advisors will compete to create an itinerary for a celebrity couple in New York.
“We met with Jared and Ashley via Zoom call. We planned a weekend for them. I only wanted to compete if it will make us still both look and feel good about it. I did not want to get into this with either of us being made to look bad.”
Of course, in reality TV one never knows how that’s likely to work out. One never knows if one of them looks dumb or not as capable as the other.
“I think Curtis is as capable as I am. He happens to be a class act and he’s great at what he does. So that made me a little nervous, possibly if I would be the fall guy. And they were very clear, the concept of this was to make advisors look good and hopefully make the public realize we still exist, and we really bring a lot to the table and a lot of value.”
Travel has rebounded with the pandemic easing but also becoming more complicated with so many possible options and regulations.
“So many people don’t realize it,” Leslie says. “It’s the same reason I opened an office in Boca Raton right after the pandemic. People had so many questions about how to travel, what was needed, and what documentation, and they didn’t know where to go to find out. I opened a storefront. I have a phenomenal team in Boca Raton and in New York. It was the smartest thing I ever did.”
The couple Ashley and Jared wanted a weekend away without their baby. Leslie’s specific trip had the couple rappelling down the side of “The Vessel” at Hudson Yards, being pampered in a wine bath at “The Baths” a private club featured on the hit series “Billions,” and driving a Ferrari 488 for the day courtesy of Gotham Dream Cars.
Leslie also arranged for a hand-painted custom birthday cake with a family picture on top to celebrate the couple’s child’s birthday supplied by Huascar & Co., and finally, a custom 36×36 one-of-a-kind piece of art supplied by Pop Art Prince.
She has not seen yet the show that will air on May 20th. And in a slightly cruel peculiar twist, they filmed both agents telling them they won but they won’t know the true winner until the show airs.
Leslie says she wanted to steer away from what you could find yourself doing in NYC. Something out of the box, maybe something adrenaline-filled.
“I wanted it to be romantic. They took a red wine bath, which was cool. They did the, rappelling down that Vessel building at Hudson Yards, 1200 feet. They did tell me she didn’t want to do it and was cursing me. And then once they started, she loved it. And then he was cursing me.”
“I must tell you it really was fun filming. A lot of work and that’s what we do, get the work done so that the client loves it and then refers us to another client. My whole business, which I’ve never advertised, is all built on referrals. So, let’s hope we can get the word out that we serve a purpose.”
“We bring something special to the table and we make life easier for you too. It doesn’t have to be something like this that’s so unusual, but we bring in extra value to whatever it is you’re planning to do on a trip.”
If the show takes off, NBC will do nine episodes in different places around the world, family trips in another city perhaps.
And who will win?? Find out on May 20th!
Online at elteetravel.com