Drew Kluska, Founder and Managing Director of The Tailor

Drew Kluska, Founder and Managing Director of The Tailor

Karryon Luxury talks to Drew Kluska following his recent accolade where he was named one of Travel + Leisure A-List Top Travel Advisors for 2024.

Adelaide-based Drew Kluska of The Tailor, a Virtuoso preferred supplier, was recently named in the Travel + Leisure’s A-List which recognises a prestigious collection of travel destination specialists and experts across the globe.

Drew is one of only 11 specialists for the Australian, New Zealand and South Pacific regions included in this year’s list. He was recognised for his expertise in creating experiential itineraries for adventure seekers that perfectly match his clients, while including elevated experiences that foster authentic and meaningful interactions with passionate local guides.

Drew Kluska, Founder and Managing Director of The Tailor
The Tailor was founded in 1998 to create personalised travel experiences

Congratulations on your recent accolade as being named in Travel+Leisure’s 2024 A-List Travel Advisors list. To what do you attribute this accolade? 

Thank you, I am very honoured and humbled to be recognised in such a prestigious list of my contemporaries. For me this is not just a recognition of my work, more The Tailor team as a whole, which we should all be very proud of.

As Malcolm Gladwell said in his book Outliers, it takes 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” to become world-class in any field. I certainly attribute this accolade to the longevity of our business and the breadth and depth of our knowledge and the connections we’ve built over the last 25 years. We’ve designed more than 15,000 trips over this time and that’s shown us what works and what doesn’t.

Can you tell us about your career background and what inspired you to work in travel? 

I grew up on a farm in regional South Australia, so I have always felt connected to the natural world in some way, and when I was about 12 years old, I can vividly remember watching a David Attenborough program on the great wildebeest migration across the Serengeti. It left such a lasting impression on me that I felt the need to learn as much as possible about this part of the world. I read all I could about East Africa and felt a strong instinct that Africa was where I’d find my true calling.

Fast forward to university where I met Nigel Archer (born and bred in Kenya), who connected me to an opportunity in Africa. In 1996 I left Australia to work in Kenya, where I ended up managing Wilderness Trails Lodge at the Lewa Downs Wildlife Conservancy.  I didn’t know at the time that this experience would result in creating The Tailor.

Upon returning from Africa, I could see the type of experience I learned in Kenya did not yet exist in Australia. I sensed an opportunity in the market and began putting together the pieces to create The Tailor. The plan for the business was straightforward – to create and deliver a unique travel product that would give discerning travellers the opportunity to experience the richness of the real Australia, which I’d sell via the high-end travel agents I’d met while working in Africa.

Unfortunately, Australia in the late 1990s simply did not offer the range of experiences, wilderness accommodation and bespoke touring options I needed. At the time there was virtually no intimate luxe experiential product with high touch in existence in regional Australia.

I spent the next two years scouting out suitable products and working with their owners to create an impressive portfolio of outback stations, safari camps, tropical island hideaways, private expert-led tours, and chic city experiences. Most of those original suppliers remain key partners in The Tailor portfolio to this day.

Cruising the narrow waterways of the Kimberley with True North
Cruising the narrow waterways of the Kimberley with True North

Tell us more about The Tailor and the services you provide? 

The Tailor designs bespoke journeys throughout Australia for high-net-worth travellers. Each traveller/travelling party is assigned a dedicated Travel Designer who works one-on-one with the client or agent to create a once-in-a-lifetime journey based on their individual interests. We aim to go beyond the status quo, connecting travellers with experiences and people they cannot find on their own.

No one trip that we design is the same, and our itineraries are crafted based on a thorough process where we get to know our clients before creating a fully customised individual itinerary that is tailored to suit them.

We also serve as a 24/7 emergency contact for clients while they are travelling.

How would you describe your clientele and what are they seeking from your services? 

Our clients are among the most discerning travellers, they have experienced the very finest that travel has to offer and are looking for exceptional and authentic travel experiences that embrace the best of a destination. They are not easily impressed, so it’s our job to exceed expectations by using creativity and perfect execution.

You must consider that most of our client’s homes are more opulent or high-end than the accommodation they will be staying in once in Australia, so where we win is by providing an enriching experience with world-class guides/people in incredible places. This demands creativity, delivering style without pretence and the unexpected. Many also have A-type personalities, so they prefer participation over observation, which gets at the heart of what we aim to create for our clients – truly life-changing experiences.

Coastal dining on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula
Coastal dining on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula

What experiences and destinations can guests of The Tailor enjoy? 

We primarily focus on Australia, and offer a curated collection of experiences across the country, with some of the most popular destinations for our travellers being Sydney, Tropical North Queensland, the Top End, the Kimberley, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island and Tasmania.

We work mostly with international travellers, however, have a select group of Australian clientele that are looking to experience more of their home country and get into the heart and soul of the real Australia.

What are some of the most popular Exclusive Journeys and is there anything new you’ll be offering to luxury travellers in 2024?

Our itineraries are exclusive to the traveller/travelling party, however we offer some ‘Suggested Journeys’ on our website to inspire our clientele.

Two areas of luxury travel that we are focusing on for this year, is offering exceptional privately guided journeys with a dedicated host for the entire trip and sole buyouts of private homes or villas.

Our private hosting service was introduced to further enhance the experience of our travellers, which was based on feedback that consistently confirms our clients most unforgettable memories are created when they are accompanied by the very best, passionate local guides. It offers an invaluable way to unlock the many hidden secrets of Australia, leading travellers to some of country’s most inspirational, wild and inaccessible landscapes through their personal expertise. They are an outstanding asset for families and small groups who value privacy, flexibility and a truly hands-on experience.

We are also seeing an increase in demand for sole buyouts of private homes and villas in incredible destinations like a multi-million-dollar Sydney harbourside mansion, a reef house on a private island in the Great Barrier Reef or a secluded country estate in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. These properties offer the ultimate in privacy and personalised service and are especially popular for multi-generational families.

Paddle boarding from Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef
Paddleboarding from Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef

What are your key tips for success or learnings that you’ve had as a luxury advisor? 

Ask questions, questions and more questions, and then listen, listen and listen some more.

The ultimate success of a trip is all down to the brief – the better you know the clients, the better you can do your job and turn an exceptional trip into a life-changing journey. We endeavour to have travellers reminisce on their Australian experience not just for a year, but for a lifetime.   

For more information, visit thetailor.com

Karryon Luxury talks to Drew Kluska following his recent accolade where he was named one of Travel + Leisure A-List Top Travel Advisors for 2024. Adelaide-based Drew Kluska of The Tailor, a Virtuoso preferred supplier, was recently named in the Travel + Leisure’s A-List which recognises a prestigious collection of travel destination specialists and experts across the globe. Drew is one of only 11…

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