CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — It is hard to believe that 2020 is here. Ten years ago, I took a big chance in life and opened The Travel Connection in St. George.
Even though we were in the middle of a recession, I knew there was a better way to help travelers make vacation plans. I could see people spending hours online, trying to find the best value and figure out the perfect vacation. Sometimes, they even made costly mistakes by not realizing which countries needed a visa or the date change when flying to Australia.
With 18 years of travel experience, I was confident that I could help.
I was also lucky enough to have two former coworkers join my team: Lauren Baxter and Mary Curtis. Although we opened the doors on a shoestring budget and everyone said it was crazy to start a travel business during the recession, we knew we had a lot to offer.
We knew our customers deserved personal service, attention to detail and someone to handle their vacation with care every step of the way. We knew our customers needed a beautiful office where they could look through brochures, get travel ideas and have their questions answered by professional travel consultants — all of the things travelers can’t do online. Walking through the doors of our bright, aqua blue office feels like a vacation before you ever leave home.
We take care of every detail, from the time you leave home until you return. We are even there during your travel with our 24-hour emergency call line – and yes, there have been times we’ve answered phone calls at 2 a.m.
Our clients know they will not be rerouted to a call center in a foreign country should something go wrong, and the best part of all is that we do not charge any fees for our services – something many people do not realize.
After a lot of hard work and determination, I am pleased to be writing this article 10 years later, with a heart full of gratitude. We have wonderful customers who have supported us through the years, and because of them, our little office not only survived but thrived.
Five years ago, we moved to a beautiful new building and even added some new team members. Christi West, who is also a former coworker with several years of travel planning experience, joined us in 2013. Nine months ago, Niela Swapp became our client relations manager after working in the group travel industry for over 25 years.
In May, we received an award for the Best Travel Agency in Southern Utah. It was such an honor, as this was something our community voted on.
If you are one of our customers, the chances are good that you’ve received invitations to parties, informative seminars, dinners, travel expos and charitable events. We try to set ourselves apart by realizing that our customers are more than just a name on a ticket or a number on a spreadsheet. We take pride in small business values, establishing relationships with our customers and serving the community by donating to various charities.
So here we are 10 years later, and I feel like we are “the little engine that could.”
As for what the future holds, this year we are traveling with our clients on several group vacations called “The Connoisseur Collection.” We have hand-selected some of your favorite vacations that offer group discounts, credits, enrichment classes and more. The collection includes the following:
- June 13-25: The Rhine and Moselle River cruise with Avalon Waterways, hosted by Mary Curtis and Lauren Baxter.
- July 4-11: Our sixth annual Tahiti and the Society Islands cruise with Paul Gauguin Cruises, hosted by Rob and Celece Krieger.
- July 12-19: Burgundy and Provence River cruise with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, with special guest host Chef Jackie Dodart.
- July 30 through Aug. 8: Escorted tour of Scotland including the Military Tattoo with CIE Tours, hosted by Mary Curtis and Lauren Baxter.
- Aug. 22-30: Romantic Danube River cruise with optional golf on the beautiful new AMA Magan, hosted by Rob and Celece Krieger.
To work in travel is to love travel, and that is what we do. We look forward to another 10 years of adventures and friendships. Cheers to the new year!
Written by CELECE KRIEGER, The Travel Connection.
This story first published in View On magazine.
• S P O N S O R E D C O N T E N T •
- The Travel Connection | Address: 1363 E. 170 South, No. 202, St. George | Telephone: 435-628-3636 | Website.