PR for People Monthly August 2017 - Page 8

If there’s one common theme running through all entrepreneurial businesses it’s this: survival. No industry has had to face that challenge more deeply than the travel industry. Holly Kaiser, owner of the Via Van Bloom travel agency in Lincoln, Nebraska, knows the secret to survival in her industry: love.

Personal love of travel. Love of serving others. Love of special touches that make lifelong memories.

With the advent of online travel booking, as well as the hysteria following 9-11, Kaiser estimates more than 50% of all travel agencies closed. Via Van Bloom was one of the survivors, Holly says, because the company learned to adapt.

“Even after almost 40 years in the industry, I am learning and changing and tweaking all the time to stay viable,” she said. According to Kaiser, travel agencies that closed blamed the Internet for taking away the incentive of travel providers to partner with agencies. However, she figured out early that the Internet could also be a boon to those who were willing to change.

“There is SO much information out there that’s great for a travel planner like me,” Kaiser explains. “I can easily set up a petal turn down in Dubai in a few emails, as an example. In the old days, that would have been a LONG miserable process. We use technology to make our work easier.”

Kaiser said Via Van Bloom focuses on surprisingly personal, quality service as a differentiator from other agencies – and from Internet bookings. “We embrace everything, which makes us the perfect travel source,” she said. “We are human, caring people with the ability to offer travelers all the tools of travel technology AND personal experience!”

That’s her other secret: the agent’s experience with specific locations they are recommending. “I love to travel, and it’s easy to share that with others,” Kaiser said. “Especially in the current automated climate, I am thrilled to be the human side of travel that cares!”

Her advice to those who aspire to become successful travel agencies: “Love travel for the pure joy of it. Be organized and detail-oriented. Build your business on relationships, but use every possible travel technology tool to deliver. And be ready to work 24-7; this is not an eight-to-five job anymore.”

Learn more about Via Van Bloom and Holly Kaiser.

From Nebraska

Dark Times Gone:

This Travel Agency Survived

by Kindra Foster

Growth & Funding Strategist