Encino, California Travel Agent
High-End Travel Expertise
Since becoming manager of the Encino office in 2018, my goal has been to do everything possible to make our branch a productive and happy place to work for our travel agents and a wonderful place for leisure, corporate and entertainment production travelers to find the personal service they enjoy. I like using my experience and expertise to help people, so this feels like the perfect position for me.
I started out as a corporate travel agent when I graduated high school in 1973. It was before the days of computers when air routings were researched in the Official Airline Guide and tickets were written by hand. There was a lot to know, and it felt glamorous to be sending people around the world. Three years later, I was recruited by a big Milwaukee travel agency to manage a leisure/corporate travel agency branch in a mall. It was quite amazing to be put in a position of hiring, firing and coaching people at the age of 24, and I learned a lot.
Since then, I have gained experience as a corporate, leisure and entertainment travel agent. For much of that time, I was a working manager, meaning I served my own clients and also managed the business side of the agency. Having both management and hands-on travel agent experience has been invaluable when it comes to understanding and finding creative solutions for the many challenges that arise.
I have seen the industry go through many changes, but the basics of providing good service and the importance of personal relationships with hoteliers, airline personnel, vendors and clients has remained constant. In 1979, I moved to Los Angeles and worked for 20 years at the largest entertainment/celebrity agency, Hoffman Travel, where I handled the big studios and VIP clients.
I left when a start-up recruited me to open an entertainment travel office. I selected the location, set up the office, recruited and trained agents; negotiated contracts with airlines and hotels, and managed a staff of 15 in 2 locations. In 2008, when the travel industry tanked, I did not lay people off; I offered them the chance to be independent contractors, grandfathered their client business to them, and then joined Protravel, where each agent owns their own business.
I came to Protravel with six agents and worked to get us all up to speed on the Protravel model. My efforts were recognized when I was offered the position of regional support manager; I served six offices, helping agents with Protravel processes, procedures, and technology. When the manager of the Encino office left, I was offered that position and took over.
I am proud to say that at the end of my first year there, we were the most profitable branch in the region. I like to think that is because I have made this office a place where agents enjoy coming to work, and where they know they will find support—both from each other and from management.
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