A Look at Uniglobe Travel Center’s Changes Over 20 Years
In today’s day and age, businesses come and go. So when one sticks around for quite some time it’s interesting to take a look and see how things have changed since their debut.
Uniglobe Travel Center began as Uniglobe Travel International and was established in 1979 as a brick-and-mortar franchise operation in Canada. In 1981, it opened the first Uniglobe Travel Franchise in the USA.
Understanding the importance of keeping up with the times, they acquired a home-based franchise organization in 1996, now called Uniglobe Travel Center. This year is its 20th anniversary and they are celebrating it at their annual conference next month at Club Med, Sandpiper Bay.
We had a chance to talk to Uniglobe’s Vice President, Betsy Geiser, and Sales and Marketing Manager Summer Corbitt about the changes in the industry over the last two decades.
How has the company changed over the last 20 years?
Geiser: “We started out doing everything manually. Bookings from agents were faxed over and processed. Today we have all the technology we need at our fingertips. In 1996, suppliers did not want to work with those ‘home-based’ agents. Today, suppliers understand the importance of this growing market and are making accommodations to better support them.”
What changes have really affected your industry? Technology? Internet?
Geiser: “Technology has allowed our agents to operate their business anywhere anytime. There are so many programs today that allow even the smallest agency look big. With all of the different forms of communication agents are able to work with their clients any time via phone, text, messenger or email.”
Corbitt: “There has also been a huge shift in marketing due to changes in technology, specifically the internet. A lot of agents were intimidated by the internet because they feared it would take business away from them. You just had to be the kind of agent that embraced it and worked to stay current with the ever- changing market. This became especially important with the social media explosion. From an agent’s perspective, they can now attract people they wouldn’t necessarily have met otherwise by sharing their own travel experiences and expertise on social media. And, they can do most of this “advertising" for free through organic posting.
“Uniglobe Travel Center also has to stay on the forefront of marketing strategies by being active in the social space and adopting new technologies, not just to market to agents we hope that will want to join Uniglobe, but also to set an example for our agents. Most of our staff has been with the company over 10 years and many over 15 and even 20 at that. We are a relationship driven organization and it shows whenever you get us all together.”
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