Summit County’s last storefront travel agency
summit daily news
In an age where people are constantly glued to the Internet through computers, smart phones and iPads, many no longer think of physically visiting a travel agency to book a trip. Suzi Mirus, manager of one of the last storefront agencies in Summit County, is hopeful about the demand for her services.
“I don’t see the demand completely going away in Summit County,” she said.
Mirus books airline tickets, leisure travel, tours and packages at Summit Travel in Frisco. The store opened in 1994 as a franchise of the Carlson Wagonlit Travel company. It has been independently owned and operated since 2001, when the franchise fees became too much.
Mirus said that while the Internet has affected her business, the economy has had an even bigger effect. The demand for her main products – tours, cruises and packages – has gone down dramatically in the past few years.
Last week, Mirus said she only booked one package to Mexico, one airline ticket, and two rental cars. She said that level of business is normal for the past 18 months, compared to when she used to book 10-20 airline tickets a day.
“I just keep hanging on,” she said. “I keep thinking the economy will pick up, and then what will I do? People will want to start traveling again, and it’s just little old me.”
A travel agent since 1982, Mirus said one of the benefits of booking through a travel agent, besides being able to pay cash, is the agent’s knowledge of the destination.
“I know the product,” she said.
Mirus said she often encounters people who are looking to book something she knows is “a dump,” that they read about online. She said she’ll warn them about the destination; some people will listen and some people won’t. She said the ones who don’t listen to her advice often come back to tell her she was right.
Popular travel websites Expedia and Travelocity are both “online travel agents,” and are competition for Mirus. She said the possibility of upgrades are much higher through travel agents, as opposed to trips booked through the Internet.
Mirus said one of the biggest myths about booking through an agent are outrageous fees. Mirus said she gets paid through the tour companies she uses to book trips.
“I do not charge fees for anything but airline tickets,” she said.
Mirus said she thinks the demand for her services is on the rise. She said that in all of the literature she reads about travel, people seem to miss the human contact.
“People are looking to go back to the travel agent,” she said. “They’ve (booked) on the Internet, and its just getting so overwhelming on the Internet, that they want that personal contact again.”
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