Quill Travel, located right over the Sharon border in Canton, is our business spotlight this week. Patch spoke with owner Patricia Buresch about all aspects of the ever changing travel industry.
Patch: How much did 9/11 impact the travel industry?
Quill Travel: Sept. 11 had a huge impact on the travel industry. Airlines and tour operators had to refund money to travellers because flights and tours were cancelled. People were afraid to travel for years following the attack. People travelled only if they had to for business. Amtrak's Acella Express became a more popular means of travel between Boston, New York and Washington. Many airlines filed for bankruptcy and ultimately formed alliances with other airlines. Many travel agencies went out of business.
Patch: How did you stay in business during those times?
Quill Travel: The Quills purchased Fisher Travel of Dedham in 1994 and leased space in Dedham Square. We were doing terrific for the 7 years prior to the attack. Our landlord was very sympathetic and lowered our rent significantly. Since Quill Travel was a family business we stopped taking a salary had to let our two part-time agents go.
Patch: How does the Internet impact the travel industry?
Quill Travel: Airlines made fares accessible on the Internet and made it easy for the computer savvy to purchase airline tickets online. So, we had to start charging service fees on airline tickets and still do. Booking vacation packages is another story. It's a bit more complicated with so many online booking sites. The average person doesn't know which sites are reputable and generally search the Internet for information which helps them decide where to go. Generally, when people are spending thousands of dollars on a vacation, they call a travel professional.
The Internet has a wealth of information on all destinations with wonderful hotel photos and restaurant recommendations. You can find advice from fellow travellers on what is good and not good about a resort. The Internet helps me make recommendations for destinations I haven't been to. It is easier to get information to clients and communicate directly with International hotels. How did we live without the Internet?
Patch: What are some popular destinations? Cruises? Land Only?
Quill Travel: Besides Las Vegas, Disney World and Universal, people are touring the U.S. National Parks and taking cruises to Alaska. I think some Americans are trying to see more of the United States by car. But, everyone loves Italy, Ireland & Britain. Especially London with the close of the Olympic Summer Games. Visit Britain has lauched the next phase of a multimillion-dollar four-year campaign designed to stimulate leisure travel to London and Great Britain. Royal Caribbean Cruise line Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are very popular. Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line have many repeat guests and fantastic itineraries to the Caribbean, Panama Canal and Hawaii. Mediterranean Cruises are a great way to see different European countries in one trip. Also, European River Boat cruises the Blue Danube Cruise is popular.
Patch: Why use a travel agent?
Quill Travel: The travel business is more like a boutique business now. You use a travel agent if you want to be pampered or don't have time to scour the Internet for information. Everyone should use a travel agent whenever possible. We take care of the details, offer suggestions and sell travel protection insurance. I care if my clients have a good vacation because I love travel myself and want them to come back to me every time they are planning a trip. As you can see, although I do have a home office now I have a private office entrance and welcome all visitors.
For more information, contact Patricia Buresh at Quill Travel by phone at 781-821-8868 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.