Redefining the travel industry, K&E Travel has made it easier for the average person to plan a vacation and even become a travel agent.
Owner Mark Elie is an experienced businessman with a background in promotions who decided to expand his business to include travel.
Elie particularly chose to go into the travel industry because of his interest in travel. “I enjoy traveling, and I’ve been many places,” he said. “My favorite thing to do is go on cruises.”
K&E Travel recently relocated its office headquarters to Wellington from Greenacres, where the company had been since it started. A 23-year resident of Wellington, Elie thought it would be a great place to relocate. “We are new to Wellington, but not new to travel,” he said.
K&E Travel handles all types of vacations but specializes in cruises and tours. “That’s the bulk of our business,” Elie said.
In 2001, Elie made a monumental business move by deciding to take K&E Travel a step further to become a host agency. “We have agents all over the country,” he said. “We have over 300 agents who book travel through us and gain a commission.”
As a host agency, its agents are able to work under the K&E Travel license. “They earn commission whether they book for themselves, friends, relatives or business associates,” Elie said.
By working either independently or with help from K&E Travel, agents are able to build up their own business. “They can either book it through the vendors directly, using our identification numbers, or they work for our office and we help them do the bookings,” Elie said.
Ninety percent of the planning and bookings are done over the phone or on the Internet. K&E Travel agents communicate with clients on a daily, weekly or monthly basis depending on the clients’ needs. “We create something for the clients depending on what their needs are,” Elie explained.
When assisting clients in planning for a vacation, agents initially ask many types of questions to find out what type of vacation the client is looking for.
“They ask them things like what’s their budget and whether they want to drive or fly,” Elie said. “They try to understand exactly what they are looking for, and then they make suggestions based on what the client tells them.”
Agents can plan for all types of people in various situations, from large groups to people on tight budgets. For local residents, K&E Travel Manager Jim Norman is able to meet with clients in person at the company’s new location. “He has been in the travel industry for over 20 years up in Boston, so he knows what he’s doing,” Elie said.
Planning a vacation on your own can be overwhelming, and K&E Travel understands how frustrating it can get for its clients. “Over the Internet there are thousands of sites, and it gets very confusing,” Elie said. “And statistically, this was in the Wall Street Journal, 85 percent of all travel bookings, other than airline tickets, are booked through a live person.”
With so many different options, it’s easier to have someone who can tell people specific types of information. “They want to talk to a live person who knows all the right information, and we are going to take care of you,” Elie said. “If you have any problems or questions or concerns, we are just a phone call away.”
K&E Travel is located at 12789 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 2C. For more information, call (561) 966-9808.
Above: K&E Travel owner Mark Elie in his new Wellington office.