Avoya Travel - Online Pioneer


By MarEx 2016-04-22 20:53:38

For more than 50 years, AVOYA has transformed the travel and cruise industry by modernizing client technologies.

During the 1960s, the Anderson Travel Agency, a family-owned business and the predecessor to AVOYA Travel, had twelve offices in San Diego County that handled both business and leisure travelers. It was a different era, a time when physical travel documents had to be presented and the challenge of managing different offices in scattered locations had severe limitations.

Growing the agency in those days meant a company had to open or buy more offices in more locations, and this meant additional employees and higher operating costs. Meanwhile, Southern California was expanding fast as an influx of people and companies migrated to the region. While the population growth provided tremendous opportunities, the way business was done then with face-to-face meetings and physical booking documents made growing the agency an expensive proposition.

The owners soon decided to establish a Customer Service Center using AT&T’s Centrex business systems. By channeling phone traffic to sales agents, travel inquiries and booking confirmations could be done much more quickly and efficiently. The success of the centralized call center soon made Anderson Travel one of the major players in the business throughout the western United States.

By the 1990s, a perfect storm of opportunity hit the travel industry as the Worldwide Web, online shopping and family cruise vacations became all the rage. Van Anderson, son of the founder, and other family members began developing code and launching programs to allow the best agent for the specific cruise arrangement to handle the next inquiry.

Today, the renamed AVOYA Travel is a $350 million organization and the leading online cruise vacation agency in the U.S. Van Anderson says online sales agents on average can book a million dollars in business their first year, even if they don’t have an existing client base. The ratio of agents to support team members is the best in the industry, he adds, calling the system a “shared success model” type of business: “How, where and when an agent works is up to them as long as they work with integrity and professionalism.”

Anderson says that all travelers should always consider using a travel agent because it’s impossible to know about every place you’d like to travel to and nothing beats the experience and knowledge of a professional travel agent. And he is right because last year online travel sales generated $533 billion and are expected to grow to $762 billion by 2019.

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.