By: Kayla Wright
It sounds like the catch phrase for a TV commercial, but when it comes to the college’s student-run travel agency, Campus Travel, it’s true.
“They’re learning,” Debbie Wright, tourism and travel’s programs manager, said of the reason why there’s no service fee. “The objective of the course is for them to get hands-on experience, without the pressure of sales or responsibility of accepting money. We’re doing the travel agencies’ work for them. They’re experts with my help, but the clients are actually helping us by giving these guys experience.”
Campus Travel has access to all the systems a full-service travel agency has – they’re live on the Apollo Reservation System, can check availability in the same systems full-service agencies do and they have access to all of the tour companies.
They’ll ask the client all the pertinent questions, get the information for the preferred trip and then work on it during office hours.
The only thing they don’t do is the bookings. That is left to the client to take to any full-service travel agency of their choice.
Wright says that full-service agencies are happy with this because most of the work has already been done.
The agency is a course called travel agency simulation, which is for tourism and travel students who have already completed their first year.
This is where, under the hands-on guidance of Wright, who had worked in the industry for 15 years, they put everything they’ve learned into practice.
“After you start looking at the files and everything, it gets a lot easier,” said Stacey O’Neill, a second-year tourism and travel student. “It’s kind of fun to actually research trips and everything.”
Campus Travel has been at the school for 22 years.
It used to be located across from the old book store in the H-building but was moved to a temporary location in A-block during the construction of the new building last year. It now has permanent residence on the second floor of the Student Commons.
“It’s an adjustment,” said Wright. “We haven’t got as much walk-by traffic.”
To gain more attention, she said they will be putting up a banner on the wall outside in the interim as well as a lit sign.
The agency is not just for students. Outside advertising is limited to word-of-mouth, but within the college Wright sends out a message to staff every semester. She adds that a lot of the people who already know they’re here are people who work on campus and students who have been here for a few years. Others just wander in.
Once the Student Commons – and their room in the building – is finished, they plan on having an official opening for the industry to bring in more clientele. “The more we have, the more experience the students get,” said Wright.
If you or someone you know is interested in planning a trip, visit Campus Travel in room E204 in the Student Commons.
They can also be reached at 613-727-4723 ext. 7700 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.