Our first speaker today was Juli Parrott, owner of Table Mountain Travel in Golden, Colorado. Today Juli spoke to us about the history of travel agencies.
In 1841, Thomas Cook, a Baptist preacher struck a deal with Midland Railway to organize transportation of 540 members of his temperance society. Cook received a commission from the railway and effectively became the first recorded travel agent. By 1845, Thomas Cook had arranged travel for 165,000 people without the aid of any technology. Consider that even the ball point pen had not been invented and the telegraph was not yet commercially available in the United Kingdom. He managed all the customers and booking data with a fountain pen and paper ledger.  The 1920’ brought the airlines, Delta, American and Pan Am were all founded. The 1920’s also brought Joe Saunders, an entrepreneur from Omaha who started an Automobile for Hire Service and created the first rental car agency. Later that decade, John Hertz would purchase one of Saunders competitors and created the Hertz Company. Avis came along in the 30’s and became the first company to offer airport car rental services. Back in 1936 the Civil Aeronautics Board was formed to determine routes and regulate pricing for flights. That way airlines couldn’t compete by offering lowering prices they had to compete on the service that they provided. This also made it difficult for new carriers to break into existing routes. American Airlines installed the Magnetronic Reservisor, an electromechanical system of vacuum tubes and magnetic storage drum that allowed the airline to store seat availability on a centralized platform in 1952. Then in partnership with IBM they developed the Sabre computer used by travel agents as a clearinghouse for US travel. The success of this platform in 1954, promoted other airlines to develop their own computerized reservation platform and by the 1960’s the Deltamatic, DATAS, Apollo and PARS were up and running. As airline routes and booking processes became more complicated, travel agencies became a more popular method for consumers to purchase their airline tickets. Agencies wanted more access to airline schedules and fares to sell tickets more efficiently, which could only be accomplished with direct computerized to the airline reservation systems. However, this created another issue with the airline owned systems as it was a temptation to manipulate the displays. So, in 1984 the government introduced legislation to ban “screen bias”.
The 1980’s brought changes to the European airlines as they banded together to create the Amadeus reservation system and Sabre partnered with Compuserve to offer online booking for both airlines and hotels with EasySabre. Moving into the 1990’s – 1996 brought Microsoft into the reservation system with it’s small division called Expedia, that allowed consumers to book airline tickets, car rentals and hotel reservations online. Later that year, Sabre launched it’s own booking site called Travelocity for the “do-it-yourself-traveler”. Later on in the 1990’s the co-founders of Orbitz and Expedia developed Kayak – a site that allows customers to find airline prices across multiple sites with just one search the Metasearch.
Travel agencies main function is to act as an agent, selling travel products and services on the behalf of the supplier. Agencies do not keep “stock” – a package holiday or airline ticket is not purchased from a supplier unless a client requests the purchase and then agency is then paid a commission by the supplier for that package or ticket. However, with the proliferation of the internet and home computers, the US airlines started cutting paying airline commissions in 1995. In 1999 the European airlines started eliminating commissions all together. Delta followed suit in 2002 and adopted a zero-commission policy and the other airlines quickly followed suit. It was this change that forced travel agencies to charge for their services and they have now become more of an advocate for the buyer rather than a agent for the supplier. Since 1997, travel agencies have gradually been dis-intermediated, according to the PhocusWright US Cruise and Package Travel Report – 68% of all tour and packaged sales are sold though travel agents. However, if you add in the OTA dynamic such as Expedia packages the travel agent’s share drops to 46%. According to this report travel agencies are thriving in the two sectors, packages and cruise sales, because they are more complex to purchase. Consumers these days are making decisions based on personal service and the advice that travel agents have. There is a further trend for travel agencies to get rid of the brick and mortal store front and move to a home base to further reduce overhead. They are becoming more of a “travel consultant” who have the knowledge and experience of many destinations, regions and are very specialized.

If you are looking for a travel agent that has many years of experience and can help you plan that next great escape – give Juli Parrott and Table Mountain Travel a call!
Juli Parrott * Table Mountain Travel * 303.277.1580 * juli@tablemountaintravel.com  * tablemountaintravel.com

Our second speaker today was Cindi Thordarson of EcoGraphics Printing in Lakewood, Colorado. Today Cindi spoke about the wide scope of work that they produce at EcoGraphics Printing from check stuffers to tickets. First of all a check stuffer is a piece that is designed to be included with a check or invoice announcing a move or a new program or service that your company is offering, these are popular with non-profits when seeking donations for a new program. She passed around a sample of one that EcoGraphics recently did for a local non-profit. The next item Cindi passed around was a group of items that they produce for a small local company that offers services like lyft or uber and as well has a housesitting service as well – Cindi told us that when planning a marketing campaign make sure that a ll your pieces have the same look so when someone sees them they can immediately identify you and your company. They work with many small businesses to produce a marketing “theme” that includes business cards, mailers and invoices. EcoGraphics produces tickets for a variety of occasions whether it by a casino night, private party or special event. Some they do year after year and some are a one-time event. These tickets can be numbered so they may be used in a raffle or so you can keep track of how many people will be attending your event. Another service EcoGraphics works on are graduations announcement, they have done some very elaborate ones in the past but as of late most are just a simple postcard with pictures of the graduate from their senior pictures and an announcement of the date. These can be very sweet reminders for them in the future as well for the family members.
The last project that Cindi talked about but unfortunately did not have a sample of was a project that was a request from one of their corporate clients. This piece was designed by one of the clients many designers, it was a piece that folded with 5 panels down to and 8”x 8” square, this means that flat the piece was 40 inches wide. At EcoGraphics, their largest sheet sized is a 13” x 19”, so this project created quite a challenge. It is a challenge that required them using many of their contacts in the printing industry, the only company able to do it locally quoted a price of 5125.00 for the quantity they needed of 50. Which may seem crazy, but they would be printing it on a traditional large format 4 color press which requires negatives, plates for the press and essentially a couple hundred sheets of run-up to make sure they had the color right and enough to do the second side. One thing that Cindi reminded us of was that with traditional printing, all of the costs are covered by the first 500 sheets off the press. Cindi was able to contact a friend in the industry out in California to find a new contact in New York, who even with one off proofs (that were mailed out overnight express) was able to get the cost down to 1800.00. Of’ course this didn’t included the items that went along with the finished piece. Which included a 8” x 8” full color envelope with variable data, which EcoGraphics Printing produced on their envelope press and an enclosed full color personalized letter for each of the recipients. This project is a reminder that in our small sphere, we all have people who can help us out and provide those contacts that can help us get the job done and keep our clients happy. As well, every once in awhile step outside your box it helps you grow not only in your profession but as well your life.
If you are looking for a printing company who can step outside the box to produce the perfect marketing piece for you definitely get in contact with Cindi and EcoGraphics Printing.
Cindi Thordarson * EcoGraphics Printing * 303.238.7791* cindi@ecographicsprinting.com  * ecographicsprinting.com