Brick-and-mortar agencies are thriving, according to Liberty Travel, which recently increased its "New England footprint" with the opening of a flagship Boston store, its 19th in New England.
The new 10,000-square-foot Boston Travel Center is located at 467 Washington Street. Liberty Travel, which has sold travel to consumers for more than 60 years, now has eight Boston-area locations.
“You will never get from the Internet what you get from a travel professional,” remarked Emma Jupp, president, Liberty Travel. "The additions of these Liberty Travel flagships exemplify the company’s vision to continually evolve and grow, while staying true to its roots."
The new three-floor office is anchored by Liberty Travel and includes three sister brands -- Travel Associates, which creates leisure trips and works exclusively by appointment, and two business/corporate travel brands, Corporate Traveler and FCm. All are under the under the FC USA Inc. umbrella.
Boston Travel Center opened less than a year and a half after the brand’s first flagship made its debut on New York City’s Madison Avenue. Liberty said the new store has many similarities with the Manhattan location, both with its robust travel offerings and location with substantial foot traffic in the neighborhood.
Thirteen travel consultants work in Liberty's new Boston Travel Center. The new facility has a training room for Liberty's training courses and continuing staff education.
Liberty said its consultants sell everything from honeymoons and destination weddings to family travel, European tours, ocean voyages and river cruising. Plus, Liberty has a long-haul product line featuring destinations such as Australia, the South Pacific and other exotic destinations from Worldwide Traveler, a sister brand to Liberty Travel.
While the new flagship store is brick-and-mortar, it's also tech-savvy. Mobile vacation experts have the ability to roam with iPads in hand; they can do virtually anything that would have previously been handled while sitting at a desk.
With the new technology being implemented into the booking process for only a second-time ever -- Liberty Travel's New York flagship location being the first such usage -- travel consultants are now side-by-side with clients in a more casual atmosphere.
Liberty systems that were previously exclusive to a travel consultant’s desktop computer are now loaded onto the iPads. So the planning and booking process is now a completely mobile, flexible one. Vacation experts and clients may roam the store.
Noteworthy features of the Boston Travel Center?
Explore: Within this interactive area, guests are invited to use iPads, comfortably placed in bar-style counter setting overlooking Washington Street. Clients may use rich media and view videos, photos and online reviews in the decision-making process. The technology will provide a suggested list of hotels in destinations and regions popular with Liberty Travel’s clients.
The Flight Center: In this area, three airfare experts specialize in booking airline tickets. From around-the-world constructed fares to air passes, domestic and international travel in all classes of service from coach to first class, these experts in air travel will make sure clients get from point A to point B in the most cost-effective, direct way possible.
The experts have access to a full range of fares and such information as last-seat availability that an average consumer wouldn't be privy to when booking on their own.
myTime: Leveraging its industry partnerships, Liberty Travel’s, myTime offerings introduce travelers to an exclusive collection of resorts. Potential travelers can explore the myTime participating partners and, at no additional cost, partake of VIP perks ranging from chauffeured airport transfers to spa treatments, welcome gifts from the general manager, preferred reservations at the resorts most coveted dining venues, complimentary excursions and more.
These myTime offerings are completely complimentary and available at over 160 resorts across 30 countries including The Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Florida, Hawaii and Las Vegas.
“Boston has always been a source of loyal, well-traveled clientele for us,” said Jupp. “It is in our top-three producing markets in terms of sales volume and one of our top areas for brand recognition." She believes that taking it to the next level in a city where Liberty Travel has been so well-received is "a smart, well-timed move."