Menno Travel is Moving

Deb Mangas Embarks on Retirement

On April 25, after 44 years of service in the travel industry, Deb Mangas retired from Menno Travel. From vacation department supervisor to business development manager, then back to custom vacation planning, Deb has provided exceptional, professional service to her clients before, during, and after their trips.

Deb says, “this is what I’m going to miss. The contact with all the people I have planned travel for over the year. But I’m a people person. Whatever I do, I’m going to be out and about.”

Deb and her clients have weathered major changes in the travel industry.  Booking trips looks a lot different than it did when she started in 1974 at Gulliver’s Travels in Syracuse. Her first task was to handwrite 70 airline tickets for a musical group’s flight to Europe.

“We started BC — before computers!” she remembers. “I would take books home and read them over the weekend to learn about places. Now you have the technical age. But that’s made the job fun. You continue to learn. You have everything at your fingertips.”

Deb’s interest in learning extended beyond her nine-to-five work at Menno Travel. In the mid-’80s, she joined the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA). Her participation propelled her from the local chapter to her role as ASTA National ASTAPAC chair. Deb also chaired the ASTA World Congress in Montreal in 2005.

Though she’s leaving her office behind, Deb doesn’t plan to slow down. She and her husband will soon fly to Europe for a river cruise from Prague to Budapest. Her clients have always raved about the cruise, and she’s excited to experience it for herself.

“A lot of people retire to travel. Fortunately, I’ve gotten to do that for my career,” she says. “What other careers could you have joy and fun, exploring the world and meeting new people all the time? It’s exciting. Working for Menno Travel has been a delight. They think of their staff first. They look out for you, then you look out for their business and clients.”

Some of those clients and connections have turned into dear friends. For Deb, retirement will still include many of these relationships. In fact, she has decided to set up a Facebook account to stay in touch. Though she hopes to “take it easy” this summer, Deb plans to fill the coming years with family, friends, travel, and new opportunities to volunteer.

According to Geof Landis, CEO of Menno Travel, “Deb has been an integral part of our office for the last 27 years.  She has filled many roles for us and been successful at every one.  She has also made significant contributions at the national level with ASTA and locally too.  We always knew that when Deb represented Menno Travel, we were in good hands.”

Wonderful Princess Asia Cruise

Jim and Kim Cruise Asia

Jim Clarke, Chief Financial Officer of Banks Hardwoods, returned from a Princess Asia cruise booked by Kami Heckaman. He sent this note to Kami, and we thought we would share it. “We made it back from our trip and everything was wonderful. Thanks for your help on this and I look forward to planning our next adventure with you. Here is my blog address from the trip if you want to check out pictures and narrative.”

We are glad you enjoyed your trip Jim, thank you for sharing your adventure.

If you are interested in a cruise of Asia, we have the connections to get you there. Call or email Kami 574-534-1521 today.

Maggie Lewallen Earns Top Travel Agent Award

Maggie Lewallen, Vacation Travel Specialist at Menno Travel Service/American Express won the American Express Pacesetter Award from the American Express Travel Network.  “This award is the most elite form of recognition a travel agent can receive within the American Express network,” said Ellen Bettridge, Vice President, Retail Travel Network, American Express Travel.

Each Pacesetter is carefully selected based on their leadership role in the travel agency community and their exemplary level of performance and customer service.  Maggie    won an all expense paid trip to Paris this spring, where she will be recognized as a top-producing travel professional across the American Express Representative Network. 

Maggie joined Menno Travel Service in 1993 and is a Certified Travel Associate, Accredited Cruise Counselor, Certified Sandals Specialist, Disney Specialist as well as a Destination Specialist for many regions around the globe.  Dorothy Shirk, Vacation Department Manager says, “Maggie is truly dedicated to her clients, consistently providing them with outstanding value and service.  She is loyal to the American Express preferred suppliers, which positively affects our company bottom line.”

“We offer our congratulations to Maggie for winning this individual award.” say co-owners, Geof Landis and Doug Risser.

Menno Travel/American Express Wins Rep Excellence Award

American Express Travel named Menno Travel/American Express a Representative Excellence Award winner for 2010.  The award was established to recognize members of the American Express Travel Network who achieve exceptional preferred supplier sales growth and are also in compliance with specific operational responsibilities of membership, established by American Express in support of the Brand.

“We are thrilled to receive this award for the first time in our 17 years of affiliation with American Express Travel.  We are proud to be one of the Top Five Representatives in percentage growth year over year in preferred tour and cruise sales”, says Doug Risser, co-owner of Menno Travel Service

As a result of their concentrated effort in selling preferred suppliers and engaging in American Express products and programs, a member of the Menno Travel management team will be hosted on a Silversea seven-day voyage aboard the Silver Spirit from Southampton, United Kingdom to Barcelona, Spain this spring.

“We will be recognizing all of our staff for their hard work this past year with a celebratory company dinner.  They all deserve the credit!” say co-owners, Geof Landis and Doug Risser.

Celebrity Cruise

Take a look at our new ad featuring Celebrity Cruises.

Celebrity Cruises TV ad

No More Fees on Delta Award Redemption Tickets

SkyMiles award points redeemed for tickets within 20 days of departure no longer are accessed fees of up to $250. This is one of several improvements Delta made recently to their SkyMiles program, including a “first checked bag free” benefit, increased allocation of preferred seating in economy class, and complimentary upgrades on domestic award redemption tickets.

Go to the Delta SkyMiles website for more information.

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