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JV Travel

Work smarter, not harder: Why one Illinois agency switched to Amadeus, despite teaching the competition’s software for 15 years

JV Travel has kept the style of a traditional travel agency while riding the crest of technology. In business for 22 years, JV Travel has gone from a traditional storefront agency to a home-based business set up with a separate “office” entrance so clients can visit to go over itineraries and pick up brochures.

This full-service agency had been using Travelport’s Apollo IT solutions for many years before switching to Amadeus. It is clear to Lauren Graba, who manages the office and was an Apollo software teacher for 15 years at the local community college, that Amadeus offers the best IT solutions. She also appreciates the marketing tools and “Engagement” program provided through Amadeus partner

“Clients are looking for value and ease and I am able to provide that through Amadeus, without expending too much time. also helps us keep our name in front of clients and provides higher commissions,” said Graba.

We recently chatted with Graba about JV Travel’s transition from the competition to Amadeus.

Tell me a little about the beginnings of JV Travel?
We opened in 1998 in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Valerie and John Latsoudis are the owners and I came on board a year later, in 1989. 

How has the advent of the Internet changed your business?
Four years ago, we moved from a brick-and-mortar storefront to Valerie’s house. Travel booking has become different with the Internet. A lot of people want to do it themselves and some clients have done some general research before contacting us. But most clients don’t have time to look at 20 Web sites to find the best pricing. With Amadeus, it is easy to find the best price for cruises, flights, tour operators and even travel insurance and it is all in one place. This is the wave of the future.

Why did you switch from Apollo to Amadeus?
I was very familiar with Apollo through my experience at the agency and from teaching it to students at the community college. But when our contract was up, we wanted the most cost-efficient, beneficial service with the best tools. Amadeus fit the bill.

How did the transition go from one company to the other?
It was a very smooth transition. The support provided by Amadeus was excellent and the help desk was great helping us make the transition. Our biggest concern was not losing any customer profiles. Amadeus was able to quickly transfer the information from one system to the other. For a while we had dual access, and found we didn’t have to reference back to the old system.

Can you give me an example of how Amadeus stands apart from the competition?
Most recently, new TSA regulations required that we add birthdates and passport information to each PNR record. Amadeus was on top of it and created a shortcut that automatically moved the information to the PNR record.

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